Plans unveiled for GT port

| 16/10/2019 | 61 Comments
Cayman News Servivce

(CNS): The government has unveiled the latest plans for the proposed George Town cruise dock from the bidders selected to design, build and maintain the facility. The government claims that the dredging area has been significantly reduced in these new designs, which would result in less damage. But the direct dredging impact on coral has only been reduced by around 10% and the work still poses an indirect threat to the reefs all the way to Eden Rock.

The plans have been posted on the government’s port project website here because Verdant Isle, the consortium of cruise lines and developers that was selected to build the port, has not yet finished their website.

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the leading spokesperson for the group, said in a press release that it had been working on the “continual improvement” on the plans that it had submitted during the bid, as he pointed to the designs being part of that process.

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“Since the announcement of Verdant Isle as preferred bidder we have been working with the Cayman Islands Government, and in particular the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands, to adjust and refine our submitted plans to better fit their specific requirements,” Bayley stated.

The plans show an increase of over 5% in the total cruise facility and a 27% increase in the cargo area when compared to the plans drawn up by Baird when government was setting out its business case for this project.

The developers claim this proposal cuts the marine excavation volume by 31.3% and reduces the footprint by 11.3% and say there will now be no direct excavation on the South Side of the dock. The developers also said that there would be no dumping into the sea of materials from the excavation for the upland reclamation and the piers have been narrowed from 25 metres to 22.

Premier Alden McLaughlin claimed that the environmental impact would be reduced with this new design that the public could now see. “The government has listened to the concerns of the public and have put the piers into deeper water and chosen a cargo option that also minimises the dredging,” he said in the release about the plans being published.

“The process has taken as long as was needed to ensure we arrived at a project that secures the future of the Cayman Islands cruise tourism industry and protects the well-being of the thousands of Caymanians who benefit directly or indirectly from cruise tourism as well as minimise the environmental impact,” he said.

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said that government was confident the project would deliver long-term benefits for the country, including providing a much-needed increase of about 30% in usable working area for the cargo port that will make it available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“This improves our current situation where large sections of the cargo yard have to be cleared every night to allow for buses for the cruise tours. We are also confident that the financial arrangement delivers the best overall deal for the country,” he stated.

Verdant Isle said it is now in the process of submitting to the Department of Environment an environmental impact assessment scoping update to the EIA which compares the previous 2015 Baird drawings to these plans. This will see the DoE, which was pushed off the steering committee, returned to the process.

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie has made it clear that the Environmental Protection Board, which falls within her department, will be expecting to see a new environmental impact assessment, which will include a public consultation process.

Verdant Isle said the scoping will be undertaken by professional consultants subcontracted through Schneider Engineering, including Baird & Associates, the consultants who were paid to do the original EIA in 2015, as well as coral relocation experts, Polaris.

Verdant Isle had said they were extremely confident that Polaris would be able to move the threatened reefs before telling UK newspaper, The Telegraph, that the relocation efforts would never truly mitigate the impact. International dredging contractor, Van Oord, may also be involved in this exercise, the developers said.

Although the Port Authority is at the centre of this proposed project, it has not been a large player in the process so far, something that Public Accounts Committee Chair Ezzard Miller has voiced his concerns over.

And while the port management has appeared to be out of the loop on the project itself, if the project goes ahead, the authority would remain responsible for operating and managing the cruise and cargo facility, which includes cargo operations, customs, immigration, passenger cruise operations, berthing fees, preferences and the number of ships, and retail operations.

Commenting on the new plans, Acting Port Director Joseph Wood said the upgraded and expanded cargo would allow PACI to handle any future growth in the volume of cargo.

“The addition of a longer and wider pier makes it possible for the Port Authority to upgrade its cargo handling equipment to serve larger cargo vessels more efficiently,” he said, adding that the new design “also makes it possible to handle more than the two ships simultaneously”.

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Comments (61)

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  1. JJ says:

    I’m not sure why it’s so difficult for these news services to post the link to the port plans. It’s as if they don’t want people to go check it out for themselves.

