Dart continues goal to rip up 7MB beachrock

| 09/02/2017 | 216 Comments
Cayman News Service

Area of shoreline where the beachrock has been removed (Photo by Dart Real Estate)

(CNS): The Cayman Islands’ largest landowner and developer has made a formal application to Cabinet for a coastal works licence to press ahead with its controversial plans to rip out a stretch of beachrock from the sea close to the shoreline of beachfront land it owns near Tiki Beach. Dart Real Estate (formerly Dart Realty) wants to develop another beachfront resort north of the Kimpton hotel, but Dart representatives have said they want to remove the rock formation occurring there and fill it with sand because the natural environment will not be to the liking of potential guests.

According to Dart’s website, the application for the licence, which has been made by one of its many companies, is to excavate some 1,225 feet of beachrock down to a depth of four and a half feet and replace it with sand. The developer took samples in an excavation last December.

“The rationale for the proposed shoreline improvements is to remove exposed beachrock, which is soft rock comprised of cemented sand, where it protrudes along the shoreline, impeding beachgoers’ ability to enter the sea and swim,” the developer stated in the announcement on the site.  “This will enhance the recreational quality of the beach for residents and visitors and will facilitate development of the luxury tourism property with a conceptual programme of 225 hotel rooms, 80 residences and 10 villas.”

Dart is justifying the application, which is alarming environmentalists, by claiming the new 5-star resort and residences will contribute a total economic impact of over US$600 million during its five-year development and construction.

“Conservatively estimated, the 5-star project would sustain 800 jobs at its construction peak and support 1,254 direct and indirect positions in the tourism industry once operations stabilize,” the company claimed. “Over 20 years, contributions to the Cayman Islands GDP would exceed US$1.7 billion or 2% of GDP, 4% of jobs and 3% of direct revenues to the Cayman Islands Government.”

It also suggested that its engineering consultants found that the removal of the beachrock would have minimal impact on the beach in the project area and it would allow the beach to recover naturally after storm activity.

“We are committed to responsible, sustainable development and the need to balance economic opportunity with environmental management,” said the company’s president, Jackie Doak.

“Dart Real Estate is a conscientious steward of land, and the proposed shoreline improvements are a manifestation of the long-term approach that characterizes all of our developments.”

But local activists as well as the Department of Environment have raised concerns. In its advice to Cabinet for just the trial removal, the DoE made it clear that this was not some benign lifeless rock that could be taken away but a living eco-system. The DoE had advised Cabinet not to grant the trial licence, but that technical expertise was ignored.

The DoE said geologists had previously warned of the dangers of removing the natural rock formation from the beach because of the destabilizing effect. In a detailed review and a memo rebutting the developer’s claims, the DoE’s technical committee made it clear that they could not support the end goal to remove the rock.

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (216)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I have just returned from a holiday in Cayman having previously visited 35years ago. and felt like shedding a tear or two on the shear urban sprawl, ugly ostentatious buildings, bling hotels on what was beautiful beaches and mangrove swamps, traffic jams (do you really need huge American Kenworth trucks on your little roads). I know we humans need to develop certain areas and quite often it is for the best but when nature is taking this sort of hit we will end up killing ourselves. I suppose when your Mr Dart (Dr No) has finished concreting over the island he can always make a start on Little and Brac.
    Can your government not take control?
    Perhaps us tourists should keep our noses out, but we all breath the same air.

  2. Whistle blower. says:

    After this poor decision to destroy the natural rock and take the sand from the beach, how is it a crime for a local to fill a 5 gallon bucket of sand from the beach?
    Double standards at it’s best, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    This has to be one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of the Cayman Islands.
    So much more could have been done that would have benefited the economy and protect the environment with the money that is being invested into this project. Everyone who supports this is truly pathetic and have no foresight into the consequences of such a disaster.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was there snorkeling over the weekend and saw so many species of fish! From angel fish and parrotfish to barracuda. Why destroy something that is so beautiful and “supposed to be protected”. There is live coral there!!! What I do know that if this is allowed then DOE/Govt will have to open the doors for other developers wanting the same or similar projects. It’s a bad domino effect. Whilst time moves on so should progress and development for the better of the country, but we have to be very careful with what is allowed. Especially here in our pristine waters. Certain things are better left untouched. If that reef is removed then the rest of the sand in that area will be sucked out with the currents and tides leaving the exposed peat which is already exposed from Calicos to Just below the Kimpton.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dart controls Cayman. The politicians know it, but the electorate have not yet been informed.
    Dart, I wish you had never come here. I prefer mosquitoes to you.

    • Alarmed says:

      A mosquito only takes a miniscule amount of blood. This kind of person will take all of your blood, then suck all the marrow from your bones

  5. Anonymous says:

    CNN, I took a look over the last 30 or so stories that you published. Obviously the Dart issue was the main story by a long shot.

    This tells me a lot.
    First of all, if you get 3 comments on a nebulous story and then you get over 200 comments on the Dart issue.

    Surely then, there are a lot of people reading your articles.

    So you received loads of folk commenting on the Dart thing. Why don’t you press in and represent the people? We need a voice.

    Why not yours?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh goodie!!! More brown sand from South America!!!
    Yuk. I’ll be down the better end of SMB. Down by that big casino being built across from Wendy’s …

  7. Karley Ebanks says:

    The Kimpton Hotel has yet to be at 100% occupancy and its employees are finding it hard to pay their monthly bills due to the lack of tip income. While yes a new development would increase construction jobs and jobs at the hotel if no one is coming to stay in the rooms the majority of the employees are walking away each month earning just a low basic wage which they cannot live off. Why should DART be allowed to bulldoze more of Cayman’s natural environment when there is clearly no need for another hotel at this point. Anyone questioning that should take a walk thru the Kimpton as it is pretty much a ghost town most days.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding? We cannot find rooms for anyone almost anywhere on Island at normal prices from now until end of March. The restaurants are busy (I know, I have been several times recently) so I cannot help wondering if you actually know what you are talking about.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Turn the new area into a fishing spot. Boycott the hell out of it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the Dart corporation believes the natural beach would not be to the liking of the guests, why buy the property in the first place?

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