Activists push FIN clean-up after raising alarm

| 05/03/2021 | 90 Comments
FIN developer Michael Ryan posted pics of himself on social media getting in the water and retrieving debris ahead of the DoE inspection

(CNS): The Department of Environment is paying close attention to the situation at the luxury condo development FIN after a catalog of issues surrounding the project. Local activists raised the alarm this past weekend when it appeared that construction materials had been dumped or washed into the ocean from the project site. This comes after recent silt screen failures and a list of other negative impacts on the marine park as work begins on the development’s lagoon feature.

The developers have now hired divers to clean up the construction debris, and one of the partners on the project, Michael Ryan, was spotted this week in the water hauling out the debris that ended up in the sea. But Wendy Johnston from the DoE said the situation regarding the debris was unacceptable.

“The DoE visited the site on Tuesday and noted the presence of construction debris on the seabed,” she told CNS. “We have been in communication with the developer and they have advised that all material will be removed from the seabed by the end of Thursday, 4 March. We will be conducting an inspection at the end of this week to ensure that this is the case.”

Rachel Osbourne, a local diver, was the first to publicise the latest issue with the project when she spotted the debris on a dive at the weekend. She welcomed the action now being taken but raised concerns that this development poses further threats.

“It’s great that the mess is being cleared up, and steps taken to prevent a reoccurrence, but there are serious questions remaining,” she told CNS.

Osbourne said people are very worried about environmental damage and the risks to the “irreplaceable and precious marine park”, especially with the impending hurricane season. She added that the development is “perilously close to the iron shore edge and continues to be at risk from wave action”.

As a result, a petition has been started calling for a public meeting between developers and the community. People want to ask about the silt from the drilling that could smother and kill the coral in the area as well as the creation of an artificial beach, which risks further imperiling marine life but will be lost to the sea during stormy weather. 

“At the very least people need to have some answers and a commitment from the developers that they will engage with the local community,” Osbourne said. “We are asking them to publicly promise to do everything they were advised to do as part of the planning approval.”

The DoE raised considerable concerns about this project from the get-go and advised against the creation of the lagoon and artificial beach, but their advise was not taken.

Some conditions were placed on the project based on potential mitigation techniques that might help. However, a number of local environmentalists have said that there was almost nothing that the DoE could have advised that would have ever stopped the ill effects of this part of the project.

But the polluting of the ocean from what appears to be the mismanagement and storage of construction materials was something that could easily have been avoided. However, the developers have been reluctant to take responsibility for the debris and silt issues.

Responding to CNS questions, Nadège Parent, a spokesperson for the development said the developers share the concern that the community has about protecting our coastal environment. “But the only way to determine if a concern is justified is to have the facts,” Parent said. “So, we invite the public to come and get the facts by getting in the water with us and see for themselves that the project has had little or no impact on our waters.”

Denying that the debris was necessarily their fault, she added, “It must be made absolutely clear that debris has not been ‘dumped’ in the water; this statement runs entirely counter to our commitment and approach to managing the delicate balance between development and the environment. It appears that small amounts of foreign materials have been found on the sea bed, which most likely found their way there during a storm. These materials may or may not have come from the FIN site.”

But disheartened by the images circulated, FIN has hired a local dive team to carry out the clean-up. Criticising what she said was the “social media frenzy around the project” following a change in current during excavation works, she said that work was shut down when the weather changed. “The sudden shift in the wave patterns also drove our silt screens onto the shore, tearing them in some sections,” she said adding that they were following all protocols. “It was an unpredictable weather anomaly that we could not have anticipated.”

But this has further fuelled environmental concerns because weather is unpredictable and increasingly so in the face of climate change.

“We have repaired the silt screen and purchased more to expand our ability to cover the areas of construction and we continue daily monitoring and keep the DoE informed,” Parent said. “Going forward, we will be even more cautious about the weather risks and the best way to minimise impact is to get the excavation done, the materials removed and the lagoon stabilized as quickly as possible.”

Claiming that the developers were doing the right things with the design and technical protocols, she added that development was going to happen anyway, so it was better that it is done thoughtfully and responsibly.

