Public beach access remains at risk

| 28/11/2017 | 61 Comments

(CNS): Resolving the issues surrounding public beach access rights has been identified by the current administration as an important priority. Nevertheless, during Finance Committee earlier this month MLAs raised a number of concerns about the increasing impositions being placed on people trying to access local beaches and Attorney General Samuel Bulgin struggled to offer any definitive solutions or explain why no one was being prosecuted. Opposition members pointed to various scenarios posing challenges to access due to planning approvals that have resulted in blocking access points or landowners erecting fences and denying rights that are still common, despite the recent amendments to the law.

When Finance Committee considered the appropriations for the Attorney General’s Chambers on 14 November, both Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller and East End MLA Arden McLean asked what his office could do about the situation created by the tunnel on the West Bay Road that has blocked what is understood to be at least two previously unrestricted beach access points.

Bulgin told the committee he was reluctant to give advice without having all of the facts surrounding specific issues, but he implied during the questioning that registering rights is going to be an important factor in securing future access.

Government has not yet implemented the new law and the commission established to manage the issue has not yet put in place the framework that will identify and then protect public access to counter the challenges being created by it being blocked by landowners.

But as government works out how the new law will work, there are community-wide concerns that the public’s right to access and use the beach is being increasingly curtailed. Stories of people being chased off beaches, fences and locked gates appearing and planning approvals that seem to support landowners in their access denials are emerging on an almost weekly basis, with fears mounting that it may be too late for government to preserve all of the traditional access points the community once enjoyed.

“We are getting more and more people who think they own the water now, much less the beach,” Miller said, as he raised concerns about the possibility that access rights may be permanently lost because no one seems willing to enforce the legislation. He said people were still being chased off beaches, as he urged government to urgently address the problem.

During his appearance before Finance Committee on 8 November, Planning Minister Joey Hew, explaining why the Central Planning Authority had given approval to developments that block access, said the problem with historic prescriptive rights was that planning did not always know about those rights because they are not registered.

However, in his policy speech during the budget debate, the premier had stated that the Government of National Unity would focus on ensuring that the issues and challenges around beach access would be addressed during the current administration.

“We will be further strengthening the public’s rights to beach access through policies, procedures and regulations that guide the operations of the Public Lands Commission, which was established in June this year. This commission will ensure that beach access by the public is safeguarded and maintained on all three of our Islands. This continues the work started last year by government to reopen and protect the public’s right to access to our beaches,” the premier stated.

The issue was raised by a number of ministers and MLAs during the course of the budget debate and the subsequent Finance Committee hearings in the wake of recent news reports about the encroachment of access by some oceanfront land owners who want to keep the public out regardless of the prescriptive and required access rights.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Government Finance, Local News, Politics

Comments (61)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Listening to this dialog I can only shake my head. Mr Bulgin’s outright avoidance in answering or not wanting to address the questions I would like to say is laughable but it is actually not, it is downright deplorable! If you don’t have the information (which you should have at this point) go get it and come back, we’ll wait. Don’t waste peoples time, effort & money.

    No one with the authority has the vision or realizes that this basic right bestowed on us for our own people, (and those who wish to enjoy it) once lost cannot be restored.

    All of those who think that this is just trivial nonsense will be at the head of the line when it trickles down to their own personal affect.

    If this is not a chance to represent your people, I don’t know what is.




    4



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      If Govt. really wanted you to have beach access points, all they have to do is claim imminent domain to a four foot path to the beach, no money no problem, might lose a vote or two,big deal? you betcha!!




      0



      0
  2. Anonymous says:

    Nobody in Government has any balls to enforce any regulations because it could offend a potential voter – this is always what it boils down to.

    It is so sad to see this Island spiraling more and more into lawlessness where only criminals or people with plenty $$$ seem to be getting anywhere. I just don’t get why our Government is incapable of having a ZERO tolerance approach to those kind of things, which includes those pesty beach vendors who are ruining our beaches.




    12



    0
  3. Anonymous says:

    i’d be happy to use the public beach on west bay road but can’t get near it due to it being filled with illegal operations renting beach chairs and trying to braid my hair. not a bad business model though – no rent, insurance, cuc or water to pay for.




    49



    2
    • Anonymous says:

      Or work permits, or pensions…




      14



      0
    • Jotnar says:

      And no health or pensions for employees, or trade and business licence, or work permits




      14



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      I had not realized that Public Beach was now an Economic Free Zone where no T&B is required, WP’s, just a general free for all. It is actually embarrassing that this is now the face of Cayman that most tourists see,




      15



      0
  4. WhatTheHeckIsHappeningToOurIsland? says:

    Simple solution. Pass a law stating that all beaches and the sea in front of them belong to the CIG. Where a beachside property is greater than 200′ in width, the property owner must provide and maintain a 20′ public access easement capable of allowing access to the beach by the public and by emergency vehicles. Period. No exceptions what so ever.




    27



    4
    • Anonymous says:

      Even simpler, enforce the existing common law.




