Road poses flooding risks

| 31/10/2016 | 30 Comments

(CNS): One of the main reasons why the Department of Environment recommended the need for an environmental impact assessment for the proposed extension of the east-west arterial road through the central mangrove wetlands was the very real risk of flooding. The chair of the National Conservation Council has confirmed that among the many environmental issues presented by this proposed highway, the problem of drainage must be assessed to prevent what could be serious flooding in the populated areas to the south of the road.

In its review of the road project, the DoE said an assessment of the changes the road would cause to the hydrology and drainage patterns of the area and a flood assessment were extremely important because if the project went ahead, the engineers would need to know what mitigating measures to employ to help keep residents dry.

The developers of the proposed Ironwood project have stated that an EIA for the road would kill the whole project, but given that environmental reviews on major projects rarely cost more than 1% of the whole thing, the idea that the investors don’t want to spend this and risk building a road without measuring what impact it will have has caused significant concern among conservationists and the wider community, as it seems that the project may not be as well financed as the government had been led to believe.

So far, the project has only received planning permission for a golf course, and even though the developers have talked about constructing a “600-acre, US$1.1 billion commercial, tourism and residential community”, the planning applications appear to be piecemeal and there is no sign that the developers are voluntarily going to engage in an EIA of the development itself.

However, more than two and a half years ago, when there was still a question of whether the Mastic Trail would fall in the path of the road, Premier Alden McLaughlin told the press that there would be an environmental impact assessment before it got underway.

Speaking at a press conference in March 2014 about the “non-binding” MOU that government signed with the developers, as discussions were underway about how the road would be financed, McLaughlin said there would be a very structured process regarding the development of the road in line with the requirements of the Public Management and Finance Law, in particular the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility enshrined in that legislation.

“There will have to be an outline business case, a strategic business case and there will have to be an environmental impact assessment,” he said, noting concerns about the Mastic Trail. A rerouting of the proposed road at a later date found a solution, though no EIA was conducted.

McLaughlin said at the time that he believed the people of Cayman were much more sensitive to the environmental impact of major projects and that this would be an environmentally sensitive project. Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts also stated at the press conference that the planning process would be followed.

However, although the members knew full well that the developers are planning a huge development, the Central Planning Authority nevertheless granted planning permission for the golf course earlier this year in isolation from the rest of the proposed resort.

At that time the developers were still stressing that there would be no development without the road. Since then, officials from Ironwood have stated that they intended to go ahead with the golf course even though discussions over the road were still not complete.

See March 2014 briefing below

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The NCC masquerading as the voice of the director of the DOE again! Where is the independence and any unbiased or impartial thought or review process. Narda narda narda.

  2. I love Cayman says:

    With the recent rains did anyone had to drive through the flooded Bodden town road across from the Megriebay pond? Well if not, please allow me to explain, the road was recently re paved by the blessings of NRA, 2 inches of rain and everyone’s property flooded on the south side of the rain. Not only is this an issue for people’s property but is a hazard to vehicles and pedestrians. So even with the potential of flooding to people’s home and disaster to the environment, why would people want to see this road completed before an EIA? I hope the DOE completes the EIA and not leave it to government and the developers.

    • Cocomojo says:

      That whole project was done haphazardly and backwards. The drainage should have been the first thing addressed along with the tree removals, utility relocations, and shoulder widening. After the completion of those works, the paving could commence.

      • Anonymous says:

        And since the same people that did (managed) it (NRA) will be doing the E/W Arterial then its a good thing that the Premier has already committed the Government to do an EIA (and an OBC) to make sure that its going to be done right.

    • Anonymous says:

      Add the encroachment into the buffer zone for the Animal Sanctuary to your list as well.

  3. Smithy says:

    Despite all the grumbling and complaining and any number of armchair experts, the Cayman Islands are some of the best managed countries in the Caribbean, In fact I think it is only the country that enjoys a surplus and not a horrendous deficit that is growing every from loan interest and downgrades. I wonder if we know how lucky we are that we have a responsible government that is truly taking the country forward.

