Bar owner seeks removal of Barkers turtle grass

| 14/11/2018 | 157 Comments
Barkers National Park, Cayman News Service

Coastal works application (click to enlarge)

(CNS): In anticipation of moving to the Barkers National Park area, on Dart-owned property there, the owner of Calico Jacks Bar & Grill has made a coastal works application to build a 300-foot beachfront dock and to remove almost 180,000 square feet — more than four acres — of turtle grass from one of the last remaining pieces of natural coastline in West Bay. The application was published in the notices section of the local print press last week and has already caused a massive stir on social media. It has also triggered a petition which had been signed by over 1,130 people by Wednesday afternoon. 

The popular beach bar has been located in the heart of Seven Mile Beach for some 15 years but the lease expires in 2020. The current landlord is one of Dart’s network of companies and the developer has plans to incorporate the current Calico site along with the former Tiki Beach location into the Kimpton resort.

It is understood that Handel Whittaker, the owner of the bar and the holding company, Adventure in Taste Ltd, has been offered a replacement lease on land owned by Dart in the Barkers area, where Whittaker has said he has plans to create an expanded resort-like version of Calico Jack’s to attract cruise passengers as well as other tourists and locals.

However, the proposed site is located on an unspoiled and so far entirely undeveloped area of the Barkers coastline, which remains in its natural state.

Cayman News Service

Barkers National Park coastline

The application by Whittaker is seeking to remove 179,775 square feet of turtle grass from the immediate coastline and install a coastal dock of around 300 feet to accommodate the proposed expanded beach bar, swimming area and day resort area.

The location is part of a marine park and a significant replenishment zone. It has been protected since 1986, not least because of the turtle grass that sustains an array of marine life in the area, as well as turtles that nest on the beach where the resort is being proposed.

The removal of turtle grass in the past has led to considerable sand loss, and the petitioners point to the Bodden Town public beach, where the removal there of the natural turtle grass resulted in the loss of more than 40 feet of beach.

CNS has contacted the Department of Environment about the issue, but officials said that because of the coastal works application process, they are not permitted to comment on it until they have completed their review and submitted their findings to the National Conservation Council and Cabinet.

According to the details of the application, which is being handled by the Ministry of Health and Environment (and not, as indicated in the advert, the Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment, which no longer exists since the post-election reshuffle of portfolios) the public can submit comments up to 29 November in writing to Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn at the Government Administration Building in Elgin Avenue, George Town.

See the petition here

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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (157)

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  1. Steve Schlegel says:

    Don’t need to be anonymous to oppose the development of a bar and pier on essentially national park land that happens to be owned by a billionaire who doesn’t need the income from another bar lease. Sounds like long term damage for no particular good except for the owner of the leasehold. He can run a bar elsewhere as far as I am concerned.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People citing lack of SMB locations for Cruise passengers….hmm, lets’ see….Royal Palms, bought by Dart, closing to Cruise Passengers…..Hyatt/Beach Suites, bought by Dart, closed to Cruise Passengers….Calico Jacks, area bought by Dart, closing to Cruise passengers….Tiki Beach, bought by Dart, closed to cruise passengers…..i’m not the sharpest tool in the box, but i think i see a pattern and a suspect….i wonder if the same group own any 2nd-rate lands around the Island they could send the passengers to? Oh, guess what!

    It’s a scandal, and nothing will be done

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  3. Anonymous says:

    What will our children do when all possible blocks and parcels have been sold, the bush and the swamps cleared, drained and filled with homes and condos with outrageous price tags. Where our parents played as children in the sand on beaches now covered by concrete or walled off and the last few remaining plots of undeveloped beach is packed to intolerable levels were locals compete with tourists and ourselves for a few square feet of sand to enjoy.

    What will they do when available housing is practically non-existent and people scramble and go into bidding wars when a home becomes available at an already ridiculous price, sold by foreigners who bought them originally from us because of our love of the foreign dollar.

    Can you imagine a place where children marry are are forced to live with parents because there is quite literally nowhere to live? It’s laughable, but it’s coming.

