EIA concerns still unfounded

| 19/09/2019 | 21 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): The Department of Environment reviewed 140 planning and ten coastal work applications in May, June and July, but did not require any developers to conduct an environmental impact assessment. Government has pointed to this element in the National Conservation Law as one of the reasons why it created a committee to review the legislation, amid fears it intends to water down the law. However, the number of projects where EIAs are required remains less than 2% of all applications.

The idea that the section in the law that allows the National Conservation Council (NCC) to require a developer to conduct an EIA on advice from the DoE is undermining development is very misleading.

The current level of development in the Cayman Islands, especially on Grand Cayman, is unprecedented and in each case the DoE is attempting to work with developers in an effort to persuade them to be more environmentally sensitive by retaining and incorporating natural habitat wherever possible, preserving important species such as mangroves on their sites, using turtle-friendly lighting, keeping to or even extending prescribed setbacks, and using green technologies.

The details of the DoE’s latest reviews of planning applications were addressed at the recent NCC general meeting, where DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie outlined the efforts the department makes to put the environment on developers’ agendas.

She explained that the DoE had recommended that the planning department not approve six of the developments it reviewed. In each case the applicants wanted set back waivers — an issue the DoE team is increasingly concerned about, given the ongoing challenge of sea level rise and climate change.

Ebanks-Petrie added that in one case where the developer was seeking a set back variance, taking a deck closer to the ocean, an existing part of the concrete deck had already been destroyed by wave impact.

“With the potential impact of climate change and sea level rise, minimum coastal setbacks should be adhered to or exceeded wherever possible,” the director stated, stressing the need for developers to give this issue more consideration.

Ebanks-Petrie was asked by Nadia Hardie, Executive Director at the National Trust, about the outcome of the applications where the DoE had made comments on the NCC’s behalf. She responded that the DoE has to wait until the minutes are published to find out whether or not their recommendations had been followed.

The council discussed the issue of notification, and the planning department’s representative agreed that she would follow up on recommendations and report back to the council members so they do not have to wait for the minutes.

The DoE also revealed in the documents presented to the council that it had advised government against the sale of a piece of crown land in East End because of its ecological value as primary habitat, and that the plot was one the NCC would want to preserve under the law.

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Category: development, Land Habitat, Local News, Science & Nature

Comments (21)

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  1. ppm Top Clown says:

    PPm top clown says the environment doesn’t count but we livin good, big wheels and big deals our foreign masters own erryting we dont need unnah fool fool wotes F#%# Cayman! More CMent more cars more roads meen less moskitoes keep unnah big mouth close before i cut off da rent check and food voucher. Kapiche!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the DoE should state on what projects the EIA’s were required. Like the major road works. A project that would benefit EVERYONE. Yet the mangroves on WB peninsula are being leveled.

    • Anonymous says:

      you still need someone (and EIA) to tell you that leveling mangroves is bad? (Form the tone of your post I think not.)

    • Anonymous says:

      You know those major roads are slated to cut the Central Mangrove Wetland in half, right?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I heard Wayne Panton is on the committee Alden created to water down the Conservation law, if that is true I will never vote for him again and I wish i could take back my vote in 2017. Wow is all I can say

    • Anonymous says:

      The NCL Review Committee has not met since June. Probably because Govt. has finally realized how silly their comments were when they said the law was hampering development. 340 approved developments in six months. Eye Roll! Just shows how none of them actually understand it. Wayne Panton, National Trust and several other relevant parties were invited on this review committee, and strenuously defended the conservation law.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is there to try to save it from being watered down

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you leave if you are so unhappy. Our Premier and the Unity team are doing a bang up job as we have a huge surplus and our economy is booming, There are loads of jobs available if a person wants to work and rich investors are flocking here like crazy. This is due to a goverment who knows how to do business; we do not need your kind of cry babies here getting in the way. Keep up the good work Honorable Premier!

    • Earth to PPM Clown, Earth to PPM Clown, Come in PPM Clown says:

      The average rent has increased 20% in the last year

      Have you gotten a 20% raise in the last year? or any significant raise in your lifetime when you take overall inflation and the cost of living into account?

