McAlpine makes first move on port project

| 17/09/2019 | 76 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cruise ship in George Town Harbour

(CNS): McAlpine, the general contractor leading the Verdant Isle Group, the winning bidder on the government’s controversial cruise project, has made an application for a coastal works licence. In its first move on the project, even though the contract with government is not yet signed, McAlpine is seeking a permit to begin bore hole testing in the seabed ahead of the actual construction.

According to notices sent out to landowners adjacent to the area in the George Town harbour where the contractor plans to begin boring, the purpose is to collect data for the engineering work ahead of the main construction work on the cruise berthing facility. The documents also state that no construction work will be performed as part of this initial application.

While government revealed in July that the McAlpine-led group was the winning bidder, not least because the only other two finalists in the cruise port bidding process failed to meet the qualifying criteria, it made it clear that no contracts had been, or would be, signed until after the referendum petition was verified.

Just two weeks ago Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell told the Chamber of Commerce that an environmental scoping report would start sometime this month, and the next steps would be the “finalising of reserve matters” with Verdant Isles, recommending the environmental process, finalising an early works agreement, developing a Caucus presentation on the contract award and submitting the contract award for Cabinet consideration.

However, last week the Elections Office confirmed that it had verified more than 5,300 signatures on the petition submitted by the Cruise Port Referendum (CPR) campaign, exceeding the trigger point of 25% of the electorate. The premier also confirmed that government would move quickly to begin the process of drafting the question and setting the date for the historic referendum.

Activists behind the campaign said that the environmental assessment board first created to evaluate this proposed project some four years ago had raised significant concerns that the geo-technical studies were not completed at the time of the 2015 environmental impact assessment, as the results could significantly inform the anticipated costs and environmental impacts of the project.

CPR told CNS that their main concerns about this project was that government has still not publicly released the design that has been selected showing numerical data to quantify the direct impact of the footprint, including dredge area, concrete area and location relative to the surrounding marine ecosystems of coral reefs, hard pan and sandy bottom habitat, and the historic shipwrecks.

“Will the public have the benefit of the geo-technical study results when they go to polls in the referendum?” the CPR asked, pointing out that the studies could significantly affect the cost of construction.

“It is imperative that the Caymanian people have the opportunity to make a fully informed decision in the referendum on the government’s proposed cruise berthing facility, and this crucial information is still not in the public domain,” the group noted.

Anyone wishing to view the coastal works application should contact Troy Jacob at the environment ministry or call 949 8469.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Read 10:59am comment. It is sobering.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve yet to meet a single person that supports this environmental disaster. Who the hell is pushing it?

  3. Anon says:

    I am seriously worried that voting on the referendum will be “influenced” as our elections always are. Most voters have enough common sense to vote against this project, but how many, particularly the poor and less educated will be “influenced”?.

  4. Anonymous says:

    On October 9, sixteen youth suing the State of Alaska for its role in contributing to climate change and claiming their due process, equal protection, and Public Trust rights have been violated will have their case argued in the Alaska Supreme Court.

    “Once these old people get out of office, not just in the State of Alaska, but also on the national level, and when the youth come up and take those position, I’m very hopeful for the future,” Sinnok said. “I’m a very optimistic person. I believe that a victory for us will start with moving through a transition to a renewable energy economy, more solar panels, more wind turbines, more micro-grids in rural Alaska so that they can be powered off renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    If it was up to me, I would make Grand Cayman reachable only by a ferry and private planes.
    I would turn Grand Cayman into an ecological preserve for rich and famous.
    It probably wouldn’t matter much for the public coffers, since tourism revenues are only 3% of total revenues, but I would make it as expensive as market would allow.
    Maintaining ecological purity would require lots of jobs. Lots of opportunities would be created for Cayman youth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great idea, but one fundamental oversight. Government does not care about the youth of Cayman unless perhaps their own progeny.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Even by the standards of the current regime, this is unreal.

    1. McAlpine have clearly been told that the petition (and will of the people) means nothing and they should proceed. They wouldn’t just undertake works like this speculatively at a cost.

    2. The Verdant Isle Group are registered in the same place as the Minister of Tourism who is actively driving this project. All the secrecy and silence makes perfect sense.

    If people were naive enough to think this project was legitimate, I hope they realize now that it stinks beyond belief.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Geologists Dr. Murray Roed and Dr Brian Jones have both authored books on the geology of the Cayman Islands. Nobody will be drilling into solid granite bedrock here. They have pointed out in each of their books how cavernous and fractured the young sedimentary rocks are (where they exist). Also well-documented, is the significant amount of calcified overburden “hardpan” in the harbour area. Well diggers like Greg McTaggart of the Consolidated Water Company can also offer insights, before the messy and expensive exploratory holes are carried out…and by whom exactly? Surely not McAlpine themselves. Last we checked, there are no auto-stabilizing drill platforms in the Cayman Islands, or crews to run them.

    CPR should seek a court injunction to prevent exploratory damage by local amateurs. Any drilling should require strict oversight, sediment mitigation, and be done in accordance with international best practice, as if this Marine Park were a Unesco reef (which it ought to be). Or better yet, no drilling at all until the winning bid documents are published.

