Cruise scoping update given to EAB

| 21/01/2020 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cruise ship in George Town Harbour

(CNS): Government and Verdant Isle Port Partners, the consortium of developers picked to build the proposed cruise dock, submitted their scoping update to the Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) Tuesday, on the eve of a court case that will decide the future of this controversial facility.

According to a tourism ministry release, the report was written by Baird, the company that carried out the original environmental impact assessment in 2015 on an entirely different design to the one now proposed.

Officials said that this update was peer reviewed by Royal HaskoningDHV and takes into consideration the revised design of the proposed cruise berthing piers as well the additional cargo project, which was not included in the initial EIA.

This latest move by government to press ahead with the project is only the first step in what should be a thorough process that examines in detail the real extent of the environmental threat this project proposes to reefs, marine life, wrecks, beaches, shore lines, infrastructure and even local businesses in and around the area.

Department of Environment Directer Gina Ebanks-Petrie confirmed that she had received the document Tuesday morning in her capacity as chair of the EAB. This is the first time since the department was thrown off the steering committee for the cruise port project in 2018 that the experts at the DoE will be involved with the process.

Ebanks-Petrie said the first thing that will happen is that the EAB, in conjunction with DoE technical experts, will conduct their own scoping exercise based on the changes. The final report of the EAB will be the official report and made public. It will then form the basis of the terms of reference for the fully updated EIA, which will go out for public consultation before the EIA is redone, she told CNS.

The issues relating to the environmental studies are key to the judicial review brought by Shirley Roulstone, a member of the Cruise Port Referendum campaign group, and supported by the National Trust. The hearing is set to start Wednesday. Both CPR and the Trust believe that all of this work, plus some geo-techinical work, needs to be completed in full and published for the public to review before the referendum takes place.

Government acknowledged that there is a series of agreed project phases that must occur before Verdant can apply for the coastal works permits associated with the construction. It also noted that the process is subject to the outcome of the referendum, which the court could decide cannot take place until the revised EIA and related work is all completed.

The government said that a number of additional studies are scheduled to take place under an ‘Early Works Agreement’ currently being finalised.

The judicial review of government’s referendum plans, question and campaign, alongside the environmental issues will open at 10am Wednesday in Grand Court.


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Category: development, Local News, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The geotechnical survey is a critical component of a engineering study before any construction can begin. It’s not part of an EIA. The kind of submarine recirculation drilling required will be very destructive, and require professional accredited oversight and equipment that doesn’t exist in Cayman. It absolutely must not be allowed to commence before a referendum.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can’t be the only person who feels uncomfortable that the people commissioning and paying for the report are the very people who wish to destroy the environment for their own profit. No doubt they can make the report say anything that they want it to. Hardly an independent assessment is it?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who do you suggest pays then? Me (the tax payer)? I don’t want the report. (I’ve made up my mind from the 1st one, which they also paid for.)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Coronavirus outbreak could bring cruise ship industry worldwide to a complete stop.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    This government are charlatans and they all need to go in 2021

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  5. Anonymous says:

    No such thing as peer review in this context CNS.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    For around the last decade, the neglected beaches of North Side, East End and BT have been literally piled up with plastics and waste, mixed with the annual influx of sargassum. Soda, beer, deodorant and shampoo bottles, slippers, sneakers, plastic bags, even syringes. Never used to be like this. Then I read recently, perhaps on CNS, that the cruise ships are legally allowed to dump their waste 12 miles offshore. First I was horrified to know they could even do this. But seriously, only 12 miles out? Are these cruise ships responsible for all this mess suffocating our beaches and sea, and endangering marine and local wildlife?

    People vote No. We need Eco tourism and a ban on developing to save, not rape what little natural beauty we have that remains unspoiled.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A significant amount of the plastcs on our beaches originates in Haiti.

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    • Anon. says:

      Last year I took my expat friend up to the Queen’s Highway to snorkel the beautiful pristine reefs up there. I hadn’t been up that side since for about 10 years. I was shocked to see the piles of garbage on the beaches up there.

      Seriously people, we are killing the things that made the Cayman Islands a desirable place for tourists to visit and for us to live. Our beaches, our ocean, our reefs.

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    • Beach Cl;eaner says:

      The stuff on the beaches comes from Venezuela, the Eastern Caribbean, Domincan Republic and Haiti: just read the labels.
      What we get is nothing compared to Belize and Mexico: that’s the direction the current flows.
      Cruise ships are not responsible: read the labels!

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  7. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Garbage ships. Killing marine life. Making Slavs labor of the local businesses (I mean their ‘partners’). Destroying the environment.
    Now trying to steal Smith Cove with this latest circus act. Smh.

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