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

Comments (90)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Video of the huge quantity of lousy debris flushed over the reef by Fin Cayman. Totally unnecessary. Another example of cutting corners and lazy workmanship.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stop calling it a beach. It’s not a beach. It’s a large kids sand box. If you get one with a lid you could keep the water out.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If it’s one thing that third world edumacated people don’t like it’s progress. They hate looking at a fully functional job on time and on budget that they themselves could never pull off while working on a never ending job at one of the Government schools. They hate watching a building going up that won’t cost twice as much and take twice as long as a Government paid contractor. They don’t like a professional job on the same island they are working on cause it makes them sad. Not to worry. they love to complain but do nothing themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      So far, Fin Cayman is running two years late and the first customers haven’t moved in yet. Four years rather than the promised two. Even the government could complete a project faster than that.

  4. MP says:

    > These materials may or may not have come from the FIN site.

    Sorry, but when I can hold my head in the water and see the same pipes in the water and in FIN, that kind of shifty statement is not tenable, and speaks to a severe lack of personal responsibility.

    Tie down your pipes. Put away your materials at the end of the day. This isn’t hard stuff.

  5. You mu'be mad says:

    Pity the FIN tenants on the South side of this complex paying all that money to live 1/2 mile from a potential bomb.

    • Anonymous says:

      The dump? George Town? The fuel depot? Any Government run school? The evidence locker at the police station? Which one?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well at least the tacky plastic mirror strips haven’t peeled off yet. Looks like a Carnival cruise ship.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a load of crap! Silt screens (what a joke)are tied down with rope around coral heads, where there isn’t a coral head to tie to they’ve just tied 3 or 4 building blocks together and dumped on the sea bed. When bad weather has come in the screens were left in the water and consequently shredded and scattered all up the coast line. I have been swimming along that Coastline for years and the crap that’s ended up in the water from that development is disgraceful.
    I have been a lucky resident of these Islands for 30 years and that monstrosity has urged me to register to vote this election!
    I’ll never, never understand why the Family who owned that land allowed this to happen.
    Oh and by the way I hope everyone there understands that this so called ‘lagoon’ will smell of ‘bad eggs’ just like the one at Sunset House!

    • Anonymous says:

      Money, money is the reason the family who owned that land allowed this to happen. Not that hard to understand.

  8. Anonymous says:

    go and have a look this morning, sea looks like the color of milk outside Fin

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is what happens when the ignorant are in charge. Get used to it. Anything that happens here is planned and judged by the ignorant first then implemented. Then judged again by the many ignorant people that have nothing to do with it. It is the Caribbean way.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Doe are nothing but a talking shop with no clout. Hell, they can’t sort out their own internal problems on the enforcement side. Apparently three staff have left in a year and maybe more to follow because of bad management and claims of bullying.
    Don’t expect too much my people, crab in a bucket reality.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s because the government has put people in there who don’t give a crap just so that they can push their own agenda.

  11. Anonymous says:

    No one to blame but our own Caymanians who have the authority to deny the plans for these types of development. Both the planning dept and board leadership must be changed for any sort intelligent decisions to be made. Currently, both are a clear and present danger to the future of our islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another private sector board that has failed us for many years. Get rid of all private sector boards and turn the decisions over to professionally trained civil servants.

  12. Harry says:

    In an earlier life the building waste would have been thrown out the back of a Ford Transit van.

    • Anonymous says:


      Still DOES NOT make it right.

      Years ago you all worked black people and pay them in whips across their backs.

      Now slither away, won’t you.

      • Terry says:

        I think Harry was referring to Michael Ryan’s earlier life.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don’t you put a chip in your other shoulder to balance yourself out? What the hell did the original comment have to do with racism let alone slavery?

        • Anonymous says:

          No chips here

          Just chipping” away watching unna $#$$$€€s get worked up into a frenzy whilst watching Chelsea vs. Everton and having a cold pint!

          🔥 in unna ….

        • Anonymous says:

          Chip your mummeh!

      • Anonymous says:

        And that’s your take on this? You’re deranged.

  13. Splashdown says:

    We are due to have some heavy winds and waves come in starting late Sunday through middle of next week.
    If someone has a drone camera please could they consider getting some footage of what waves and stormy weather do to the shore side of FIN?

    That will be good evidence to show the public of what to expect if the ironshore is excavated and artificial beach sand put on the ironshore/concrete…I would bet money it will take a pounding and go straight into the sea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wind will be from the protected side and won’t affect Fin much this time. Agree it would be great to see this during a major nor wester with strong winds from the west.

