(CNS): With public opposition growing to the goal by the islands’ largest developer to dig up beachrock from Seven Mile Beach to make it more appealing for another five-star resort, a group of environmental activists are organising a demonstration. Save Cayman is calling on all those who don’t support Cabinet’s decision to allow the Dart Group to start tests on the rock along a stretch of Grand Cayman’s famous beach to join in the show of opposition planned for Sunday 11 December.
Crymble Landholding Ltd, one of billionaire developer Ken Dart’s network of companies, was granted approval by Cabinet earlier this month to begin digging up Seven Mile Beach to take samples of the beachrock with a view to making an application to remove all of it in an area where Dart is considering developing another hotel.
Local environmental group Save Cayman is opposed to the trial as well as the future proposed removal because of the concerns about the detrimental impact. Analysis by the Department of Environment’s experts on the Technical Review Committee advised Cabinet not to approve the trial but the members ignored that advice.
Digging out the beachrock could herald serious coastal erosion and have a detrimental impact on the Seven Mile Beach Marine Park Zone, and any development on the site will lead to the loss of some of the last remaining turtle nesting habitat along the beach.
Activists are also concerned about the dangerous precedent this approval will have. They have asked when the line will finally be drawn regarding coastal development and its continuing risks to the beach and marine life. They believe that there is considerable opposition in the community and want to see people come out and make it clear to government that this is the final line.
The demonstration is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday 11 December by Tiki Beach.
In its review of the application, the DoE technical team raised many concerns and warned that government should not grant approval. Removing the rock, the experts say, poses a genuine threat to the marine environment and a risk of beach loss on neighbouring properties. The experts have warned that beachrock is not a benign substance that can be removed without any long-term effect but an important element in the local marine eco-system.
See DoE’s recommendations and related documents in the CNS Library