    Look around you at the rest of the Caribbean people and then be the judge,

  4. Great Republicans lol. says:

    I suppose war mongrels Bush and Co were much better! Trump will now take Care of All the problems! Right?

  5. Anonymous says:

    In the USA ,especially in Fla. there is a lot more swampland they put drainage canals. They run it to the sea. Its time to put in drainage, simple. Wow, look at that, just did the EIA .Ok folks its done.

    • Truth be told says:

      I guess you don’t read the news outside of Cayman? Florida is having major problems with pollution and runoff from the same canals you are referring to. The runoff into the sea is toxic and has hit many inshore species of fish very hard. So I don’t think Fl is the best example.

  6. Anonymous says:

    For goodness sake, if hydrology is the issue here, the simple solution is to build the road whereby certain sections are elevated!!! That way, the natural flow of water can still occur!!

    Why is everything so complicated on this island to solve???

    I live if Rum Point, and if the PPM let this important issue fall away…..don’t look for my support or that of many of us in this area come 2017.

    • Truth be told says:

      If you don’t like the scenic drive to Rum Point sell and move to town.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you 1:24. Anything is possible, once you have vision and commitment. Unfortunately, this is Cayman so don’t get your hopes up.

  7. SKEPTICAL says:

    Another one of Cayman’s historically famous ” Emperor’s new clothes ” developments – government wanting to look pro-active without doing in depth due diligence on the principals. The whole thing has the look of ” all fur coat but no knickers “.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another fight between the Premier and Wayne Panton who only listens to the head of the Conservation office. Why wasn’t all of this sorted out from the beginning of talks on this project. Talk about the tail wagging the dog,!!

    • Anonymous says:

      But the article says the Premier said from the beginning “there will have to be an EIA”. Who do you see making a change now?

  9. Rodney Barnett says:

    Oh please! We need to wake up and smell the coffee here. This development is filled with problems and promises not kept already. Has anyone looked into the success of the developers and the sustainability of their existing projects? How much has government promised to “forgive” in taxes, fees and other charges to entice construction?

    The law and planning process must be followed without exemption. Even if built, the project will have a life span of 25-40 years. Just look around at the number of hotels, shopping plazas and other “developments” that are ready to be replace after a 25-30 year life. That will tell you the approximate life span of this development. It is NOT something that will endure for decades.

    Our island will endure for thousands of years, do we want to do damage that will take hundreds of years to recover?

    • Anonymous says:

      Be lucky to make it hundreds of years with rising sea levels world wide… Already so much of the beach has been lost.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Build it above!!
    With proper cycle and walking space on each side!! This could be another tourist attraction, new opportunity for small businesses and great for the environment. (Think Eco bragging rights)
    Build it and they will come! I know this for a fact. I used to live on another small island several years ago and they had sidewalks all over the island. They were full with walkers, joggers, bicyles, tricycles, rollerbladers and pram pushers. And of course new businesses popped up renting all of the above.
    Think ahead for once Cayman!!! Look to the future and not to your auto-loving selves. Others actually do not mind a little sweat in exchange for exercise.

    • Anonymous says:

      This country doesn’t know how to build sidewalks… And if you build it above, how are you going to run over the iguanas and chickens?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Hon Premier, Ministers Panton and Archer and others are currently in the UK for meetings. Those meetings are dealing with other important matters that need their attention now. Please allow them the courtesy to have a real opportunity to respond.

    • Anonymous says:

      In real countries these issues would be dealt with in their absence or by the ministers themselves even though away…you never saw Obama duck an issue whilst away..

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing for them to address. The Premier said they would do an EIA & an OBC so that is what they will do. The right thing(s).

      • puffftttt says:

        I will make a prediction…Government will not require the EIA and Minister Panton will once again be proven to be a Cool Aid drinking Party line towing no backbone minister! watch and see. election coming up, this road must be built who care if it floods Gun Square, Lookout gardens, Belford..pure poor people live there! Watch and see and remember this post.

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