      I’ve seen loads of junk over the months in the ocean floor directly in front of the building. Dozens of pvc pipes, sheet metal, cinder blocks, even a 12 foot ladder. It looks like a garbage dump down there, and has for nearly a year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Heavy winds and drones are not good bed fellows.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This guy…

  15. Anonymous says:

    All Greed!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Time for a clean sweep on the planning board.

  17. Anon says:

    Why all the fuss? Have we all forgotten the excellent job Mr. Ryan did on developing the Ritz Hotel??? He did do a great job….just ask Mac

    • Joyce says:

      I’m not sure if I’ve got this right:

      1) Heavy material from the construction site has washed into the ocean.

      2) Sand used for the artificial beach will stay in place during a storm.

      3) The DoE has given Michael Ryan the benefit of the doubt and wants to see what happens to the sand.

      • Anonymous says:

        “The DoE has given Michael Ryan the benefit of the doubt and wants to see what happens to the sand.” No. What they said is technocrat speak for ‘its going to happen, just wait and see’. But you have identified half of the problem with half of Government’s reports. Plain speaking is what is needed.

      • Jotnar says:

        Think point 4 is the relevant one – CPA has decided Ryan can do whatever he wants irrespective of what the DoE says.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is smack dab in the middle of David wight’s constituency and not one word peep out of him regarding this..

    Why do we still hang on to these people? Isn’t it time to get rid of these Alden/McKeeva asskissers? What will it take for Caymanians to understand that these people are there to benefit themselves and not us..

    I’m still hoping and praying for a Turks and Caicos style major ousting of these useless politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well. In order to vote them out support is needed.

      Where are our fearless young Caymanian brothers and sisters?

      How does anyone expect change when there isn’t any new blood to vote for and the old dinosaurs continue to graze without threat?

      Where are the public outcries? Where is the demonstrations, parades and public debates?

      All I see are a bunch of old fools with old outdated ideas.

      We need young secular thinking government instead of an over religious homophobic cult which does nothing, I repeat nothing for the REAL Caymanian locals but, sell out the Island to the highest bidder.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If there was anyone that deserves to have his status revoked, Michael Ryan, is surely the poster child..

    The PPM/CDP continues to allow this man to ruin us to no end and with Al’T rubber stamping everything they put in front of him we are going to hell in a handbasket.

    We can only pray that this comes to an end soon.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Fines any one? CIG; knock knock. Anyone home?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ms Nadège Parent.. sigh… have some accountability and responsibility. Please!

    Passing the buck, when you know exactly where that construction garbage on the sea bed came from, is past the point of bad neighbour behavior. Clearly, it’s garbage or someone would have fished it out due to the expense of it alone.

    Have you seen the drone pictures?? Or are you going to tell us the pics were doctored and the mudwater came from somewhere else in Cayman, too? Probably a good thing the water was so dirty because the public would have seen the construction debris a few weeks ago.

    FIN needs a better PR spin doctor.

    At least Mr Ryan is in the water taking responsibility and doing some clean up.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Imagine how the spoilt developers criticise the DOE for doing their jobs.

    If the developer listened to the DOE these issues would not happen.

  23. a says:

    Approving the lagoon makes the “Top 10” Cayman development absurdities…

    However, we elected these fools. This what we get. Our fault.

    Will the next election be any different.

    I suspect not.

    • Anonymous says:

      We do not elect the SAGC members, they are a cabal appointed by corrupt Cabinet (also not given a mandate to form a government). Even the NCC has been loaded with conflicted pro-development shills, even direct employees of the developers tabling proposals.

      • Anonymous says:

        We elect the members of cabinet. Change your elected officials you may get a change in board.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually we elect individual MPs who then get together and decide who the Premier and Cabinet. Sometimes – like the unity government – contrary to what the people had voted for.

  24. Elvis says:

    Anything fo4 a good argument. Busy body .
    The guy is cleaning it up as much as i dislike his style.

  25. Nuff said says:

    Who in their right mind would want to sit in under the blazing sun in a hot salty rock pool surrounded by concrete with sand blowing in their face? I have not seen people lying around in iron shore paddling pools in all my years in Cayman, not even children, let alone millionaires.