      People like you are happy with crumbs I want a Cayman where Caymanians can thrive, and no I am not happy living in a country where a good portion of people barely get by and are told to simply suck it up
      The system has been designed to make sure the people at the top never have to worry while the masses are left to collect scraps

      You are quick to give praise to this government but I guarantee you couldn’t identify more than a single policy or law the PPM has put into place in their time in power that actually seeks to address any of the chronic issues in Cayman
      A government surplus means nothing to people, they are the ones who government is indirectly taking money from
      Jobs that most Caymanians cant afford to live on and rich outsiders are not a sign of a healthy economy they are the sign of an economic house of cards
      We didn’t learn our lesson from the Great Recession and now we are in the exact same position standing on the edge of another global economic downturn that will put hundreds of Caymanians out of work as the rich ride out the storm and become even wealthier

      Cayman will never make progress while charlatans like this Unity government are in power claiming transparency and accountability while hiding in closed door meetings figuring out how to best work for the donor class
      People like you are dumb enough to go along with their drivel and you deserve what is coming

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry my dear friend but that is how the world works now a days – the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We now have a society of the have’s and the have not’s and it will only get worse going forward. Big brother only pays attention to the ones who it benefits them the most to associate with; the rest well can just fall by the wayside. Nobody loves you when you are down and out!

      • Anonymous says:

        Here is a good idea that can benefit everyone;
        1) goverment build tenement style housing in a separate area away from high dollar real estate and then move all the lower pay scale common workers and work permit holders and subsidy there rent; perhaps have a grocery store near in the neighborhood along with a clinic and buses to transport them back & forth to their jobs. That way do not have to take goverment funds to find them rental housing. Set up schools for these people as well so they all stay together.
        2) have set up areas/neighborhoods in some other areas of lower value real estate for standard housing for workers who make some more salary than the low wage earners and then goverment can make sure the costs are not too high so they can properly afford.
        3) take all high dollar/valuable real estate and only allow that for the richer folks who have the ultra good jobs. That way they will pay a lot and all be among like level people and they won’t have to worry about any lower class people bothering them. Remember these high net worth individuals are the ones that pay the most.

        We have to separate the classes and keep everyone where they can afford to live , it will make for a better and happier society and we can continue to prosper.

    • Anonymous says:

      Instead of telling people “Why don’t you leave ” why can’t you just accept there are major issues in this country? Why can’t you just work alongside us to fix it instead of telling us to buck the system and leave?
      Do you enjoy your privilege so much, any change is not okay with you?
      Instead of telling us to leave this place why don’t you get the hell out so the country we’re trying to change will benefit from your leaving?
      We’re dedicated to changing — not just this country — but this world for the better.
      So pack your own bags first.

      • Anonymous says:

        You cry babies just want to start trouble for our great leaders. Cayman is in great shape, you want money all you have to do is work for it. Things are great! Once the port gets going there will be loads more jobs for locals. Premier Alden & the Unity team are the best goverment we ever had.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s spend that surplus on a decent mental health facility. Fix some of our roads. The stretch from Locale to Loan Star looks like it’s been done by an army of one-armed blind men. Pay some overtime to our garbage collectors and clean up the pig sty that is Harbor Drive to Kirks.

      • Anonymous says:

        CIG, having had 10 years to budget and plan to payoff the International bond coming due this November, have failed to budget to repay the principal and interest and are frantically looking for proposals to borrow a further $153mln to be paid back over 15 years. Our declared debt stands at >$400mln, and there are perhaps >$1Bln in unfunded liabilities that this government refuses to acknowledge. So, we should assume there is no spending money. Any short term budgetary surplus is already fully allocated and spent, and we are still $153mln shy of where we needed to be, even with 10 years to make it happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes get that mental health facility ready for all the people who feel that our Unity Government have messed them all up!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t leave. FIX THE DUMP.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realise that you are supporting the headline with your statement – with all of this booming economy, your Unity Govt claims of EIAs hampering development are not true

    • Anonymous says:

      7:49, You must be a developer or great friends of developers feeding at the trough with your response.

      People like you make me sick. Take, take, take but put nothing back.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Free market capitalism run amok

    The government intervenes on behalf of businesses and the rich the second they even have the potential to be inconvenienced but working class Caymanians struggle to even find their MLAs

    We don’t get closed door meetings with ministers, or preferentially treatment when it comes to policy making, the LA is barely even in session, everything is done in Cabinet, or within the ministries. MLAs seem to have forgotten the words that make up that acronym

    Cayman is run by and for the almighty dollar and its why these islands are going to shit

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