Species plan can’t protect South Sound mangroves

| 13/04/2021 | 61 Comments
Google Map screenshot showing application site location outline in blue

(CNS): The protection plan for mangroves that was implemented under the National Conservation Law last year is not enough to prevent the clearing of another significant area of mangroves in the South Sound basin in the coming months. Already under significant pressure from massive development, phase three of a major apartment project in the basin where the first two phases are already under-construction is likely to be approved today (Tuesday 13 April). Warnings by the Department of Environment that the South Sound wetland has become severely fragmented and its capacity to absorb flooding massively reduced have been ignored and the situation now goes far beyond conservation.

The need for a regional storm-water management plan for the South Sound basin has not been addressed, despite the DoE’s repeated advice, and the Central Planning Authority continues to approve projects in the area. And while the species plan provides for mangrove protections, it cannot prevent developers with planning approval from developing their land.

Sixtees Properties Developments Ltd is now seeking approval for phase three of a major project for 97 apartments, one gym, one cabana and one pool on a 6.4 acre plot of land between South Sound and the Linford Peirson Highway. While there are questions regarding the re-zoning application made by the developer to increase it from low density to high density, which has not yet been approved by Cabinet, according to the documents it is still progressing through the planning process as a low density application.

With no neighbouring objectors, the DoE remains the sole agency that is raising the alarm about the threat to the mangroves. In its submissions on behalf of the National Conservation Council, the DoE pointed out that the area where the proposed project lies is among a 620-acre wetland basin where 500 acres have been granted planning permission for various residential developments.

“Over 80% of the mangrove wetland area has been lost to development,” the experts noted.

Having consistently raised concerns about the lack of a comprehensive storm-water management strategy and the relevant studies for the South Sound drainage basin over the years, the DoE urged the CPA not to grant approval without serious consideration to its submissions that outline the critical role the mangroves play in preventing flooding. But accepting the inevitable, the department also offered advice on conditions that should be included at a minimum as part of any planning permission.

The DoE stated that only the development footprint should be cleared and filled. Land clearing should not take place until commencement of each phase of development is imminent. A storm-water management plan should be designed in a way that run-off is handled on site and does not impact the surrounding area. And the DoE pointed to the importance of retaining as much native mangrove vegetation as possible, as well as incorporating it along with other native vegetation species into the landscaping and storm-water management plan.

The latest mangrove threat comes on the eve of an election where for the first time the environment has taken a central role in the campaign for many candidates, with over-development being considered a real threat rather than the historic view that only the economic benefits matter.

The local NGO Mangrove Rangers issued a video Monday (see below) urging electors to consider the pressure on mangroves when they go to the polls and the position of candidates when it comes to development, given that literally hundreds of acres of mangroves have been lost in the last few months alone.

See the Species Conservation Plan for Mangroves on the NCC website.

See the CPA agenda for today’s meeting in the CNS Library

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (61)

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  1. Are these not the same developers who wanted to put a canal across south sound rd with a bridge for the road?If so they are destroying as much of our vital mangrove wetland for pure greed.Wow we need some politicians with balls and QUICK to stop this continued madness.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We DESPERATELY NEED affordable housing in Cayman and this development is a great step forward towards that. To me this sounds like the wealthy residents of south sound are annoyed that an affordable development is going up on their doorstep!

    • Anonymous says:

      This development is not affordable housing.

      • Anonymous says:

        It certainly isn’t! Someone is lying. Isn’t it amazing that our reprentives are so quiet!!! Vote them OUT!

    • Anonymous says:

      Affordable housing only works when those in need are able to purchase, instead of investors coming along and snapping up multiple units. This needs to be addressed, with Govt limiting the number of units purchased by one buyer in these “affordable housing” developments. Another way to ensure Caymanians are not priced out of the market is to mandate that x% of every development is affordable housing and purchases means tested. The UK is now doing this. Every single development must have real affordable housing, as mandated by Govt.

    • SSM345 says:

      Affordable housing may exist in some parts of Cayman but it definitely does not not in South Sound.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Out with the Lodge, in with the ..er..Lodge.

    • Hubert says:

      God help the people of South Sound when the next Hurricane Ivan hits. People have such short memories.

      If you thought it was bad in 2004 you have not seen nothing yet as hurricanes are getting bigger due to warming seas and global warming.

    • Anonymous says:

      SAD, AIN’T IT!

  4. Anonymous says:

    From low density to high density.

    You mean from high profits, to really, really high profits?

  5. Jacky Boatside from Old Bush says:

    Don’t vote for McKeeva swamp nor his ducklings !especially those touting Rollie and claiming the are not supporting his boss babuska. No votes for woman beaters and environmental pirates!

