No justification for Dart tunnel extension

| 18/12/2017 | 55 Comments
Cayman News Service

West Bay Road tunnel

(CNS): The Central Planning Authority denied the application by one of Dart’s companies, Cayman Shores Development Ltd, to extend the West Bay Road tunnel by around 195 feet because the developer had not justified the need for the extension. Minutes from the 22 November CPA meeting show that the board had “resolved to refuse planning permission” because the applicant had “failed to demonstrate sufficient reason for extending the underpass”. The CPA has, however, granted the request to move and consolidate the beach access point in the area.

The controversial tunnel is one of two that the islands’ largest developer has constructed in order to link his flagship town at Camana Bay with the growing land acreage he now owns on Seven Mile Beach. While the first tunnel across the Esterley Tibbetts Highway faced limited opposition, the second tunnel across the West Bay Road has proved highly controversial. Not only is this tunnel far narrower and lower than the one across the ETH, it also presented a number of concerns over safety during construction and has blocked beach access.

While the decision to refuse the application to extend the tunnel from just over 400 feet to 600 feet did not find favour with the planning board, it did grant permission at the last planning meeting for the Cayman Shores application to consolidate the beach access points that the tunnel already blocks to one location.

There should be two 6-foot wide public rights of way as part of the existing development, one along the north edges of the Royal Palms parcel and one on the edge of the Coral Caymanian parcel, but they have been blocked by the tunnel. The developer has now been given permission to combine and relocate them to the southern edge of the Royal Palms site, creating a single 12-foot direct public access point.

The tunnel construction, which is nearing completion, is part of Dart’s continued and expansive development. It is understood that the CPA has also paved the way for Dart to add another two floors to a parking garage at Camana Bay, the heart of Dart’s overall development project.

The next issue likely to cause controversy regarding the ongoing development is the proposal for another 5-star hotel on Seven Mile Beach. Plans for that project depend on the removal of beachrock at the location to create a sandy beach, Dart spokespersons have stated in the past. A coastal works application is still with Cabinet.

Wayne Panton, the minister with responsibility for the environment in the previous administration, was opposed to the idea for a number of conservation reasons. He also had significant concerns about setting a precedent that could pave the way for other coastal works on Seven Mile Beach, putting the jewel in Cayman’s tourism crown at severe risk.

However, with much less concern among the current Cabinet and an environment minister that appears to have little interest in or any knowledge about conservation, previous stumbling blocks to Dart’s plan appear to have been removed and the project may very well be given the green light in the New Year.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    london bridge is going up …going up…going up….politicuans are to blame…are to blame…are to blame….my sweet Island!? cheers…it christmas man!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the justification could be linked to Alden talking about cayman needing to update laws so that “3D land space” can be sold. Dart is probably going to build homes on top of that tunnel for lease. Like the old London Bridge with row houses. LOL!

    • Anonymous says:

      Enacting those Rights was a specific defined requirement spelled out in the NRA Agreement. Not surprisingly, CIG failed to complete within the time frame specified.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think what people are against is not losing the identity of a Caribbean idyllic island. This, I feel, is something no one wants to lose and indeed this is what visitors love about the Caribbean. A beautiful getaway from their every day hustle bustle life such as in New York or Chicago or any other big city. Unfortunately, you can’t have progress and build an enriched economy without such projects being constructed. I remember when Cayman had only The Holiday Inn, The Royal Palms and The Galleon. Now look at all the high rise hotels that’s been built over the years being filled by tourists bringing money into the island and providing much needed employment. This is 2017 people, times have moved on from donkey carts and selling fish of the day down by the bakery in Georgetown. Albeit that they were the “good old days” and virtually crime free. Think what you like about Dart, he has poured a terrific amount of money into this island and provided a lot of employment. His projects are always pleasing to the eye and I think he is good for the island. No, he is not a charity and yes, he is making money. ALL firms are in it to make money. It’s called progress folks! You don’t want to be an island time forgot.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    dart has done nothing wrong….it them career politicians who are selling us out to him??? yet the people keep voting them back in…madness!!?? doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? we ourselves are to blame????

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I may have missed something, but I just can’t figure out what Dart tunneled through on the WB road to create a tunnel.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow! That is an eyesore!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      My point exactly. If you don’t go under something you don’t need it!! It is a tunnel going under nothing. At least for now.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Air and 360 degree view on a key stretch of WB road; one that always had a wide aspect and visually framed the roads north and south and light uses east and west. That’s what they tunnelled through and why we call it a tunnel. We know what an overpass looks like: it’s high above the road, does not hamper vehicular traffic or the public amenity or the quality of the road being what it is at all, and allows life to go on as normal while a few people don’t have to cross a road anymore. The construction is out of all proportion to any need except Dart’s need to connect everything it owns to everything else and f*** the people will have to drive over under around they don’t care, they just know it enables phase XII of the master plan and boosts property values above the value of the work they do. And they will keep doing that until they have amassed a big and expensive enough portfolio of developed, hyperconnected real estate and as a byproduct we will have received permanent changes to our coastal and internal roadways we may not really want. That’s f****** us and that’s why it is a tunnel. Pedants you may now put away your dictionaries and monocles.

  6. Anonymous says:

    change is coming caymanians….get used to it!?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    what have caymanians got against tunnels??
    not one of these comments has out lined one valid reason for not having a tunnel in this location?
    did they object about the hyatt and ritz ‘tunnels’?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think 9.16, you will find this hatred is due to associations with entering dark toxic environments such as certain elements assume happens in LBGT type situations and partly due to Daddy Dart issues. Ignorance plays a large part in it too. Dart has never built one thing that in the end did not come out looking good or better than the previous, whether that was the ETH, Kimpton, Camana Bay or whatever. Does the tunnel look pretty now? No. But nothing being built by Dart or anyone ever did until it is done.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Seems like ignorance is playing a big part in your answer too…Stop with the LGBT crap that is just a way for you to bring another issues to the forefront rather than focusing on the matter at hand.