    Can you imagine a Cayman where our children and grand children are born, raised and schooled (hopefully properly) and then who’s only option is to get their British passport and immigrate because that is their only option for a decent life of the only choice if they wish to own anything?

    Cayman is a 100 square miles give or take. It’s not Hawaii where new land is constantly being belched up from the volcanos. We have a finite amount of land that we can make livable. What will our children do when it is used up? When people like Dart can come in and buy it up and create their own little kingdoms.

    Maybe that is the best thing. Those remaining Caymanians with land can sell and have enough money to start over elsewhere once our elders are dead and gone because it would take death to get the land titles out of their hands.

    The people of the Cayman Islands and it’s Government have sold and is selling piece by piece, parcel by parcel, these islands out from under ourselves for the foreign dollar.

    I am 45 years old and the only land I now own is the house I live in, I had 3 other acres split between two pieces of land and both were compulsory bought by the CIG to make way for two new highways years. Land I was going to have for my two sons to build their homes and lives on but no more.

    I pose this question. To all Caymanians with a conscience and who still have a love for what is left that is Caymanian and a bitter taste for what was Caymanian and no longer is. There will come a time, a crunch so to speak, when the last parcels are being prepared for concrete, when the price of raw land cost more than a house and the price of a built house is more than a king’s randson. I ask you, what will your children do? What will you do when they look at you and ask you why can’t buy a house or worse yet, when they ask why did this happen and who let it?

    Cayman? We cannot blame the foreigners, they come with their money and their own hopes and dreams. We could have put our feet down and said no but we didn’t. Regulations should have been passed, enacted and enforced to protect the people of the islands but it wasn’t, we didn’t make it happen. We allowed and continue to allow a corrupt and inept government to railroad us all. A government who spends more time globe trotting, prostituting Cayman and soliciting for foreign investment that they have become so far out of touch with the reality of Cayman it is no longer a laughing matter.

    They believe that they are above not only us but the law. Laws like the Standards for Public Life are callously thrown to the wayside either out of ignorance or out of fear as what would be found. They constantly throw other matters in front of us to makes us live in fear and to polarize our thinking to hide what they doing no longer behind our backs but hidden in plain sight. They place us on a global pedistal as a shining beacon of prosperity yet they cannot build proper schools and properly or refuse to properly educate our children or even pick up garbage.

    A government so wrapped up in their own inflated feeling of self worth that they openly insult those who come to watch over us and nothing is said or done by those who should have said and done something.

    Maybe a revolution is needed to clean out the decrepit and stagnate leadership. Maybe a revolution for change is needed to preserve what remains Caymanian and to take back what was Caymanian. Maybe toes needs to stepped on and feelings hurt. Maybe heads in clouds need to come back down to earth or be removed but i ask you, one Caymanian to another… How much more can we take? When will enough be enough? And more importantly, what will your children and grand children do?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is gone to the dogs I feel ashamed to call myself a caymanian this government will allow dart to do anything in this country as long is their getting their pocket line with money disgraceful politicians just taking every little thing from the caymanians where will the people go to camp for easter on this island soon dart will own everything on this island. I wish the government will kick him off this island like the other Caribbean island’s but they don’t have no back bone they all about the money no matter the cost worthless government!!!!!!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bush made Ken Dart & a lot of his employees Caymanian in his status give away.
      Most of the land had already been purchased by Dart by then.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    How about you all put your money where your anonymous mouths are and make an offer on the property?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Removal of Barkers turtle grass… this Government must remove Dart and all these companies that he is behind. Start the culling please we need more than the green iguanas GONE now.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    What is going on in this country?
    Why everyone is hiding behind “anonymous”? What they are afraid of? Who they are afraid of? Why there’s no law enforcement?
    Is this country run by Mafia? Saddam Hussein? Kim Jon-un?
    Why such a small group of people so frightened to openly express their minds?

    I remember
    what happened when compass had written an editorial on corruption! I believe Mr.Legge didn’t leave the country without good reason.

    Who is that mysterious person (s) who keeps the entire population of the country in fear?

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