CPA green lights Dart’s tunnel extension

| 08/03/2018 | 233 Comments
Cayman News Service, tunnel Grand Cayman

The Dart tunnel on the West Bay Road

(CNS): The controversial application from a Dart-owned firm to extend the West Bay Road tunnel was approved Wednesday by the Central Planning Authority. The 400 foot structure already under construction will now be extended to include the recently acquired Royal Palms site. Planning permission was denied in November for the 170ft underpass extension because Cayman Shores Development failed to demonstrate sufficient reason to increase the structure, but they returned before the committee to justify the extension. Dart representatives also indicated future development on the tunnel could be far higher than the current plans indicate.

During the meeting it was explained that at the time of the prior application, the acquisition of the adjacent Royal Palms site had not been completed. Since Royal Palms was acquired, that site has been incorporated into the planned development, providing sufficient beachfront for a 5-star hotel on the Coral Caymanian property.

“The negotiations with Royal Palms took many years and although we always thought it was close, there was no certainty,” Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak said, as she explained why the original application for the underpass had not covered all of the now proposed 595 feet. Consideration had been given to making a joint planning application with Royal Palms, but it was determined that was not something they wished to do, she added.

Ray Howe, General Manager of DECCO projects who was also at the meeting, spoke about what will go above the tunnel in future. Howe said it could hold three storeys, if desired and approved. But speaking hypothetically, he said that with the necessary beams and supports in place, it would be possible to build even ten storeys on top of such a structure.

Meanwhile, Doak confirmed in the meeting that there are currently no firm plans in place for the top of the structure. “We want to make sure we have the appropriate time to design a truly exceptional hotel,” she said.

The National Roads Authority has stated publicly that while the superstructure of the underpass, as currently designed, can accommodate loading factors associated with low-rise buildings, as shown on Dart Realty’s Master Plan, the risks associated with buildings on top of the underpass will lie with the developer and not the NRA.

Arguing the case for the extension, the Dart officials said they would extend the agreement currently in place between Royal Palms and Island Pine Villas, which allows vehicles from Island Pine to park on their property. This was welcomed by the CPA members, some of whom expressed concern about Island Pine residents having to park on the street. Doak also stated that there were no future plans to extend the underpass any further or incorporate Kenneth Dart’s own house on Seven Mile Beach into the plans.

During the meeting pedestrian safety was also discussed. Officials said they would be protected by a raised walkway with barriers along either side of the tunnel, while elevators and stairs will be incorporated into the structure so people are not compelled to walk through the entire tunnel. The issue of alternative travel routes for oversized equipment and vehicles was also addressed, while the committee was satisfied with the planned public access routes to the sea.

In a statement after the CPA announced the approval, Dart said that it welcomed the decision.

“Dart Real Estate welcomes the Central Planning Authority’s decision to approve its application for an extension to the West Bay Road underpass,” officials said. “Dart Real Estate believes an elevated development plane spanning all of the Camana Bay oceanfront property offers the best opportunity for connectivity between Seven Mile Beach and the Town Centre.

“The objective of the extension was to enhance existing infrastructure and to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety along the north-south corridor of Grand Cayman. Dart Real Estate believes this would enhance the experience for residents and visitors, whether they are walking, cycling or driving. Dart Real Estate remains committed to Camana Bay’s growth as a true sea-to-sound community and its continued investment in the Cayman Islands,” the company added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dart is destroying the feel of this beautiful island. The buildings his company is putting up DO NOT FIT IN with the look of the island at all. The tunnels are unsightly. The whole feel of the island has changed and it’s not for the better. I guess this is just the price of “progress” Welcome to Dart island RIP Cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes, you have to let ghettos become ghettos and leave.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This part of West Bay Road is an ugly mess of nasty fast food joints, gas stations and a huge bird nest of power cables. Who is anyone trying to kid that Dart is ruining anything. ‘We’ did that a long time ago.

  4. Anonymous says:

    dart’s record speaks for itself. his developments are world class. he has been nothing but a positive influence on cayman.
    if you don’t like it, stick to shedden rd/eastern avenue…..

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is a lot like Paul Singer (Darts abettor in their vulture ventures) deciding that his home town monument, assert & tourist attraction the Statue of Liberty needs to replace the lantern with a bouquet of flowers ‘believing it would enhance the experience for residents & visitors’.

    I particularly like ‘the raised walkways with barriers with elevators and staircases’ – sounds like a maintenance access for city subway crews. Assume there will be pegs at either end to hang up the ear defenders for communal use.

    Unbelievable, and this ‘vision’ is betterment for everyone.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Never plants proper trees?….I don’t think I’ve seen a developer anywhere in the world that plants more trees and greenery than Dart except maybe Disney.

  7. Anonymous says:

    We all need new passports. Dartmanian islands British over seas territory passport.

