Huge support for land conservation

| 03/05/2017 | 31 Comments

(CNS): A  survey to assess public opinion on designating twelve spots in Grand Cayman and Little Cayman as protected areas under the National Conservation Law has received significant backing from the community. Almost 97% of the people who took part supported the concept of conserving areas of natural significance. Most of the individual nominated areas in this first round of recommendations going to Cabinet received more than 90% support to protect them from the more than 200 responses.

Fred Burton, from the  Department of the Environment’s terrestrial unit, said there was “huge support” from the people who took part in the public consultation, as he revealed the survey results at a National Conservation Council meeting Tuesday. Barkers received backing from the highest number of supporters but other areas, such as Vidal Cay, a tiny island in the North Sound, and the Lower Valley Forest got 100% support from the participants. 

Outlining the findings and his report on this first ever round of nominations for protected areas under the law, Burton also revealed that the landowners of three parcels of private land amid the twelve nominations, which were are largely on crown land, have agreed to sell. The total value of these three plots indicated by Lands & Survey is around $850,000 and the NCC agreed to recommend taking that money from the $6 million allocated for this project from the Environmental Protection Fund.

Described by NCC Chair Christine-Rose Smyth as “an historic step towards the realisation of the law’s aims”, the council agreed unanimously to recommend to Cabinet that it make the designation on eleven of the dozen nominated areas immediately.

One landowner whose property is adjacent to the Crown East interior wetlands on Little Cayman did not receive the formal letter notifying him of the proposal due to an incorrect address. The notification to neighbouring owners is part of the law so, despite the support for its designation, the advertising process will have to be redone before that site can be  recommended.

Despite that one blip, Burton said the process had gone really well and he was very pleased with the support, which was 100% in some cases. 

The only nomination on Grand Cayman to receive less than 90% support was the Salt Creek Mangroves, where 78% of people who took part backed its designation for protection. Burton explained, however, that most of the respondents that did not support it came from the same IP address — in quick succession — and despite the criteria that survey participants could not be anonymous, those opposing the Salt Creek nominations gave only first names or monikers. 

Burton said people who took part in the survey and the consultation were able to make comments and he explained that those made by whoever opposed the designation implied that there were other uses the land should be put to, including development.

But the chair of the NCC pointed out that the Salt Creek mangrove site is not only an important area of environmental significance, it is the only remaining piece of crown land in the West Bay Road corridor that could be designated for protection. It is a final island of natural beauty surrounded by development.

The council agreed unanimously that Barkers, Vidal Cay, Crown Mangrove Cays, Salt Creek Mangroves, Lower Valley Forest, and the Central Mangrove Wetlands on Grand Cayman, along with Preston Bay Ponds, Booby Ponds West, Tarpon Lake, the North Coast Wetlands and Crown Wetland on Little Cayman will be the first natural locations in the Cayman Islands that it would formally recommend for protection.

Cabinet is expected to consider and hopefully designate the areas before the election.

Once confirmed, the sites will be protected in perpetuity in their natural state for the people of the Cayman Islands and the generations to come. As well as protecting essential mangroves, these pieces of land will preserve endemic and endangered flora as well as conserving the habitat essential to many migratory and native birds and other animals, such as rare bats and lizards, ensuring that they too will have a fighting chance at survival.

See the survey results and report in the CNS Library

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (31)

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  1. Hello pirate robber man says:

    Thanks the most high for something that will play out to be beneficial for the country as a country perhaps maybe not the people, but we must be thankful all the same. Burn slavery!

  2. Facto De Matta says:

    The stated percentages are meaningless given what ultimately is a piss poor response, mainly from the same few persons. “Huge Support” is gross overstatement.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, people who had a place in this planet have apparently lost their rights.

    In the olden days, there was no Dart, no CUC, no oppressive, corrupt government when the Caymanian forefathers strove against all odds to make a community of decent, God-fearing people.

    It was not easy, but it was wholesome, but then the snake oil salesman from “civilisation” got into the leaders’ minds and our leaders became politicians, statesman, national “bandits” and the like. (We even have statues to prove it.)

    Cayman has been “hoodwinked” (yes this word means something to those in the know) into selling its birthright to charlatans and criminals.

    Now it may be too late. Cayman is almost finished. The Caymanian people have been caught with their pants down and the “ones who know better” are in control.

    Friends, brothers and sisters of these islands. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
    If the hen was awake, she would have seen the fox coming. Alas, she was snoozing in her beautiful coup and BAM! traitors were in the midst.

    Ironically, the hens that sold out will also be devoured by the fox and I know that they feel it too.