        Not everybody in Cayman is against gay rights despite your constant effort to generalize everyone..

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Kimpton is an eyesore imho, too.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Hyatt and Ritz have bridges not tunnels ..big difference..

      They built bridges to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely not to build something on top of it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        But people did object to those too, because of being such eyesores and a greater detraction from the beauty that the Seven Mile Beach area could have been developed to [remain], with a little more class and less greed.

      • Anonymous says:

        It was an insult to all of us that they showed renderings and pretended this was an “overpass for pedestrians” . A shameless attempt to mislead when all the time they were creating new land for development.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was in traffic on Saturday. Traffic was in both directions and under the tunnel. An ambulance was trying to get through the tunnel and had to come to a dead stop while cars maneuvered enough to allow it to pass under the tunnel. Couple this with blocked beach access and it only spells disaster. In medical emergency seconds make the difference between life or death. When one of your loved one is affected only then will it matter to you

  8. Anonymous says:

    cant beat um so better join?☺ money talks and bullshit walks???

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  9. Elvis says:

    It’s aneyesore but hey…….. who’s caring cayman? Yes no one sadly, no one

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  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s official: the WBR tunnel does interfere with phone calls and radio signals. Just wait until they build on top of it. The words “I’m sorry I can’t hear you I’m in a tunnel” have now been spoken in the Cayman Islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why does Cayman need a tunnel, let alone two tunnels? Cayman isn’t what it use to be. Dart owns Cayman and the CIG sold out to him. His four lane highway, what sense does it make, going into a tunnel, out of the tunnel, turns and swerves. For the first time ever you can get lost. The funniest thing is Dart hires mostly work permit holders, not Caymanians, but no one will say anything to him now will they????

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      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t forget all of the consessions given to Dart! If govt had made them pay full price we would be seeing half the development and the same amount of money in our coffers.

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        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          Because the cost of development and quantity have a linear relationship, right. Bit like saying if Fosters charged you twice as much as normal for a bottle of milk you would buy half the quantity but still give Foster the same cash. You may just choose to spend your money elsewhere. And before you say Dart lives here, bear in mind he has substantial ownership interests elsewhere – real estate developers develop where they can make money. Increase the cost of development, lot more attractive to build elsewhere.

      • Anonymous says:

        8.09- BS, take your hatred elsewhere…Dart is the biggest private single employer of Caymanians…get your facts right

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      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        How the hell do you get lost in a tunnel with one point of entry and one exit?

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Which you would transit through in less than 10 seconds travelling at the speed limit. What a tragedy.

      PS if you can’t hear them, how can they hear you – what’s the point in saying I can’t hear you if you don’t have a signal?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I like tunnels and bridges, so much more exciting then regular roads. I can almost hold my breath the entire way through the West Bay tunnel, if they added that extra 195 feet I’d be screwed.

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  12. Fred the Piemaker says:

    So, now the beach access issue has been (re)moved, all Dart needs to do is reapply giving reasons for the extension. As the tunnel has already ben approved at 400ft, there are no real reasons to object to its extension (the best one, of restricted access North for large loads, is a bit redundant once you have already approved the tunnel at all – unless you admit making a mistake in granting the initial approval, which is never going to happen), and the next application will be approved. And then when Dart applies for planning permission to build on top of the now larger tunnel, when he has acquired the “air rights” above the tunnel under the new regulations, there will be no legal obstacle to him sticking a 10 story building on top of a 2 story tunnel.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The best one is actually the carbon monoxide poisoning conspiracy theory, as they are obviously the first ones to ever consider building a road tunnel.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Given the ole’ boy, know nothing, half thieving, morons that Active hires, we should all be thankful that he has such deep pockets. I have never encountered more ineptitude in my life. What are the qualifications required to be a director there? Just friends with someone else equally unqualified?

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    • Anonymous says:

      We are the 1760s Native Americans, and Dart is a smallpox blanket. Thanks CIG!
      Or, probably, a more apt analogy would be the selling of Manhattan for some shiny beads. Way to shaft your country for a short term gain.

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    • Anonymous says:

      yes…dart does things right.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Having no justification for doing something in Cayman has rarely resulted in the cessation of the activity in question.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Great closing paragraph CNS!

    Especially this part..

    “The current Cabinet and an environment minister that appears to have little interest in or any knowledge about conservation”

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    • Boggy Sound man says:

      This bunch of lackeys are bought and paid for and this project will be built and there is not one thing anyone can do or say about it. The spineless people let this powerhouse grab up everything so what do you expect? Check your history books; especially you English students of the old mine towns in Wales. What do you think makes anyone here any different than the poor souls in those company mines? You know all your problem; your caught to much up in material greed for your own profit. Your vision is short and your pockets are shallow. The quick money will fly away and you will not be any better off than the rest of us. You will then say “Oh remember me my friend, please give me a sip of your water as I am dying of thirst”. Problem will be there will be no water nor friends. Money is the root of all evil so remember it but of course this is a old fool talking and what do I care now as my days are numbered. You lay down with dogs and you will get up with fleas, problem now you got up with blood sucking ticks!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    i wish every developer in cayman had the environmental track record of dart corp…..

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    • Anonymous says:

      It does not matter how great the past environmental track record was when they go and screw it up with that horrible tunnel. Why did they have to go run it off the track? What happened they got too smug? Didn’t think some of us would notice it or what?

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