      13



      0
    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      You have pulled the brass ring (sorry, old person reference). Perfect solution, and thank you very much. :up: Every 200 feet requires a 20 foot (10%) public easement to the beach. For the public, for the visitors, for the people, forever, amen.

      Selah.




      6



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t do that, bozo. Any beach land higher than the high water mark belongs to the adjacent landowner, and any attempt to take it for that purpose would be held unconstitutional. For the same reason, nor can government unilaterally impose rights of way over land already owned by someone.

      And quite right too. Once you start meddling with property rights, the whole real estate industry will fall down round your ears.

      I wonder if that Turkish (sorry, Caymanian) fellow was told he had to donate a right of way. Something tells me not.




      13



      7
      • Anonymous says:

        CIG doesn’t need the land owner’s permission to reclaim land for a public purpose the planning law lays out some ways for them to easily skirt around private ownership.

        They are unlikely to just randomly confiscate land but the power and the potential is there




        2



        0
      • Anonymous says:

        You are confusing ownership and exclusive right to use. They are not the same. Your reference to high water mark is also artificial. The public’s common law and prescriptive right to use the 7 mile beach extends back to the vegetation line. It has existed for centuries.




        5



        0
    • Anonymous says:

      So who is going to pay and how much will that cost?




      0



      0
  5. Anonymous says:

    Please note that The Mighty Gabby said it best in his song “Jack”. So I am letting you know any of you “Fat Cows” or slim cows or whoever including the sell-out politicians, the BEACH IS MINE AND I WILL BATHE IN IT ANYTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As a world travel myself, let us see what will happen to our islands’ tourism when the average tourists can’t sit on the beach much less sea it from where they are staying. The Cayman Islands must start to enforce the current laws regarding this matter and stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Remember the rich property owners are only looking out for what they can get from our country. However, the truth be known, that is human nature. SO ENFORCE THE LAWS POLITICIANS. STOP PLAYING THE FOOL.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




    34



    2
  6. West bay Premier says:

    What are we people sitting down and waiting for ? For the beach access to be closed permanently . We can see and say if certain people were still alive , and this is not the politicians we voted for .
    Why can’t we all be like how the deceased ones were , and go and tell them that we voted for this, FIX THE PUBLIC BEACH ACCESS TODAY or no vote next election then they would understand the people means business. But not until you the people go and do so .




    29



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      There is an easy solution to beach access. Work hard, save your money and buy a property on the beach. If you aren’t able to do that then you have to use a pathway every 400 yards.

      There are lots of things and experiences that I want that I can’t afford that others can. That is capitalism and it is the system we chose, so quit your whining and live with it. If you don’t like it move to Cuba…they are permanently stuck in the “Good Old Days”.

      The World is only going to get smaller so either move with it or get left behind.




      14



      30
  7. Anonymous says:

    Purchaser 1: I just bought a beautiful property on the ocean 6 month ago, it used to be calm, but now there are boats going up and down at all hours of the night, some drug dealing going on to right of me and some party with jamming bass to the left every night. There is a guy who steals my coconuts and I have countless camera shots of many people crossing my property but the Police don’t follow up so my children do not feel safe being on the beach at night. When crabbing season starts there will be 4 or 5 cars parked around my driveway, and there is always this floating light of a fisherman 30 yeard off shore who stares into my living room so it make having family over over for fun strange with some weird guy peering into our events. Put the for sale sign up yesterday.

    Potential Purchaser 2: Wow, I was going to buy property on the beach, but there are so many other places in the world where you do not have to put up with rude and obnoxiousness. Thank for the advance notice.




    22



    41
    • Anonymous says:

      Nearest Private Beach. To get there turn left at the port going North and walk to the dreadful purple Thompson building built without any concern for setbacks nor pedestrian safety. There the sign says Private Beach and all who enter pay $10 for sitting on crown land. In spite of this there is no certificate of occupation for the purple pisspot and none of the various businesses have TB licences.

      Moreover a boundary rope fence has been illegally erected to stop persons from accessing from next door. It looks appalling.

      The whole ill thought project is straight out of Disney World.

      Complaints to both the CPA and TB Authority have met with silence.

      Why is Cayman allowing this? I guess as usual it is a case of who you know.




      35



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      You bought a beautiful property on the ocean in a third world country. There is a huge difference. Here ignorance rules.




      6



      2
    • Anonymous says:

      And then you woke up and realized you are delusional and that your dreams/nightmares are OTT exaggerated. But hey, don’t like it? Move to Camana Bay or buy any one of the other Dart properties that’s available.




      8



      2
    • Anonymous says:

      Well leave




      1



      2
      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll leave but you aint gettin my property, I’ll wait you out for hundreds of years before you get your dirty paws back on the property I paid for….or until they clean up the trash like you and we can come back to start to build a civil society again.




        4



        3
      • Anonymous says:

        Oh GREAT. How much are you asking for your beach property when you leave?

        As a permanent Caymanian, I am very interested in buying any additional beach property that comes available.




        1



        2
      • Anonymous says:

        You leave, I will protect my castle.