    CNS: Stop jumping to conclusions. When we posted the article, the Verdant Isle website was still under construction – as it says in the article. It appears it has now come on line.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I challenge anyone to prove that corruption is the driving force behind this port project. To suggest otherwise is simply unfair to our government and hard working politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we could prove it we wouldn’t be where we are now. But it does offer itself as an obvious explanation when:

      i) the benefits of the project are highly questionable (at the very least, they are in no way certain to materialise, anything could end the cruise industry tomorrow)

      ii) the problems and costs financial environmental and social are known and serious

      iii) the objections of at least 25% of voters are loud and clear

      iv) the government is going ahead anyway in spite of all that

      v) the coalition pushing this includes McKeeva who has been known to say “if you can’t make a million dollars as an MLA you never will”

      vi) the coalition pushing this includes Moses whose family stands to gain personally and is rumoured to bankroll his political career

      vii) statements by the government have been proven false by the mere passage of time

      viii) the government pushing this refuses to implement transparency legislation

      ix) the government appears to be so desperate to do this that you would think their families were being held hostage

      x) Cayman seems to be following a Master Plan designed by governments from 2005 to now, DART, and the Lodge, which we never get to see, so no matter how much information they reveal, we know it’s never the truth or the whole truth

      That leaves a whole lot of room and reason to be scratching each other’s backs and we know what temptation does to men in power. So why don’t you prove the driving force is not corruption? You couldn’t. That’s the point. It’s all a mystery to the public. And unfortunately the constant appearance and suggestion of corruption is almost as bad as the real thing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who is behind this new Port Fact checker website? It looked quite slick until you went in and realised it was only half finished. But some money being spent…why do I suspect CIG? Their behaviour in this resonates like Trump and Johnson, driving a public money fueled coach and horses attempt to promote a project of absolutely XXXX all added value to Cayman….why would you bother unless someone has interests. Same as brexit…just for certain peoples benefit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Definitely a pro port site by the looks of it
      Just going to be pushing CIG talking points as “unbiased facts”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh lord. the developers all looking for money in their pockets. they will tell us any lie to get that YES vote; poor cayman; nobody cares for it. The love of money is the root of all evil, and the root big around this deal.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the government realises that they have been caught in a lie. The ads for the project says there will be no dredging but in this article they are say the dredging will be reduced! #2021

    • Anonymous says:

      To 12.37PM Did they say no dredging at all or did they say no dredging in a particular location?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Seems like a much smaller dredging and a lot farther from Eden Rock, win for Save Cayman right!?!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Bye bye Eden Rock. It was nice diving with you.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Declare national emergency, implement “21century waste management” tax, hire experts. Do something!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Contact Prince Charles!! He values the environment and the protection of it. We need help with these dinosaurs .

  9. Anonymous says:

    Government are in for a big shock on December 19! Everyone is going to vote NO and shut this crap down! Then can the Unity government be held accountable and reimburse us the 300K they wasted on their propaganda campaign??

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yet aunt sookie and her side kick keep saying there will be no dredging

  11. Anonymous says:

    My gosh, it’s massive isn’t it? Why do this? Especially in what is still a relatively quaint harbour. I’ll vote no. We lost SMB and the views from and of, to multiple developers and eventually Dart and his outrageous land grabs for zero trickle down gain that i’ve seen; now we risk losing the harbour and all beneath her for what? to increase arrivals from near 2 million to 2.5 million? why? utter nonsense, and it stinks. the ships are still coming with or without a port. if you dont like the calibre of passenger, change your business model, not the Island.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing cig’s faces when Caymanians finally stand up to them and say enough is f*cking enough! Pardon my language.. SAY NO TO THE PORT!

    • Anonymous says:

      9.29am No pardon for your filthy language. Just plain rude. When you are speaking it is not possible to unsay something once you,ve said it; no such excuse when you are typing..just read over and hit delete before you hit send

  13. Anonymous says:

    One can only wonder what Alden and Moses are thinking of in this horribly managed process. The referendum question mentions something about an enhanced cargo port, where is it? Given the 20 years the government has been working on this cruise port is this all we have to be shown?
    I don’t think this government can fix the dump unless they give the project to Dart and they are too proud to do that and I predict this enhanced cargo port will be a bust along with the cruise ship port and 7 mile beach.

  14. South Sounder says:

    It would be transparent to highlight the reefs and historic shipwrecks within the dredge pit on the drawing.

    Does anyone know if this would be the largest ‘re-location’ project of it’s kind every contemplated by man?