  6. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    Why are we, the people of Cayman, worried whether developers will follow existing law?

    Well, because recent history would suggest that wealthy developers get a pass from all regulatory bodies, AND, we, the people of Cayman, haven’t had a voice — a real voice — for decades.

    We need more referendums. We need to collectively for vote or against what the majority of us want. Otherwise known as a Democracy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good luck with that, Mr. Cloun.

    • Anonymous says:

      This developer is following the law though…hence their planning application

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right, Beau, and the XXXXX CPA seem to be interested only in getting richer. Is there any way that they could be replaced? Our so-called Democracy is NOT “by the people”, and certainly NOT “for the people!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Time to tear than invasive flip-flop tree down once and for all.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Smelly, mosquito and frog infested swap. Clear away.

    From the silent majority.

  9. Khalibak says:

    Keep voting for Alden and the PPM and then complaining about what they do is insanity! This is their MO development development development. Just imagine if they had started that cruise port!! Cayman for your own good you need to slow this development down before the relocate you islanders to the Brac and little cayman where the tourist and expats will take ferries to visit the locals. Maybe they will even feed us. What a silly people caymanians have become over the last 50 yrs

    • Anonymous says:

      Money made them stupid

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that all these developments generate income which funds government’s expenses.
      Expenses such as police, hospitals, NAU, roads, the courts, cargo port, airport, .and all those things that you obviously take for granted, which enable you to live here without personal taxation.

      If not this government , the new MPs will have to do the same to pay the bills, despite all their grandstanding that things will be different when they are elected.
      Want to save the mangroves,?…change the law.

      • Anonymous says:

        I realize development brings in money for government. But what happens when everything’s built on. Where does the money come from then? It’s a small island. Won’t be long. We need a government who thinks into their grandchildren and great -grandchildren’s future not just their own.

    • Anonymous says:

      We keep destroying ourselves and embracing revenues from foreign investment, so sad we are all so shortsighted.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have always thought that Government (Crown) owned the wet mangrove swamps, and has in the past leased areas to the private sector, like Safe Haven.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have always thought wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        the mangroves are parcelled off for private development, being below the waterline, they should ALL be crown property. Canals are also considered private, not crown land. Unfortunately greed has prevailed over common sense safety.

    • Say it like it is says:

      1.06 pm In the early seventies the British Government conducted the Cadastral Survey the point of which was to provide guaranteed title to all landowners.Some lucky ones were allowe title to swampland adjoining their properties based on tenuous claims of “usage”. Any unclaimed land was vested in the Government

    • Anonymous says:

      Safe Haven was a special case in that it was Crown land. That area from say Govt. house to the Ritz (very very roughly) was Crown land and originally leased to the different developers as you thought. (Almost) all other land in the Cayman Islands, including swamp, is and has been for a long time, in private ownership. (Someone else has posted regarding the Cadastral survey when most of this happened. And which some people are still fighting about.)

    • Anonymous says:

      If only that were so, we would still have enough mangroves to protect this island.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Unless the government buys it and creates a reserve, you can kiss that woods goodbye. It is completely surrounded by dense, ongoing development. One financially successful development leads to another next door. My suggestion is to buy the best remaining 200-300 acres and make it a reserve forever. Public ownership is your only answer.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Please Vote This Dudes out Now! before this becomes a environmental catastrophe ! How much are these guys going to get $$$$$$ before they say enough is enough. We cannot sustain this level of destruction Cayman

  13. Anonymous says:

    I find it so interesting how although the mangroves in this area are so “important” but yet the projects are approved for go ahead.

    BUT when it comes to getting a FARM road, DoE and Minister Hew go to no lengths to stop that!!! My my how hypocritical.

    • Anonymous says:

      The so-called Farm roads had nothing to do with farming.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly. The only purpose of farm roads is to provide government funded access to interior land owned by voters of particular importance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Says who?, YOU??!! Well as a FARMER who actually farm my land, which is one of the parcels impacted by this governments inability to build a simple road, I can tell you it is needed. Everyone on this island has to eat! God forbid we ever end up in a situation whereby we cannot source food from overseas.

        People like you will be the first one to scream that we never prepared for such an event.

        It’s either you’re a half-twit Caymanian that has no foresight. Or you’re another holier than thou, know it all fool seeking refuge here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That new development with the “lake” looks a lot like a yacht basin in need of a canal. Watch and see.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lol. The National Housing Development Trust owns the biggest piece of land in that area. Y’all going try stop them too?

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