Planning approves mental health facility

| 12/03/2018 | 17 Comments
Cayman Islands Mental Health Facility

Cayman Islands Mental Health Facility, artist’s rendition

(CNS): The government’s long-term residential mental health hospital earmarked for East End has received the go-ahead from the Central Planning Authority, and the Ministry of Health can now move forward with construction of the facility, which should be complete by the tail end of next year. The ministry welcomed the progress, particularly as it has been stressed there are currently no long-term options for this kind of treatment in the Cayman Islands.

Patients are therefore often forced to travel abroad to Jamaica or the US, but if they are unable to obtain visas, for example due to criminal convictions, then they are restricted to the eight-bed mental health unit at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town or being locked up at HMP Northward.

“I am delighted that we have received planning permission for this much-needed and long-awaited
facility,” Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said in a statement. “We urgently need a fit-for-purpose long-term facility to care for our people who suffer from mental illness. It is time to look after and treat our loved ones here on-island instead of sending them overseas, separated from loved ones for months and sometimes years.”

Securing planning approval for the residential unit, which can accommodate 54 patients, was relatively straightforward. Although there was one initial objection from a neighbouring farm owner, it was quickly withdrawn after it became clear that the proposed road widening for the 15-acre site off High Rock Drive would take place on crown land and not his own.

Toronto-based Montgomery Sisam Architects, which specialises in the design of mental health facilities, drew up the design plans for the facility, in conjunction with local firm DDL Studio, who presented their overall vision for the unit at the CPA hearing, outlining the key concept of rehabilitation.

“We want the people there to get involved, learn new skills and prepare them for re-integration in the community,” said Jonathan Ashton from DDL Studio. He hopes to encourage some agriculture on the fertile farmland, either growing vegetables or creating an orchard, which, if successful, could see produce being sold to the public.

The emphasis during the day at the facility will be getting the residents out of the nine cottages on the site, which can sleep up to six people, and getting them involved in activities or education and training, or making crafts for sale in the gift shop.

The biggest questions the CPA had for the architect was the potential impact of Cayman’s Doppler Radar System and the fact that a small part of the site fell inside the two exclusion zones established because of the radar activity generated. But Ashton explained that the cottages that fell in part of the zone were all 20 feet high, significantly below the 35.75-foot threshold for building in the first zone and the 45.6-foot limit in the second zone.

With the plans now set to move forward, Ashton said, “What’s great about this project is that it doesn’t exist in Cayman right now and I think it will benefit the country and the community. I think that’s why it has got the level of support that we have seen.”

See documents on mental health facility in the CNS Library

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Category: Health, Mental Health

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hurry up and build it so we can transfer some people from the short term mental health facility aka Govt Admin Building

  2. Anonymous says:

    A major achievement. Congrats to the Minister. The Courts have been asking for this facility for 15 years.

    It’s amazing how a small Ministry has over the past few years delivered us a waste management solution, cannabis oil legislation, the approval of a mental health facility and now organ transplant legislation. Now that’s great work!!

    I see so much positive change in the civil service and our elected officials. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you our wonderful CPA, our fabulous premier and the rest of the unity team. Constantly making Cayman great again.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Out in the middle of nowhere, God forbid anyone actually I don’t know, access this facility quickly other than the the tiny percentage of our population that lives out that far

    Might as well have put it on the Brac

    • Anonymous says:

      In that case it would have to be bigger.

    • Anonymous says:

      So when people complain about health city being out in the middle of nowhere everyone can agree but the Mental health facility is even farther and somehow it’s good?
      We all acknowledge the benefit of centralized healthcare facilities yet they put much needed mental health resources out of sight (and likely out of mind)
      Glad the people of Cayman are known for their reasoning skills

      • Anonymous says:

        Wait, who complained that a tourism facility (medical tourism, booked in advance) is “out in the middle of nowhere” (45 minutes from the airport they just flew at least an hour to get to)?

    • Anonymous says:

      Huh? Why is a mental facility so rush rush for you? It’s not a emergency room…

    • Anonymous says:

      its a 30 min drive for gods sake!..i would hope this is a tiny first step towards decentralisation of government services. just look at the horrendous traffic issues with so much development centered in gt.
      i will never understand with the gov admin building was put where it was. it was the exact opposite of what cayman and george town needed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Crazy idea.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Long overdue, but nine cottages and an admin building on crown land….I hope there’s some extra change from that check for $10mln. The costing math on CPA-approved public expenditures just never adds up. Dwayne Seymour needs to be asked some very obvious questions about the padding of this contract, and those locals that are directly benefiting from the miscalculation.

    • Anonymous says:

      CPA isn’t there to check the maths on the cost of building. Just that it meets regulations, e.g., Dopler Radar height restrictions. (Regs which are checked by the Dept. of Planning, etc. CPA, much as I dislike them, are just there as a public-oversight double-check in most cases, such as this one.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask Jon Jon….. what’s the point?! He’s clueless

    • Anonymous says:

      Corruption is endemic in the Cayman Islands, so don’t hold your breath for answers to your legitimate questions.

    • Anonymous says:

      you know nothing of the process and the high spec required of the buildings. unless you have a qualification in construction costing or are directly involved in the process, please keep your comments to yourself.

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