Beach access issues not ‘clear cut’

| 13/01/2020 | 51 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): The historic lack of enforcement of registered beach access points around Cayman has thrown up some challenges for the Public Lands Commission (PLC), which is attempting to get all of the registered points cleared. Responding to CNS’ enquiries about the latest problem on North West Point Road, the commission’s chief inspector, Winsome Prendergast, said that things were not always as clear cut as they might seem.

Residents in West Bay have recently been raising concerns on social media and phone-in radio shows, and have also contacted CNS about the wall around a new condo development in the district, which appears to have blocked a registered right of way.

However, the commission has said that it is not the wall that is blocking the pathway. The problem lies with a small pump-house on the existing Brittany Cove Condo complex, which has been there for many years, as well as another wall at the rear of that premises.

However, before the new condo development started last year the public was still able to access the beach there because the lot was largely empty and people could walk around the pump house and the wall.

But after the developers of the new condo complex erected a wall on their land, the problem of the pump-house and sea wall have come to the fore. The commission said it was in dialogue with the landowners about the problem this now presents.

“The blockage is on the existing condo side, where there is a small pump-house blocking the access followed by a wall at the rear of the premises,” explained Prendergast. “The shrubbery is immaterial at this point. The Public Lands Inspectorate is in dialogue with the property owners to clear the blockage. However, the matter is not as clear cut as it appears.”

She said that while a government report published in 2018 identified hundreds of access points, it “does not automatically mean” they would be cleared immediately.

“It is, however, important to let the public be aware where these registered access are, taking into consideration that the majority of these registered accesses have been blocked for many years without any enforcement,” Prendergast added. “We are working to get all landowners with blocked registered beach accesses over their properties onboard with the current exercise to clear these accesses.”

The battle to get to the beach has stirred up very strong feelings in the community because in the last few years it seems landowners are doing everything they can to prevent people using pathways to get to the beach or shoreline. And with more and more development on the oceanfront, there is a real fear that Caymanians are about to be completely blocked from their own beaches.

A group of concerned citizens are seeking a judicial review to get more traditional access points formally registered after the land registrar refused their request. But getting them registered is only the beginning. In some cases landowners are challenging the legality and in others there a physical structures in the way that cannot be easily removed or relocated.

Landowners often dodge their obligation to provide access points and others have managed to negotiate those obligations away. While many Caymanians talk of the times when there was no need to enforce these things because landowners were not in the habit of trying to block people’s access, over the last decade the situation has changed dramatically and many beachfront property owners are going out of their way to deny public access.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I visited Cayman at the end of last time, my first time back to the island in over a decade. I was looking forward to walking along the length of Seven Mile beach like I used all those years ago. It provided an opportunity to meditate, appreciate God’s mighty work in and enjoy a bit of paradise. I was most disappointed that when I finally managed to access the beach front, it was a treacherous walk with all the buildings and works. I had to abandon it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why as a Caymanian do I want to sit in front of people enjoying a beach where I have to bring my chair, umbrella, ice, rum and cola. Where is my public beach? Well it’s been taken away that is why I want to use private beach access. It will come to pass that the problem will join us there. We need proper public beaches like near the government house. We need it with a bar and a restaurant. We need one that we can rent chairs and umbrellas. I have never sat in front of a condo in my life unless I was invited and they had a chair for my butt and and umbrella or a shade tree. Take all the beach accesses and add them up and place them in one spot on 7 mile beach. We could have 200 feet as a beach where I don’t have to kiss someones #$%^ to sit on a beach with a rum punch or a red stripe. In the shade and make it belong to the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. While I am sympathetic to the beach access issue, the fact is Cayman has more beach access points than anyplace I have been in the world. What I can’t understand is why you allow the s**t show at Public Beach to continue? I walked by Public Beach this morning and despite the fact that I gave no indication that I wanted anything, I was accosted by no fewer than four hawkers. If I had wanted to put down my own chair or towel I would have had to sit in the parking lot. If you would devote half the effort you are expending over the access issue to demanding a return of Public Beach to the Public you would be much further ahead.

      • Anonymous says:

        Public Beach is now recreating the Jamaica experience in Cayman. Nobody seems to care about that.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:56, Problem is that if one is a visitor here it is hard to know where the beach access points are. For someone like yourself that has been here for some time, you know like a local where the beach access points are located.

        Having said that, totally agree with you that the hawkers are becoming a real pain in the ass on Seven Mile Beach. Afraid we are going the way of Jamaican beaches.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good idea. We can just move all the existing buildings along seven mile just a little bit each to accommodate this well thought out plan

  3. Anonymous says:

    Winsome, might it be more clear cut if the civil servants responsible enforced the law?

    • John smith says:

      There certainly needs to be protected public beach access sites, BUT review of the published map site bears reasonable review. There are sites every 200 yards! This is excessive. Beachfront landowners pay high prices for their properties and a reasonable distribution of public access sites is to be expected. Truthfully most people would rather not have a public access on their land because, unfortunately, there is some degree of noise, illicit drug use, vandalism, burglary, and littering associated with these access points. The government needs to reevaluate the current map and revise it to ensure a balance between public access and private landowners rights.

