NCC presses on with land protection

| 01/03/2019 | 12 Comments
Cayman News Service

Sand Cay (Photo from DoE Facebook page)

(CNS): The National Conservation Council has recommended another ten environmentally important sites, nominated by the community, be protected under the conservation law, following a public consultation period. The ten sites cover all three islands and include a diversity of natural habitats, from wetlands to primaeval forest. Following Wednesday’s meeting, the council voted to present the sites to Cabinet before work begins on acquiring the parcels of land not owned by the crown. With over 100 responses, most from residents, officials from the Department of Environment said the survey results continue to show wide support in the community for conservation.

The land which the NCC is seeking to acquire covers a section of the Central Mangrove Wetlands and the Western Mangrove Cays, a two-acre strip of the Lower Valley Forest, more land in the Salina Reserve and Sand Cay on Grand Cayman, additional parcels of land at the Eastern Lighthouse Park, Hemmington Forest in Cayman Brac, and Tarpon Lake as well as land in the east interior on Little Cayman.

Those that took part in the consultation largely gave their support to these specific proposals for preservation, with all the landowners also backing the nominations. The only parcel that raised any objections was the Lower Valley forest parcel. This was opposed by handful of adjacent landowners who believed that protecting the land would prevent them from developing it in the forest area, which covers as much as 40 acres.

DoE Terrestrial Resources Unit Manager Fred Burton explained to the council that the handful of objectors’ rights to develop their own land would not be effected because the type of development that would be allowed in the area would not have any impact on the protected area.

Burton explained that people had opposed the nomination due to misguided perceptions rather than logical reasons, but the landowner himself wanted to sell and was keen to see the small parcel of forest preserved. Burton said that, given how little primaeval forest remains on Grand Cayman, the council should seize the opportunity to protect it.

But the new NCC chairperson, McFarlane Conolly, questioned whether moving on this plot when people had objected would further damage the already negative reputation the council has in some quarters of the community.

Conolly implied that the council should be considering conservation issues based on the criticisms of the community, which is not what the law requires. The wider council, however, was in support of the nomination, recognising the landowner’s desire to sell, the need to protect this type of rare habitat and the misconceptions of the objectors. The small plot of forest therefore remained on the list of sites forwarded to Cabinet, which will make the final decision on all ten nominations.

In the last few years the NCC has made huge strides in protecting important habitat and is continuing the incremental piecemeal approach to buying more land for conservation with wide public support. Around 3,500 acres of land in the Cayman Islands is now protected in law as a result of the council’s work.

Officials at the DoE have said they will be seeking another $10 million in the next budget cycle in order to press ahead with further purchases.

For the full details of the proposed ten sites see the NCC meeting agenda here

Tags: , , ,

Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (12)

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  1. CayGuy says:

    While I applaud the efforts of what’s being done, it’s a bit of joke. Why not done 30 years ago?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Protected until Dart or some other money developer goes to see the Unity Team, then its time to tear it up!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    “Conservation isusse based on the circumstances of the wider community”. How did this person get appointed to this position? You are there for the protection of the environment not what the potential developers want. Get conally out of there, this is a joke. Conflict of interest?

    Protecting development rights?

    Not what the ncc needs

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Who owns Sand Cay now?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Poor souls wasting their time

    Can’t they tell Alden Mckeeva and Company don’t give a rats ass about the environment

    The council is about to be castrated and just like the National Security Council they will only be convened as a talk shop
    Wayne Panton and his financial contributions to the PPM were the only thing that made them toe the line
    After he lost reelection to Anthony Eden’s bigoted apprentice all of those policies went out of the window

    Cayman is now up for sale to the highest bidder

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Do anyone know if Government has purchased bluff land on the Brac known as Hayman Pond ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not according to http://doe.ky/terrestrial/protected-areas/. Brac just lists Eastern Lighthouse Park & Hemmington Forest. Though I think they’ve only managed to buy parts of both of these so far judging by the CNS article. “The land which the NCC is seeking to acquire covers … additional parcels of land at the Eastern Lighthouse Park, Hemmington Forest in Cayman Brac”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Better check up on that Ironwood forest…..

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Salt creek

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