CIG depending on uncertain projects

| 14/04/2016 | 55 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The government is still hoping that a number of proposed but uncertain private sector projects will boost local room stock and the tourism sector over the next few years to sustain the current growth in air arrivals and feed the new airport and the newly announced plans to upgrade Cayman Airways’ fleet. Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said that he expects a 20% increase in room capacity over the next three years. However, around half of that anticipated increase in rooms is dependent on projects that have not yet seen a single shovel, golden or otherwise, in the ground.

Kirkconnell said that the figure included around 300 rooms at the proposed St James Point development in Beach Bay and another 250-300 at the proposed Ironwood golf resort at Frank Sound. But although both of these projects are included in the anticipated short-term room increase from around 5,200 at present to around 6,500 before 2020, neither of the developers behind them have broken ground or even sought planning permission.

Government agreed a $25 million waiver package with the Beach Bay project’s developers in September, and last month officials were out in force to mark the start of work on a road to link the proposed resort with the Bodden Town network, but there is so far no sign of the project itself.

Meanwhile, the Arnold Palmer golf resort in Frank Sound has been a ‘proposed project’ for years and is contingent on the government’s commitment to extending the east-west arterial road. The government has also signed a number of deals with the developers on that project, including an MOU more than two years ago, but there is little movement on that much hoped for project, as government and the developers continue to discuss the financing model for the road development.

While the islands’ largest investor, the Dart Group, is almost finished building its first hotel in Cayman, which is scheduled to open before the end of this year with 300 rooms, its second proposed five-star resort on Seven Mile Beach has not yet started.

Kirkconnell also included 200 rooms in the redevelopment of the old Treasure Island into a Margaretville resort, though the rooms are already part of existing stock, and pointed to Dart’s acquisition of the former Hyatt site, although the developer has already stated publicly that it has not yet decided what it plans to do with that property acquisition, which is close to its Camana Bay development and may not be redeveloped as a hotel.

Dart has, however, confirmed that the Beach Suites, a popular boutique hotel in the heart of Seven Mile Beach, will close, reducing rather than boosting existing room stock.

Cayman has continued to enjoy year on year growth and the Department of Tourism has been successful in its bid to spread visitor numbers across the year. An increase in rooms will be required to sustain the continued growth but government’s hope that more than 1,100 rooms will be added to the islands’ inventory in less than three years remains speculative and in the hands of the private sector rather than government.

According to the latest DoT statistics, more than 67,500 air passengers arrived in the first two months of 2016, and while that was slightly down on the first two months of 2015, when 70,000 tourists flew into Cayman, it is still more than any other year since 2000.

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Category: development, Economy, Local News, Politics

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CIG is not building the east-west arteriel road , Ironwood is . They will trade money spent on road minus their duties on Ironwood project. Got it?
    Cruise ship berthing has not been cancelled, they are waiting on engineers for new deep water plan.
    The solution of the Dump by moving it somewhere else on Island will be more toxic waste leaching into the Aquifer across the island. It needs to be solved there. The trade wind goes from East to west. ( If you have a broken leg you need to fix the leg that is broken) Does that make sense? It makes no sense to be place anywhere East of where it is. Camana Bay residences should have been blocked by Planning.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for explaining everything so clearly.
      Regardless how much sense you believe you possess the dump will need to go to a larger land mass area which means Boddentown which is also centrally located.
      Got it. A properly managed waste management facility puts out little to not odor.
      Got it?
      The Pier is unnecessary and the money could be spend better elsewhere. Got it?
      I hope that helped clear the confusion.

    • J says:

      We the people keep waiting on the world to change but what happens year after year we get the same old tired results from the same old tired as! Government members who don’t hVe a clue of what they are doing only that they get to dress up and take our money.

      We the people get what we elect, in this case we got a pile of so called educated won’t say the rest or CNS wont publish this rant.

      Back on topic: why do we continue to be blind sided by would be developers who use up our time and yes our resources . Most of these people/ entities come with an idea, get CIG approval and then go and look funding/financing/ investors on our dime.. Meanwhile our so called leaders get their high on what they perceive are great projects not for the country but to let “me” look good ha!, let’s stop this foolishness of agreeing or giving away concessions without seeing the color of their checkbook people. If developers are serious about what they say they want to develop at a very early stage they need to put out or get out , I.e. A cash bond( aside from land purchase) non refundable needs to be established to cover a percentage of the expenditure to be incurred by CIG departments in the various initial assessments to be conducted( planning, NRA, Water Authority etc) on the proposed monetary value of the project ( would hope cig would be able to figure this part out). With this in place and an impact fee which used to be law?, we would begin to see who is really a worthy investor , one who understands the cost of doing business and one to whom concessions could be considered provided that the overall development is feasible tangible and “will” create value to the Cayman Islands.