    The only solution will be an intervention from the great Sky-Rooster, you know the one we all claim to serve, but make a mockery of His Name day in and day out by the way we live our holier-than-thou lives.

    The crowing of the Rooster will soon be upon us. Let us not be found dozing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One day it would be nice if our local media got into the habit of directing their readers to policy shaping gov’t surveys before they are completed with merely 200 respondents. That’s pathetic. It’s like the Chamber of Commerce “Election Debates” that we are hearing about after their conclusion. Dumping reports and announcements on obscure government or business association web servers devoid of any impressions is not how the internet functions.

    CNS: The media can only publish the stories, we can’t make you read them. On CNS – First dozen sites proposed for protection under NCL – but the story ran on every media. The Chamber debates were also well publicised beforehand. N.B. Sarcasm doesn’t work when you’re spouting BS.

  5. My heart is pure and my hands are clean says:

    Protected until Dart wants to develop it. We all know what happens next…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very impressed. Super funny about the Salt Creek area but also very predictable.
    Thank you Cayman!!! EVERYONE!! Everyone who cares about our environment, thank you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CNS – Where is Appendix 3 with the actual comments?

    it’s there in the Library. I’ve renamed it to make it clearer.

  8. Veritas says:

    I wonder how many of the 97% were Caymanians?.

    • Anonymous says:

      50%, as you will see if you read the report. Quite representative of the demographic, it seems.

    • Anonymous says:

      The actual report says 50% were registered voters

    • Caymanians: says:

      You want to say that the caymanians do not want to preserve the natural riches of their own country??????????????????????????.

    • Sharkey says:

      Veritas a very valid question , and that refers to what I said in my other comment to Mr Burton about allowing people to vote ANONYMOUSLY on these habitats. Mr Burton you should throw away that survey because you really don’t know who those people are that voted against the Salt Creek habitat .

      Just like Veritas comment question , why would so many people thumb that question down ?

      • Anonymous says:

        Sharkey – The report identifies the suspect responses to the poll and does eliminate them from the main results. The fact that they occurred is reported to ensure full transparency.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only people who do not own land want to conserve other people’s land.

      • Anonymous says:

        The nominated land is Crown or owned privately by persons willing to sell for a fair market price. How else will Barkers National Park become a reality instead of a paper park?

    • Anonymous says:

      Who cares? Maybe our residents from overseas have seen the results of non-protected areas in their original homeland and are trying to help us steer away from such mistakes.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would hope they were all Caymanians, protecting our islands for future generations from the crowds of people moving here. Just look at how the Chinese razed the mangroves in South Sound.

  9. Unison says:

    We need to as well conserve WHITE SANDED BEACHES!

    I am afraid as the wealthy class start buying up our seaside lands, there will not be anymore room or access for locals and tourist to enjoy the beaches. We need to purchase white sanded beaches or we will have to deal with overcrowded beaches! See what almost happened to Smith Cove beach – it was almost taken away from us!

    • Sharkey says:

      Unison, I think that alot of things like public access to the beaches, and Smith Cove is unfinished business by this Government . The last thing I heard or read about Smith Cove and the a joining property, is that Government would purchase the a joining property on January 23rd 2017 , and never heard or read anymore about the purchase . Can anyone verify that the purchase ever happened ? Or is that pushed under the rug till next Government come and hope it’s me and my Government. These are the kind of things that the people needs to hold Government accountable for and make sure that they do follows through on , and not just make promises to keep you the people quiet .

      I would say to Mr Burton that whenever he does another survey he should not alow anyone that doesn’t have any say in what ever happens in the Cayman Islands to vote ANONYMOUSLY , because they might just be payed cash to vote the way one might want them to .
      I think that something like voting for presevers natural habitat need to be done only by Citizens of the Islands that see and wants these habitats protected for the future of the Islands and future generations.

      CNS: See Ask Auntie: Acquisition of land by Smith Cove

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes we need additional Country owned sandy beaches. However, nothing was happening to the main Smith Cove beach. It was the adjacent land which was purchased to expand the public area and protect it from development. Please do not perpetuate false information.

      • Anonymous says:

        The adjacent land included beach as well as the ironshore that has the jumping rock. There would have been a car park and swimming pool along with the condos, which would have meant spotlights disturbing the peace of the cove and roped-off area for beach chairs for condo residents. Just because the actual beach up to high water mark of the second inlet was not included in the deal (which is prohibited by Cayman law) does not mean that peace and tranquility of the cove would not have been seriously compromised.

    • Anonymous says:

      See the Public Lands Bill (2017) gazetted January 31:

  10. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic news!

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