Little Cayman threatened by road proposal

| 08/05/2017 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service

Road sign on Little Cayman

(CNS): In the absence of a comprehensive plan for the island’s future and no details of why it is required, the National Conservation Council has told the planning ministry that it will need to do an environmental impact assessment before it attempts to gazette a new road on Little Cayman. Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie re-iterated concerns to the NCC about how arbitrary road proposals are becoming and warned that opening up this pristine primary habitat poses a development threat on the island where residents are already concerned about over development.

The proposal has come from the Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure (PLAHI) but Ebanks-Petrie explained that District Administration is responsible for the roads on the Sister Islands.

As she went through her department’s screening advice at an NCC meeting last week, the DoE director said the proposal was to gazette a 30-ft wide, half-mile long public road as an extension to an already gazetted road in an area called Spine Road with a turning circle or hammerhead at the terminus. PLAHI said it was to provide access to landlocked parcels.

But Ebanks-Petrie said that there was no strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to support the proposal or outline its the potential effects. She questioned whether it was the least environmentally damaging alternative for meeting the stated purpose even if the purpose proved to be justified. In the absence of a formal development plan or strategy, she said “the arbitrary selection of a road” without strategic considerations was not an approach supported by the DoE.

An EIA would be needed to determine what development was intended, Ebanks-Petrie said, noting the cumulative effects of incremental development after gazettal, the magnitude of change, national implications and the dangers posed by irreversible development.

“The proposed roadway will traverse areas of high ecological and biodiversity value within the central dry shrubland habitat which supports numerous critically endangered… Sister Islands endemic plant species,” Ebanks-Petrie told the NCC, adding that it also bisects seasonally flooded mangrove shrubland which will be adversely affected by the presence of the road.

The director said the “need for a public east-west interior road along this route does not appear to have been objectively evaluated nor adequately demonstrated” and “no rationale” was provided for the proposal, which would open over 200 acres of pristine primary habitat to potential development. 

“The DoE does not support a decision to gazette a major road corridor in the absence of a long-term development strategy for Little Cayman or an EIA for the proposed road,” Ebanks-Petrie stated. “Gazetting of this major road without proper development control mechanisms is certain to transform land use on either side of the corridor leading to wider reaching development impacts affecting the character of the island.”

She urged the council to consider the very strong views regarding the long-term development vision for Little Cayman by most residents who want the island to remain predominantly undeveloped with low-density residential and boutique tourism. The members voted unanimously to require that an EIA is undertaken before any consideration is giving to gazetting the proposed road.

See DoE Screening Opinion for Proposed Spine Road, Little Cayman in the CNS Library

See agenda and all documents for NCC 3 May meeting

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Comments (22)

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  1. PPM Blindspot says:

    The begining of the end for our little island what is the difference between the PPM and the Mafia Size!!!!

  2. A says:

    Don’t sell out Little Cayman. We don’t need you know who playing SimCity over there.

  3. Anonymous says:

    dart will own all three of the islands soon…..we going call them dart islands?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is not Dart’s land it is a few very influential family members from the Brac who want to sell lots of acreage that currently can’t be subdivided and sold because it has no road access. They have been trying for years to get politicians to help them! I guess MK finally gave in or maybe has a share in the pie?

  5. Little Cayman is the perfect complement to the three Islands that make up the Cayman Islands. This fact is often overlooked by the DoT and mass media.
    Little Cayman has the best diving in the Caribbean because it is mostly undeveloped, not overfished, and has a regulated and reasonable dive pressure.
    Little Cayman is the very last island of it’s kind in the Caribbean that is easily accessible, and has a good and reliable infrastructure.
    Little Cayman is a marvelous draw to a small, but often very high end, nitch of locals and foreign investors who are looking for exactly what Little Cayman offers, and what Little Cayman DOES NOT offer.
    Little Cayman is a jewel in the Caribbean. Many do not see this yet, but if left alone, she will prove herself to be the brightest jewel in the Cayman Islands Crown.
    Having said all of that – who proposed building this road? And to what purpose? To this Little Cayman resident and business owner, it makes no sense. I suspect something is going on behind closed doors.
    Any further consideration of such a misguided proposal needs to be added to Little Cayman’s air lift capacity issues.
    All of the above speaks strongly to the ideas mentioned in this article – Little Cayman, and the Sister Islands, need a long term development plan.
    Please, please please make these important decisions with consideration to responsible business development, and strong environmental protections for this beautiful, unique, inspiring corner of the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not just go see who owns the parcels set to benefit most, it’s not that difficult.

  6. Anonymous says:

    dart has moved in….full stop….and govt just now like little puppies???

  7. Anonymous says:

    Leave Little Cayman alone. It’s such a beautiful escape. Keep it quiet and peaceful.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So in Grand Cayman the NCC is hell bent on protecting wetlands but in Little Cayman their priority is the dry land?
    Just asking.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Turn the island into a prison. We’ll need the space at this rate.

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    This is in aid of the numerous pension(er) scams in the UK attempting to sell cheap sister-island inland swamp/jungle lots at “affordable prices”, sight-unseen, with colourful pictures of beachfront resort properties that have nothing to do with the lot in question.;jsessionid=A47B22E5F9EC1CDED3AAB7AF19548DCE

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful, then let government purchase the land from the landowners to become a nature preserve. Let’s not leave out Owen Island or Point a Sand. The government is sitting on a huge environmental fund which could be used to fund this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart owns Point of Sand. You think he’ll sell that? Doubtful!

      • Anonymous says:

        Much improved since he bought it and still open for all to enjoy. For the love of God don’t let Govt get their hands on it and screw it up for everyone!

        • Anonymous says:

          You say that now, but it’s only a matter of time before he clears all the land and builds a multi-story eyesore to accommodate hundreds of tourists.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Please don’t destroy Little Cayman. The overlooked jewel of the three islands. You don’t need that much road to go anywhere! Once you start developing, it never stops! Look at Grand Cayman…..

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