      • Anonymous says:

        The public’s right are absolute and cannot be interfered with. They also long pre-date any landowners rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      But if there is no political will from the political masters civil servants cannot enforce the law. Political interference is rampant on this island.

      • Anonymous says:

        And accommodating political interference would be a crime and likely be corruption, but hey, this is Cayman so…

  4. Anonymous says:

    The beaches are only one aspect, you can’t get access to the public beaches and when you do, there are people there smoking drugs or there is garbage everywhere, or someone wants to sell you a chair/umbrella. Most of the local hotels are now very funny about allowing locals, unless you are staying at there hotel.

    As a Caymanian, this Island is only for the rich now, who are buying up everything and then given status to further do what they want, while the middle class people struggle to get by. Where will it stop?

    • Anonymous says:

      So whats the problem? The rich are investing and making this a better place, so why shouldn’t they have some privacy. Quit whining so much!

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t live there, I live in America and I call BS on your answer. Just because you have a lot of money, doesn’t mean you have the right to make other people miserable and destroy the natural habitat. Granted, it seems like that’s the way it is, but it’s just plain wrong and a basic flaw in civilization. Quit shilling for rude humans so much!

      • Anonymous says:

        This island is for Caymanians not the rich. Your comment is completely out of order. The sea is our heritage and we all grew up swimming in the waters here. This is a huge problem and Caymanians should not have to suffer because our government has continued to sell out our interest time and time again.

        If you don’t like that and Caymanians perhaps you should leave and stop whining so much.

        • Anonymous says:

          Too bad your Caymanian political masters don’t share your view. It will be outsiders and expats that will save Cayman as your people have completely sold you out. You should get of your ass and do something like so many outsiders or driftwood are trying to do related to our environment. So many are trying to save this place and you want them to leave.

          By the way, I am not Caymanian but have lived here for 20 years.

    • Anon says:

      We need a Messiah.. opps, take that back – THE WORLD NEEDS A MESSIAH

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just don’t get it. I’m not from Cayman, but I don’t understand why there is such an ‘whatever’ feeling from the government on this. If it’s registered, you CAN’T block it, and shouldn’t block it.

    Oh wait, they are worried about offending people with $$ to spend. Screw the local populations. Sorry, I get it now. So sorry the only people who care are the ones who can’t do anything about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The real problem in the Cayman Islands is that the Cayman Government has completely sold out to anyone who has $$$. Those $$$ can be Caymanian or expat, it does not matter.

      Developers have all the power and can get away with anything.

      Really is a need for a serious green movement here and maybe even a Green Party to counterbalance the developers and their political friends, who currently control the whole show on island.

      • Anonymous says:

        We don’t need a Green Party, just honest politicians willing to enact SIPL and enforce laws and regulations that already exist. Cayman’s entrenched patronage systems don’t serve the public interest.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s 2020, don’t you think it’s about time for a nude beach in Cayman?

  7. Anonymous1 says:

    No planning! The same way we allow the traffic issue to get out of hand before building a metro rail from G.T. Hospital to Shetty Hospital. Our government leaders are so busy with their own affairs and not tomorrows. The country is growing in size, folks. Population is increasing every year. Wake up!

  8. smh says:

    What a mess. No vision. And what about being able to park your car at the beach access entrance?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Get a damn bulldozer, go down there and level every access. This foolishness of people doing what they want on our beaches and accesses needs to stop. Caymanians soon rile up and have a riot.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How do people get planning approval to erect any type of structure that would block a known access point? If someone has placed obstacles in the way of known beach access points then enforcement is simply a matter of giving the property owner a 30 day notice and then removing the obstacles at their expense after the 30 days.

    • Anonymous says:

      We need after-the-fact permit review, and bulldoze the walls to restore public access. It should be the public these boards serve, not developers. Even in India they dynamited three luxury condo towers that were build illegally. Why can’t our Boards do the right thing, even with the benefit of hindsight? It just serves to underscore how deeply conflicted and corrupt those in public life are.

      • Anonymous says:

        The government in India just imploded a couple of residential complexes built illegally. Makes for some very beautiful slo mo video. Win win.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try walking across ALT’s compound sometime. Let him see what he and his cronies have given their people.

  11. Jo says:

    This isn’t a new condo complex, it is a new single family home.

    The public right of way was always, and is still, on the Brittany Cove side. The fact that they got away with not honoring that for so long is now only coming to light because someone has built on their lot next door.

    • Anonymous says:

      Willful blindness is not an excuse. A grandfathered pre-existing pump house (if it was), ought to have dictated a modification of both property lines to restore public right of way. It’s not in the builder’s discretion to reimagine or apportion fault and conspire to delete the access point as a consequence. Whoever signed off at CPA should also be fined or terminated from Committee. ACC should be all over these cases. Low fruit everywhere you want to look!

      • Anonymous says:

        The CPA is a total disgrace and has severe conflicts of interest. They are not looking after the interests of the greater good on island but the interests of their developer friends.

  12. Annoyed says:

    How ghastly to have people gawping through one’s expensive vacation pad just because they are too lazy to enter the beach from the many access points that remain. Locals were quick enough to profit from the sales of these land plots and now they want to have their cake and well eat it.


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