        1



        1
    • Anonymous says:

      I hope when you call the police it’s not like this, because this is a strange mix of legitimate and illegitimate complaints. No one should come into your actual, non-beach yard, or even across it unless there’s an easement in which case they should not stray, and stealing your coconuts is outrageous. If people are parking alongside a public street, though, there’s not much you can do about it. And complaining about a guy 30 yards offshore is a little nuts. Ask the coconut guy to go elsewhere, and buy some drapes. And maybe consider a fence.




      1



      0
  8. Mr. D says:

    Please Cayman Islands Government amend the Law as we do with every Law in The Cayman Islands for everyone who walks in the door and demands change. What about the People request to have this Law re-instated as a 20 foot emergency access that was in place in the 70s and 80s as well as the high water mark. Thanks,




    20



    2
  9. Anonymous says:

    See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil have nothing on our spineless politicians. A little favor makes it easier not to do anything. Selling us all out again as usual.




    20



    0
  10. Anonymous says:

    Alden, if I have a right, I have it. You cannot strengthen it. It is already what it is. Just enforce the damned law, without fear or favor – something you appear particularly weak at.




    40



    0
  11. Anonymous says:

    yawn….just enforce current laws. problem solved.




    32



    0
  12. Anonymous says:

    We all know that whatever they do will not apply to Dart. This has been and will even more be true in the future. The public never has input on Darts plans. CIG just approves them.




    21



    6
    • Anonymous says:

      You give your input when you elect your leaders.




      5



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t have input on anyone’s plans. They changed that Law long before Dart.

      (Plans = land plans like a hotel or a house, we still have comment on coastal works plans as those are private development on public property.)




      8



      0
  13. Willy says:

    The AG is really useless on anything he is asked about, a typical lawyer – straddle the fence” – oh what the hell he gets a big fat paycheck for doing absolutely nothing!
    What is he doing about the motor bike problems and the law?
    What is he doing about the bums driving over sidewalks around school busses?
    Just what is he being paid for?

    Answer seems to be one big fat NOTHING
    Keep those pay checks rolling in though!




    31



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the Director of the DDP who seems very erratic with what she is willing to prosecute




      1



      0
  14. Anonymous says:

    Just this evening I had some big foreign cow try and run me off the the beach behind her condo. And I was sitting by the waters edge well within 15’ of the high tide mark. Needless to say she got a good ole taste of pissed off caymankind.

    Think I might organize a bbq at this location on the weekend and every weekend hereafter.




    70



    5
    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for devalueing the only real thing cayman has going for itself.




      15



      28
      • West bay Premier says:

        Anonymous 8:15am , you have to remember that every country /island has many different KINDS that make up their society. And you can’t be kind all the time and let everyone take everything away from you and the food out of your mouth.
        And what anonymous 6:20pm is doing is one way to fix the beach access problem.

        That’s just like years ago I had a expat investor come to me and try to tell me that i couldn’t continue to make my living the honest and legal way , I just told him to go back where he came from and tell those people they can’t make legal and honest living . After that we became friends and everyone was happy after .




        10



        1
  15. Anonymous says:

    When is the last time Ezzard went to the beach? Brederen should have bought himself some beachfront property if he loves it that much.




    11



    34
    • Anonymous says:

      I see him every week …..




      8



      4
    • Observer says:

      Ezzard is doing what he is paid to do and that being represent the people of the Cayman Islands. It is not about him going to the beach you dimwit




      21



      6
    • Anonymous says:

      If you came out of your cave you would know that Ezzard takes his family to the beach almost every weekend and him and his family are one of the few Caymanian families who still own several beach front lots,




      17



      4
    • Anonymous says:

      Ezzard should go to the public beach on a cruise ship day and see how all the foreign lawless hawkers have turned it into a mini Jamaica.
      The Darts of course have guards to keep their Kimpton beach “private”.




      28



      0
  16. West bay Premier says:

    I think that this issue of Public beach access are going to have to be solved by the Caymanian voters telling all of the Politicians “fix it now or no vote for none of you next election ” It’s not the opposition in the LA is the problem . I think it’s the opposition land owners is the problem. If you don’t be prepared to use what mangrove water access to water that is left to go for a swim .




    28



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      This logic needs to be applied to the dump.




      2



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      we keep voting the politicians back in every 4 years, no matter what they do or don’t do, so why should they do any better, after all we are the most foolish voters in the world, period.




      3



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      This is hilarious, you actually think any of the WB CDP voters or GT and sister island PPM voters are going to just not vote for their parties.

      Nice one




      1



      0
  17. Anonymous says:

    Put cctv by the accesses then, we can see whose blocking them.




    16



    1
  18. Anonymous says:

    And the entire South Sound public beach area is soon to be blocked from recreational use, by a multi-million dollar Boardwalk which will wash away in the first storm!
    Yet we will wait intil it is done to speak up as usual.




    27



    2
  19. Anonymous says:

    Another Unity Government messup, I hope the public is paying attention. This is not the Government that we voted for!




    24



    4

Please include your email address in the form below if you are using your real name. You can use a pseudonym, with or without leaving an email address, or just leave the form blank to be "Anonymous". All comments will be moderated before they are published. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.