      Why waste time and energy on pie in the sky dreams of someone and we get the short end when nothing occurs. Selah.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The CIG should not be building access roads for private parties while it hasn’t started its public obligation to complete the CIG half of the ETH lane expansion south of Camana Bay. What are we missing here ACC?!?

  3. Anonymous says:

    To sum this article up, “Wishful thinking is not sound public policy.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Take the money from the cancellation of the cruise ship berthing facility and fix the dump once and for all. I know this will never happen as the special interests want the pier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Civil Action. A lawsuit brought to enforce, redress, or protect rights of private litigants.

      The Human Right to a clean and healthy environment are violated on this island. Toxic effects of The Dump are known to everyone.
      CIG should learn from the Flint’s lead-poisoned water crisis. Michigan state sued over toxic water disaster. Erin Brockovich anyone?

      Cancer, birth defects, developmental, mental and learning disability registry will come handy here,on the island of 60,000 people. The numbers could be staggering.

      I personally know of a little girl born on this island whose first teeth coming in already rotten. Her mom is a healthy young woman, no antibiotics involved here. They live not too far from the Dump.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or she’s put to bed with sugar-water or sweetened juice.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rotten teeth in young children nowdays are due parents feeding high sweet drinks not from the dump.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly, I know of several children’s first teeth decaying before the time for the permanent ones to come in. Probably due to bad diet/ calcium deficiency by the mother while she was pregnant. However I do think the landfill should be remedied soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      11;01 The dump is a done deal, its the final piece of puzzle in Mr. Darts project ( Camana bay) It is a go, PPM just cant fully reveal it as yet. As soon as the 2017 election is over the news break will be about the waste management facility.

      • Anonymous says:

        The government offers me such confidence in their ability to have someone else answer the call to fix a problem.

      • SSM345 says:

        It would have been a done deal by now if Ozzie and the BT voters actually had a grain of sense between their ears. There are 20yrs worth of reports (if not more) that Govt has commissioned telling them exactly what to do but they have continued to ignore these as no one was getting a decent side kick out of getting the job done or the requisite number of votes. Wait till the flurry of health related issues start popping up and then Govt will be up the creek even further. Its Govt’s responsibility, no one else’s, which is why nothing will be done about it, per the usual.

    • Anonymous says:

      There was no money earmarked for that – in fact it was to be fully funded by others. Even the CIAA airport Reno financing is reliant upon collection of a sizable delinquent receivable from CAL.

      • da-wa-u-get says:

        How could there be delinquent receivables from CAL? Didn’t they declare a profit recently?
        Or was that not an actual Profit?

  5. Anonymous says:

    And meanwhile in the real world… The island is dead this week.. Sleeping… No business… Take away a bit of cruise business that will drop even more in the next 4 weeks and what is left.. Not a lot. Island needs reduced price room stock, reduced price flights and reduced price amenities otherwise I fear for the future.

    • Anonymous says:

      Business visits abound. Tourists are still coming. Airplane ticket prices are a big issue from the U.S. however that is a general US issue. Whilst prices fall elsewhere they increase in the U.S. for less legroom, less service and disgusting attitudes towards the people who pay through the teeth for a ticket. Only a class action anti cartel case in the US or Americans and others uniting and saying “enough” is going to change that.

