CPA rejects chicken farm’s changed site

| 06/11/2018 | 4 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Plans to open a commercial chicken farm in East End have been rejected by the Central Planning Authority after dozens of residents objected to the project, which could have resulted in as many 10,000 laying hens housed in large barns. Toepaz, the company that made the application, was granted planning permission back in May for another site in the district, but that was close to the East End water lens, which raised concerns from the Water Authority and the Department of Agriculture. In the new application the company said it had decided to relocate and had purchased a new site off Sunnyfield Road, well away from the lens.

At the 31 October meeting the CPA approved the first application on condition that the farm address the concerns about the water lens. However, the new application was turned down, even though the new site is much further away from the fresh water source. While the Water Authority and the DoA were less concerned about this new site, the Department of Environment remained worried about the impact on the blue iguanas that now inhabit that area.

So far, the board has not detailed publicly the reasons for its refusal but the new location is much closer to residential and tourist areas.

The potential noise, smell and environmental impact the farm would have on the neighbourhood were some of the objections filed with the CPA in writing and presented in person at the meeting by several of the many objectors. There were concerns that, despite the site being zoned for agriculture, this chicken farm would be a more intense project than other local farms in an area that is increasingly popular with tourists.

The DoE also pointed out that the parcel’s primary land cover is undisturbed dry forest and shrubland, inhabited by the indigenous blue iguanas, which is a protected species, and clearing the land would put the iconic creatures at risk. The department also noted its concerns about the potential for 10,000 chickens to escape in the event of a storm, adding to an already high quantity of feral chickens throughout the Cayman Islands.

“The current site is close to the Colliers Wilderness Reserve, where an invasive escaped chicken population would be extremely destructive to the natural ecosystem. Whilst we note that the submissions state that structures will be hurricane resilient, concerns remain regarding the integrity of the chicken coop,” the DoE stated.

Toepaz argued that the project would be good for Cayman, which currently imports around 70% of the eggs consumed here. They said the new location is a 10.7-acre site, five times larger than the previous parcel and more suitable for the establishment of farming operations.

“The buildings will be strategically located in the middle of the property to avoid any potential negative impact to the neighbouring properties,” the company said. “Clearing of vegetation will be limited to the areas where the building and infrastructure will be located”, protecting the surrounding area from impact. Refuting the grounds for the objections, Toepaz said they did not provide “any evidence to support their assertions” and that the company plans to comply with the law.

Despite this refusal, the original conditional grant of planning permission on the site proposed in May stands.

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Category: Agriculture, Business

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And we wail that there are no jobs. We bemoan the lack of agriculture. We complain about food prices. But pity the guy trying to start an egg farm, he is cast as a horrible despoiler of the environment. BTW chicken poop is an excellent fertilizer, something that is extremely expensive to buy here.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You go put it in your backyard then. Everyone objecting to this chicken farm has good reason to object and planning agreed. It is not all about money, once the ground water is contaminated no amount of money can change that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are already local farms that sell eggs. I’m good with them and I don’t want a factory with lousy conditions and non organic eggs.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Why would planning department even grand permission in the first place. I cannot believe that after all these years they are still working in isolation. Didn’t it dawn on them that it would be a good idea to liaise with The Water Authority when considering a chicken farm in that area? Didn’t they know that the water lenses in the East End area are very close to the surface? It’s like the right hand don’t know and don’t care what the left hand is doing!

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