    Really, what type of “iconic tower“ or in relative terms “burning Amazon”are we contemplating to put ourselves on the map— being the world’s worst global destructor of one of natures most precious assets is definitely NOT it.

    Responsible tourism is already gathering momentum- don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Bye bye Eden Rock. It was nice diving with you 😕

  16. Anonymous says:

    If not a draft design proposal, and associated discussion, what did Verdant Isle actually submit in their winning bid document??? Where is that document, and the others?

    • Anonymous says:

      As the new draft is smaller I would think this would reduce the overall cost.

      Can anybody confirm the price reduction?

    • Anonymous says:

      You will never get the commercially sensitive data you seek. You’ve been told this over and over. Keep wasting your time trying or file with the courts if have money to burn.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I love that government is putting the environment first… The website answers all your questions right here:

    Your questions about the environmental aspects of the cruise berthing facility answered.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does it answer the question, “For the love of God, why?”

      • Anonymous says:

        Is there a section on who has self interests? Does it disclose the tourism ministers interest in the shops in George Town? Or Dart’s?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think I am missing something. The drawings clearly appear to show new retail space despite this cut and pasted copy direct from the government website:

    Does the Cayman Islands proposed CBF include additional upland retail development?
    No. Government has been clear from the beginning that under no circumstances would there be any additional retail upland development. George Town is our upland retail development which means the money cruise passengers spend on shore will continue to circulate in our economy and provide maximum benefit to Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you were paying attention the new space replaces the existing retail space with equivalent square footage.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Am I missing something? The drawings clearly appear to show new retail space and “upland development” but the government website states (cut and pasted, by the way, for no errors…):

  20. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump.

  21. Anonymous says:

    More pretty pictures…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Vote NO!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is the ONLY WAY TO GO@

    • Anonymous says:

      I am looking forward to reading the new environmental assessment of the new plan from Baird. I will then make my final decision on how I will vote.

      If Eden Rock is going to be damaged I will be voting NO. For many years I have enjoyed both diving and snorkeling at Eden Rock. The place is a gem.

      • Anonymous says:

        or burger king reef for that matter.

      • Anonymous says:

        Eden Rock is finished if this goes ahead! Destroying what the tourists come to see! There are beautiful reefs to the north of the harbor that will be killed as well. VOTE NO!

        • Anonymous says:

          my dear. none of the people including CIG care for the reefs, or the coral, or the beautiful marine life that is out there. The people involved in this travesty, every single one of them, all looking out for themselves and what they can get from this. Everybody anxiously waiting for a big pay day. VOTE NO!!

      • Anonymous says:

        You can vote yes now then! This dredge are moved really far from Eden

      • Anonymous says:

        The new EIA and the Geotechnical study likely won’t be out in time for the Dec vote

        All part of the CIG’s plans to limit information because they know the more people see the worse it all looks

  23. Anonymous says:

    Don’t care. Come voting time i’m putting a big X by no for this dumb project.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also my family and I.

      There is no need for this destruction and cost.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can come election time in 2021, I’m putting a big X next to the name of someone who is running against the PPM/Unity Team government.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is time for us to send the PPM home. We have had enough. After this referendum may I suggest we start a petition to call for early elections.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s hope you vote for candidates that serve the people’s interest with integrity and accountability. Not some dimwit that wants to fill their pockets first.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hey CNS can you post the web link.

    CNS: I have fixed the link in the second paragraph. Sorry about that.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to seeing Baird’s new environmental assessment. That report will determine how I vote.

  26. Anonymous says:

    more pretty pictures…Lord, what next?…I hear that they going after Adrien Briggs because he gave CPR some money to help with their advertising..What amazes me if that Alden spends our money like it is growing on trees for the ProPort Advertising..That’s like the kettle calling the kettle black..

    • Bertie : B says:

      The pot black , although I am with you , that’s just the way I used to hear the old folks say it , Also don’t have a pot to piss in , or a window to throw it out .

  27. Skin Diver says:

    Have the geotechnical surveys been done? That is a huge part of the plan which will impact the price of the project.

    • Anonymous says:

      Surveys? We don’t need no stinkin’ surveys!

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope not yet completed and not likely to be done before the vote

      More information that the government doesn’t want coming out prior to the vote probably

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