  6. Anonymous says:

    No reason to doubt the dart projects. Beach bay hotel seems to be moving along nicely. Ironwood still claiming progress.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Back in the day same skeptics made similar claims about Camana bay and Ritz, but both those projects came through.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s way too early to judge whether Camana Bay is a success or not yet but I seem to remember that R-C went bust and is now up for sale? That doesn’t sound like coming through to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ritz took almost a decade to complete – the only reason it was completed was because McKeeva convinced Royal Bank of Scotland that the CIG would back-stop the loan (using our money if necessary). How do people forget this stuff?!?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I believe Gov’t has to do more for Ironwood and Shetty’s hospital in the East-West arteriel roads. We should be building a road right now instead of discussing more concessions. It will bring more development for Caymanians who own the land. It will bring more money for Gov’t coffers from land sales, duties from equipment ,more business opportunities. Why this is taking so long makes one wonder if some parties are trying to take advantage of elderly people time on earth. Time is of the essence.
    Tourism on Cayman has been believed to be the profits of only the rich. Building hotels will bring more poor people to live and want to stay in Cayman. While on the other side cruise ships coming to Cayman will lift the poor to middle class.
    People perceive that a bus system is needed to run every 10-15 mins all day and would love to have that service throughout the night coming back drunk . But how much money is needed to make a service profitable. Do you want a new bus ? Toyota coasters that are 30 seats which includes jump seats in the middle are uncomfortable. In Australia they have no jump seats. So then only 22 seats? More seats to fill more time to fill them. Bus costs aprox. US$90,000 landed in George town. Every 7 years they need to be replaced if used from East End to George Town say…4 trips in a 8 hour period. Every 2 months 2 front tires will need to be replaced. $60 a day for fuel traveling 176 miles a day. Well ,thru hope and a prayer in this business at $2 per passenger one would try to make $352 per shift per day. $2112 per week gross. Minus $360 per week fuel, Drivers’ pay per week ,$ 240 minimum. leaving $1512. What about replacement cost in 7 years prices goes up. What about bus insurance? About $6000-7000 per year, Medical insurance and pension for driver and owner. Well ,this is all IF you get 22 passenger in each trip. The reality is you would be lucky if you get half of the money because most people travel on the weekend.
    School busses are paid 5000 per month and they hold 40 plus children with one trip up and one down paid by Gov’t . Gov’t would need to subsidize the busses. It’s the only way it would work and if you want USA type busses they would cost around 500,000 per bus.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Dump! The Dump! The Dump!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hoping = Gambling

  11. Anonymous says:

    The main problems are crime and roads. When is the government going to say something about Crime, do something about crime? Their silence is deafening. Increase the time for specific crimes, try the cases with an time frame and stop spreading cases over 2 and three year periods. By the time the case is tried the offender has a wrap sheet.
    Public transportation could alleviate some of the congestion on the roads, thereby allowing more freedom of movement by visitors and other users.

  12. Rob says:

    The beach bay project is at least moving. I’m not sure why it’s even a part of this article. You can’t get the heavy machinery to erect any structure without clearing a road path for them to travel on, and that’s what they’ve done – pretty far inland too. That’s progress.

    Ironwood is in a difficult spot because because the government is involved and they are sitting on their hands, just like with the dump. It sucks because people are losing faith in the project when it’s not Ironwood’s fault.

    Other parts of this article seemed over-anxious.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile the financial industry continues to supply three quarters of gdp……..

    • Anonymous says:

      …..to the benefit mainly of 7/8 foreigners on permits living the good life while tourism supports the majority of Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK bobo @ 5:02, just get rid of these damn foreigners and the financial services they provide and watch dog eat your supper. Can you provide the facts/statistics that support your comment about tourism? Recently I had visitors from abroad -pure foreigners at the Turtle Farm, Dolphin Point and Rum Point and the various restaurants. Tim Adam talks about 100 Caymanians at Turtle Farm. Good. But they must be in the back cleaning and slaughtering or something. They are certainly NOT at the front desks-my visitors commented on the Spanish and Filipino accents. The Red Sails boat captain at Rum Point was Nicaraguan and his helper was a Jamaican woman-both very good.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is nonsense. Caymanians had largely left the tourism sector by the early 1980s and moved into the financial industry. Without the financial industry there would be no Caymanian professional or middle class in both the private and public sectors or the Caymanian business owners that provide all the services required by those professionals and administrative types.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t forget those foreigners support ALL the businesses on the island by being consumers. Don’t forget that bobo

  14. Anonymous says:

    A forecast of hypothetical room stock does not automatically ensure these places will achieve capacity crowds – even if they are completed. You would think that Bracers could write a book on the topic, given they have seen this play out time and time again on their own island.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You can argue which development is on track but you can’t argue with the increased air arrivals. Development will happen or not, government can’t force it. There aren’t many places to put hotels at this point.

  16. Anonymous says:

    apart from dart…its all pie in the sky stuff…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Am I missing something here…”to keep up with the growth and the amount of people coming to fill rooms”….we haven’t had full capacity in cayman overall in years!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes we have! Particularly in season and last year parts of off season. Some guests we had to go to private housing as no rooms were available

  17. A non y mous says:

    Yet they wish to limit and regulate AirBnB rentals of homes for visitors to the islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reg’r, and pay your gov’t fees = not a high hurdle.