    • Anonymous says:

      Granite…lol where is granite

      • Anonymous says:

        he said there is no granite bedrock

      • Anonymous says:

        There isn’t any, and that’s the point. All of Cayman is very geologically young, perhaps <50mln years. The harbour is mostly calcium carbonate CaC03, with a compaction of aragonite and calcite. The aragonite, formed from ancient shell and coral is the less stable of the two, and leads to formation of brittle cave structures (seen immediately adjacent either side of the target drill area). This is very weak structurally for securing dock pilings, which could lead to catastrophic failures, even after "completion" of the build phase. We get sink holes all around the island because of these unseen caverns. Nature doesn't care who paid or what it cost. Dynamiting could also potentially cleave off a whole section of the western mountain top that is GT harbour, triggering a submarine landslide and recoil tsunami. This is also an open blue water marine engineering situation, where water column, current, and winds will apply lateral torque-loads that have never been encountered on any other man-made marine structure. That is also before attaching 2x 230,000 of vessel gross tonnage with 350,000 sq ft of windage to either side of a pier torquing down on pilings to 80+ feet.

    • Anonymous says:

      What book? I am still waiting for Auntie to find out what kind of island Grand Cayman is. continental? tidal ? barrier ? oceanic ? coral ? volcanic?

      CNS: This isn’t the same question but it answers yours: See here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good bye 7 Mile Beach. Good bye coral in downtown and along seven mike. Good bye $millionaire investors who keep investing $$$ millions into these islands. Hello classy cruise shippers who each spend $100 a head !

  9. Anonymous says:

    This government will likely direct the contractor to bore a few holes through Devil’s Grotto to get ready to fill it with concrete. Once the piers ruin everything I guess you will be able to take cruise passengers on a tour of our growing ‘mountain’

  10. Anonymous says:

    A coastal works license that would never not be approved!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Moses for standing up for us CAYMANIANS you will be rewarded at the polls. Moses Kirkconell our next primere

  12. Anonymous says:

    Has Alden thought of proroguing the LA until the project is finished?

    • Anonymous says:

      He could, but unlike the UK where the Brexit has split public opinion , Proroguing the LA to push through the CBF would be the end of their political careers here.
      Every indication we have so far from the public shows widespread opposition to this project, I would be surprised if support cracks 30% of the vote when the referendum rolls around

      Not to mention its not actually an option for them, the government needs to pass the new 2 year budget before the end of the year, ipso facto, Alden couldn’t prorogue the LA even if he wanted to
      Government shutdowns are a mostly American concept in the Westminster parliamentary system a government unable (or unwilling) to pass a budget has for all intents and purposes displays they do not command a majority and thus there is no confidence

    • Anonymous says:

      Not like the LA meets that often anyway.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How low will Alden and Moses sink to make sure their agenda happens? I am appalled because it is obvious they lied to us otherwise why would McAlpine be spending their money to do this?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if this is the same company that is partnered with this project?

    They develop tidal power? Can’t we get some of that with the port project nothing like renewable energy for the island.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Building on an island that is likely to be abandoned within 50 years due to rising sea levels, not so smart.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Simple mind thinking – how can you ask for “geotechnical studies” if the bore hole and survey still need to be done. Are you not enticing the people who do not know better?

    • Anonymous says:

      Speaking of simple minded: do you think Cayman’s McAlpine Construction team (the group seeking Coastal Works License) have ANY experience with snorkels, let alone undersea coring, geotech, and best industry practice? Let’s let them loose with dynamite, right?

  17. Anonymous says:

    So what happen to the petition?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I told you all, this Port IS going to be built. You don’t think for one minute that a highly professional UK based international company like McAlpine is entering this costly procedure just “in case” the contract goes ahead do you? Who do you think is paying for this? They certainly aren’t doing it free of charge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you know how Cayman McAlpine and the British McAlpine are related? The Cayman doesn’t appear on the British website, and the Caymanian website is just one page with no real info.

    • Anon says:

      1.30am It’s never too late to try and prevent a case of proposed suicide.

      • Anonymous says:

        If their I haven’t seen the bore hole testing report and if it is not done by a reputable person/ company I will be voting no to building the port! Will anyone join me?

        • Anonymous says:

          Excuse the typos . Here it is again. ” If I haven’t seen the bore hole report and if it is not done by a reputable person/ company before the referendum is held I will be voting no to the port. WIll anyone join me?

    • Anonymous says:

      Trust me, it is not going to be built! My intuition never fails

  19. Anonymous says:

    I hope most of the MLS’s are actually paying attention to the publics mood.

    If and when the referendum fails, which is unfortunately what will happen given the onerous terms of a successful referendum in Cayman, the current politicians will have some serious backpedaling/vote buying to do if they want to remain in office. Those most closely aligned with the project such as Alden and even possibly Moses (the Brac is a strange animal) are doomed.

    Ignore the will of the people at your own peril.

    • Anonymous says:

      the MLA’s are always paying attention so to tell you want you want to hear so they can get reelected as easily as possible.

      To tell you want’s actually good for the country, is an entirely different matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      I daresay the Brackers will ALWAYS vote in Moses

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep, no changes in the Brac…as long as Moses keeps those airplanes coming and the population low, thy will keep him…ugh!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how Alden and Moses will respond to this..McAlpine is not going to spend money making this application if they have not been given the go ahead by Government.

    Alden is prepared to ram this Port down our throats whether we like it or not..This just tells us that he doesn’t give a damn what the people think..

    As soon the polls up, I will be standing outside to cast my vote to say no, and Alden not just on the referendum but on you..Can’t wait for the next election!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CPR you are all heroes

  22. Anonymous says:

    The one thing that is guaranteed is this government lie frequently and for fun it seems with zero accountability. The referendum is the only way to slow down a government that has no respect for its people who are forced to use a people’s initiated referendum to get all the information

  23. SSM345 says:

    So the contracts were signed and the project is going ahead irrespective of referendum etc. Is our Govt. looking like breach of contract again?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Verdant Isle is leading the way to secure our future! The Port has my backing 110%!!


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