  8. Anonymous says:

    High praise to all of the wonderful Dart staff and the beautiful projects they are doing. Also great thanks to the very thoughtful CPA members who are never swayed by all the negative comments but stick to the betterment of our islands. Praise to the honorable premier and the unity team for all they keep doing for us. Four more years!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cayman didn’t come to DART, DART came to Cayman.

    Many of you have it twisted.
    If K Dart keeled over tomorrow Cayman’s economy and future prospects wouldn’t as much as flinch.

    DART has not made and WILL NEVER “make” Cayman; instead, DART could only DESTROY what is Cayman, if allowed.

    Our natural resources (don’t play yourselves) is what created our global buzz and we were never hurting for a damn thing.

    Any claims to the contrary are baseless and vindictive.

    – Whodatis

    *Granted, I imagine many CNS posters feel “safe” within his developments and willingly pay the purported premium for the overpriced and overhyped products and services therein.
    To each their own, I guess.

    This new segregated reality is so adverse to the true spirit of Cayman, yet so many on this forum will scoff at this truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please stop all this negative comments. We must be forever grateful for all that Mr. Dart and his organization are doing for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      True, he did pick Cayman as the runner-up after being kicked out of The former British colony Belize.

      In other news, Belize is now doing great. Great jobs available there paying $650 per month on average. Murder rate is not the highest in the world, although close.

      They must be thanking their lucky stars.

      • Anonymous says:


        Meanwhile, I can vividly recall stuffing construction workmen pay envelopes for similar amounts (often more) back in the 90’s…every Friday.

        There is so much info and context missing from this discussion, yet we see so many self-professed experts on all things DART and Cayman in general.

        – Who

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you ought to write Dart a letter asking him to invest in your home country to a similar degree?

        Then you could swiftly return there from Cayman and no longer be the envy of the family and friends that you left behind.

        Win-win all around.

        (And please hold that lie of you being a Caymanian. You’re fooling no one.)

        – Who

      • Anonymous says:

        You know nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our natural resources is what created our global buzz…..nothing to do with the financial services industry then.

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess what constitutes a buzz is often relative to the ear-owner.

        I.e. Some folks are motivated by shallow forces and energy…and regularly congregate with the like-minded in safe spaces that nourish said energy…you know – on weekends and after hours.

        – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. It makes me crazy when people say shit like “where would we be without dart?” Umm I dunno… maybe right where you are now?
      Let’s stop tearing down the island to build places to sit and drink.

    • Anonymous says:

      what is cayman without DART?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummm, let’s walk through this slowly. Cayman, without DART… Cayman. Easy really. You can do it with a lot of places. Let’s try the USA. What is the USA without DART? Hmmm. The USA without DART is…. The USA. See?

        • Anonymous says:

          I for one am not from the Cayman Islands. We started coming here in the early 70s. We loved the feel of Grand Cayman. The people of the Cayman Islands were proud of their tropical paradise.I remember, in those early days, of being amazed at the civility, not only in the land and seascape but also of the civility of the Caymanians, I distinctly remember sitting at the old Royal Palms Bar, literally on the beach, next to the extinct Royal Palms Hotel, and being amazed that the radio announcer was actually announcing traffic citations and obituaries on the radio.What a great place to spend weeks with your family. Since the early 70s we have rented beach housing from the former Coral Caymanian to the Cayman Reef Resort. Over the last 4-5 years the feel of this land, 7 Mile Beach, has qualitatively changed.
          The fact that one person owns and controls so much of my favorite country gives me reason to pause. Who would allow this to happen. Let’s face it, it makes sense that soon this man will soon be able to dictate his wishes to those governing, if he has not already done so. If he hasn’t already, he needs to be congratulated. However, it is human nature to do so.Especially if this person owns most of where he lives. Only makes sense doesn’t it. ” I must look after my interests” is the thought process of the owner.
          Saying this is good for The Cayman Islands is at the very least,naive. If Dart was that interested in the Cayman Islands and its culture, he could have donated all that money to the Country, with directions for the Government to make the country better by keeping its best parts.Think about it, How might the people of Grand Cayman decided on the direction that their country should develop?

          2020 may be the last year we spend spring in Grand Cayman. I extend my wishes for a successful future and most of all I say ” thank you all for the wonderful memories”.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My guess is DART’s designs do their best to make it look, in the end, like we dug tunnels into a footbridge/promenade that was there first. That’s the best design outcome we can hope for. Especially because for all this wonderful investment, they never plant proper trees, just stick the shrubs they dug up back in the ground. All we can do is hope the end result is something we can live with.

    • Anonymous says:

      i for one do not like it, and i am usually a fan of darts building projects.

      It’s unsightly and not needed. I want my 3 lanes back. I was really looking at it the other day. How the heck are pedestrians that had a perfectly good running avenue. Going to go around that thing?
      It’s BS. if you ask me.

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