      • Anonymous says:

        You sound like the BBC program. “Look I just applied for a company” and “look, this is all i have to do to get my own offshore bank account” as he waved a ( pretty formidable) checklist.

  18. Anonymous says:

    So Carnival announced it first cruise ship going to Cuba! That and our ever increasing crime rate does not bode well for our tourism industry.

    In addition, our road infrastructure sucks. The majority of the roads are badly maintained and littered and too much of a traffic jam these days. Government has neglected to come up with a proper public transportation system this Island so desperately needs. It would allow tourists to get around the Island without having to rent a car (some don’t want to drive here) and at the same time encourage residents to catch a bus rather than jamming up the roads.

    • Anonymous says:

      Roads are literally the best in the Caribbean. The traffic jams are nothing in comparison with any urban area.

    • Anonymous says:

      While I agree with most of Anon 12:48 post, you can’t be serious regarding the maintenance of our roads. Have you been to other Caribbean countries? While Cayman does have it share of issues pertaining to road upkeep our standards are substantially hire than our surrounding/regional neighbors. C’mon now, be a bit realistic

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes i agree we need a much better public transport system. The taxi prices are a rip off, and there is not a reliable bus system. South Church Street all through South Sound to Hurley’s roundabout have no buses period for all the tourists or helpers to come and go easily in all those residences, nor does Walker’s Rd or Fairbanks have any buses either, and i don’t think buses run along the new bypass from Lion’s Center coming through to Bobby Thompson way, or going around through Industrial Park either way. There is neglect to all these areas within George Town with no public transport that is much needed.

      Also people who drive would park their cars sometimes and take buses if they knew it was a reliable, timely and scheduled system.

      Countries that are not Third World, they have bus schedules so that people can rely on timely schedules as to what meets their needs and when to arrive and depart at the various bus stops. So Cayman is behaving like a Third World Country with no proper bus system and mini-buses that only run when they feel like usually mostly only in rush hour, and not on many other main roads that need them. All main roads should have bus service in a timely scheduled manner. And as i mentioned in the beginning, taxis are a rip off and an unaffordable means of transport for many people.

      • Anonymous says:

        I caught a bus to Smith Cove the other day there are buses running through South Sound And South Church Street. These buses routes are 7B and 8B.
        While at the Bus terminal there was also a bus for Walkers Road. Howevet there was no passengers for Walkers Road.You are right no bus service to Industrial Park.
        However you are the typical bogger complaining about some thing you do know nothing about.JUST BE HONEST it would not matter how effecient the bus service is, you will never use the bus service because it is looked down on?

    • Anonymous says:

      The over-hyped 8 day Fathom MV Adonia Cuba 3 stop voluntourism cruise is a tiny 500-750 pass and doesn’t move the needle on anything. Cuba still sucks on a quantum of difference from Cayman’s comparatively mild hiccups. It’s political and legal systems are abysmal. There is no infrastructure or western-grade provisioning. Human rights violations and endless hustlers on the take. None of that is going to change any time soon. We don’t want to make those comparisons – we are not competing with Cuban travel niche market, we don’t have the ballet, baseball, cigars, or the pre-cold war historical curiosities that they offer.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re pretty much describing how most of Eastern Europe was under communism. I spent some very interesting times there in the old state owned hotels back in those days but Cuba is not like that at all and I’m more than qualified to make the comparison. The joint venture hotels in places like Varadero make pretty much anything you have in the Cayman Islands look cheap and nasty. You don’t believe me? Ask any of the 3.5 million tourists who went there in 2015. The fact is that Cuba is already geared up for tourism on a very impressive scale – you should try it.

        The irony is that if certain people at DoT were their job rather than worrying about what their personal percentage might be Grand Cayman could have cashed in on this market over a decade ago. As someone working in the tourism industry I have one simple observation, “You blew it!”

    • Anonymous says:

      The reason we get is lack of money available for the proper infrastructure improvements needed. The belief that giving major duty concessions to rich developers will put money in the pockets of the people is a false one. If we collected the full duty we could build an infrastructure that would make our island so desirable that the developers would build without the concessions. As it is , they are building amazing new projects that are surrounded by a crumbling community. The end results is will be the tourist being captive in the resort and not going out into the community at large spending money. Yet one administration after another buys into this lie. All to the detriment of the people and the benefit of the developers.

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