    Who designed this place? Have they ever set foot here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Observation of the century…that Iron shores pulls a lot of heat and draws creatures. Its mucky and a human obstacle course. Unless it’s. Like Smith cove

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ve got grandkids. To get straight to the point. Will the pool get hot enough to take the skin off a four year old?

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait for the sulphur smell that will collect in the lagoon from the islands septic tank run off while the millionaires sit around inhaling it. That should be an additional surprise for them that is probably not on the marketing material along with the cheap interiors.

    • Anonymous says:

      Millions of people do just that every day in every pool in every hotel in every country and island. Just not the ignorant ones.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Mr Ryan had some bad luck and now is trying to make a great development that will make Cayman proud. Leave him and all the great contractors alone. So what that a little trash got into the water. Look at all the high paying construction jobs they provided and all the stamp duty that will flow into our goverment. Three cheers for Mr Ryan!

  27. Splashdown says:

    It’s nice that FIN spokesperson Miss Parent wants to
    “invite the public to come and get the facts by getting in the water with us and see for themselves”
    but surely the facts would be better presented on dry land in a public meeting so everyone can speak and listen to each other? I’m signing the petition.

  28. Anonymous says:

    They shouldn’t be allowed to cut a lagoon into iron shore full stop. They should not have been allowed to build so close to the sea or roadside blocking sunlight and views from neighbours. In order for this to pass planning XXXX. It is totally out of place for such a small residential narrow street. With each storm any beach sand deposited will cover the marine park. If the ground floor glass front survives the next big storm it will be a miracle. As a swimmer in the area I can confirm the material is 100% from the construction site, silt booms were even tied to coral heads and work continued as the bad weather came in . For months I swam through polystyrene balls being shaved off the building blocks. This entire project is an utter slap in the face to the environment and the local population. I only hope future buyers see it for what it truly is an environmental ugly mess. However by then the developer has made his money and left south church street with an eyesore. Thanks to our local MLAs and planning department.

    • JDM says:

      TOTALLY AGREE…absurd design – total proof that the $$ rules, not the planning or environment

    • Anonymous says:

      The entire development is a monstrosity and all we can expect is developments of this size and scope to continue spreading East

    • Anonymous says:

      You have to look at things in context. In partnership with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Nova Southeastern University and the Coral Reef Institute, FIN is the first real estate development in the Cayman Islands to undertake the funding of a coral reef monitoring and restoration program.  Fin is within 50 ft of the shoreline and it was to be expected that a small amount of debris would end up in the ocean. As soon as Fin was notified the few items of debris were promptly removed. We can see that the weather has turned, and the silt that escaped the screens will quickly wash away, leaving the marine park in pristine condition.  We are grown ups and recognise that sand is likely to be washed from the beach and into the ocean by a storm. The same storm will wash the sand away from the marine park. 

      FIN sets a new standard for luxury living in the Cayman Islands.We need to be pragmatic and accept a level of give and take between a successful developer generating wealth for the Island and the minor impact on the local environment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sand that gets dumped on reefs by accident or blown in by windy weather DAMAGES the reef!
        Over hundred divers had to rush out to try to save Eden Rock months ago when sand silt smothered the reef after a boat accident!

        And these developers want to add tonnes of sand to the ironshore coastline, where it will be swept in over and over again! Next to a marine park!

        How can you call yourselves environmentally friendly? How?

      • Anonymous says:

        You will not win any argument with intelligence against ignorance here. FIN will be a success like all the rest of the hotels and condos on island. And people here will always cry because you didn’t make it for them.

  29. Anonymous says:

    never seen someone that likes controversy more than MR

  30. Anonymous says:

    The gift that keeps on giving. Thanks Mac.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Sickening! “Unpredictable weather anomaly”? Ridiculous!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Is that do-gooder pic supposed to make me feel better about all the money he skipped out owing?

  33. Anonymous says:

    The phrase, ‘A day late and a dollar short,’ seems apt here. Measures to mitigate potential run off and prevent dumping of garbage from the development should have been in place from day one.

  34. Anonymous says:

    “It was an unpredictable weather anomaly that we could not have anticipated.”

    Did she just move to cayman yesterday??? I have lived here 40 years and every year like clockwork we get swells and winds affecting the west side of the island. Us Caymanians call them Nor’westers.

    Maybe you shouldn’t have built that monstrosity so close to the water for f4ck sake!!!

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