Regal Beach placing hope in seawall

| 10/05/2021 | 70 Comments

(CNS): One of several luxury condo complexes on Seven Mile Beach facing significant beach erosion is placing hope in a new seawall, even though it is very unlikely to help. Work at the Regal Beach Club had begun using debris from the original wall, which was damaged by last year’s storms, as the base for this new sea wall. However, this was apparently premature and the work was halted last week. A strata spokesperson told CNS that they had “jumped the gun” regarding what needed to happen before they could start building the wall, but they had the approval from the Central Planning Authority and were keen to get it done before turtle nesting season.

The Department of Environment confirmed that this work does not require a coastal works licence because it is behind the property line and therefore within the jurisdiction of the planning department. Planning officials have met with the agents at the condo complex to address some of the miscommunication surrounding the project, which is one of a number currently causing significant public concern, as the realities of Grand Cayman’s over-development on the coast begins to hit home.

“It was unfortunate the debris was used to make a pad so close to the sea and that was done prematurely but has now been resolved,” a DoE spokesperson told CNS. “We met with the applicant’s agents but there has been some serious miscommunication with the planning permission requirements, which are currently also being resolved. We were waiting for a construction methodology to review and agree, which was a CPA requirement. We now have that and are in the process of reviewing it.”

The DoE said a plan was also being devised to ensure that the work does not impact the turtle nesting season, which has already begun, though so far no nests have been recorded on Seven Mile Beach.

The Regal Beach spokesperson said they are hoping that constructing a proper seawall to replace what was only a garden wall will protect the condos. However, an additional concrete structure will do very little to retain the disappearing beach. The DoE continues to urge the CPA not to grant approval to applicants seeking to erect hard structures on the beach because this does not increases the resilience of properties against the inevitable effects of climate change, such as coastal flooding, storm surge and erosion.

It is because of past planning approvals that so many of the properties on Seven Mile Beach are facing varying degrees of beach loss. In some cases, such as the Marriott hotel, the beach has disappeared completely and shows little sign of any change or significant replenishment.

The DoE has already warned that in most cases efforts to try to protect properties or retain beaches with the use of more hard structures will fail and beach replenishment will only ever be a temporary solution until all of the hard structures are moved from the beach.


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Category: development, Land Habitat, Local News, Science & Nature

Comments (70)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This situation reminds me of a Sunday school song we used to sing: “The foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand…”

  2. Bob da fixca says:

    I wouldn’t call them luxury.
    Just beach side.
    There is nothing luxury about the fixtures and fittings…. or the proximity to plebs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Money rules and the Strata owners will do what they want.
    Maybe they could let out a few rooms at there house an couple down the beach

  4. Anonymous says:

    What moron allowed for building on the beach?

    I hope they all collapse

  5. Anonymous says:

    They come
    Dig up the land
    Then complain it’s all leaving like the wise man never warned to not build thy house on sand.

  6. Robert says:

    I remember when they were clearing the land for the Marriott aka Radisson back then and I spoke to the architect onsite and his answer to me was ‘oh the tourists want to see the white sand” Well we got concrete today…
    Biggest problem is with our planning board is the fact that it is politically stacked and no one has the balls or fortitude to say NO and mean it…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh my, I can’t believe my eyes. The RBC is going to have a new name, The Colbalt Regal Dive Resort….Build a dock and sell it…Of course the price will lower quite a bit now there’s no beach.

  8. Tony says:

    Mightn’t the construction of a breakwater (rather than a sea wall) and planting of sea grape and other protective species provide better protection from erosion than other tried and failed remedial responses? Just asking?

  9. Courtney Platt says:

    Now that an Exeter University study has made clear (in 2015) that over 85% of all new sand on a geologically very similar coral island to ours comes from parrotfish, I’m just stunned that CITA and all SMB property owners are not yet begging DoE to give total protection to our parrotfish (squab). Our three largest species, which produce the most sand have been so severely diminished in numbers that they were once seen in schools of 40-60 at every dive site, but are now rarely seen in groups over 6 and even those are few and far between. The period of their decline here also appears to correlate with the period of decline of SMB. In addition to the sea walls originally built within reach of storm waves reflecting the energy, “pushing” sand off the beach, shifting it offshore and eventually over the drop-off during big storms… what is lost is no longer being replaced by the fish that produced it. Protect parrotfish and build on stilts to leave the sand they produce on shore. Sea walls suck… or more literally blow the sand right off the beach. But without the fish I fear that all of the King’s horses and all of the King’s men cannot put Humpty back together again.

    • Anonymous says:

      The eco-system around this island is being destroyed and all because of the $$$$. Nothing else is important here.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Courtenay Excellent article from someone who understands the subject. Gerry Willcocks taught me all about the sand and Parrot fish many years ago. He also explained how sand eventually goes off the drop off. He made application to remove surplus sand at Pedro’s but it was turned down. Within months a politician made a similar application to remove sand in the George Town harbor which was approved. What happened. NOTHING

  10. Michel Lemay says:

    Chris we need a new CPA board, one with vision and not self interest for many of them. Time to slow down and fining those who break the laws. That would be a good start. Since it’s a politically appointed board I hope that our new Pact elected Govt. will take seriously sooner rather then later.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Michael

      Largely agreed and the CPA needs more independent board members who have the balls to ask questions and where appropriate say no.

  11. You're making it worse. says:

    Hey Regal Beach owners (particularly the majority owner with his monstrosity of a house just up the beach from Regal), you’d be better off using your money and considerable influence to convince the owner of the Marriott to remove their patio and pool. The sand shifts from the south, and the Marriott has blocked sand from shifting to Regal Beach for decades now and you are seeing the result. The only way to have your beach return is to remove the Marriott’s deck and pool.

    Your new sea wall is only going to make the erosion worse on that stretch of beach.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Seven mile beach was never 7 miles long plus it was a hurricane ridge made up of sand and swamp muck plus sink holes and and when the earthquake hit the muck came up thru the draines meaning that buildings are sitting on muck and sand it may one day look like Port Royal soon.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The best solution in order to maximize the value of the property would have the owners agree to compensate the owners of the front building (there are 10 buildings in each of the two rows), and tear down the two front buildings, and make the second building the new front buildings.

    That way you can have a large and deep beach area. The existing front building owners should want this as their buildings are in danger of being undercut (and are likely getting close to becoming unsalable). The remaining owners will benefit by an increase in value by having a deep beach area and less density.

    Thoughts?

  14. Kman says:

    They have tried a million in one different things to absolutely no avail. The only solution is to plant coconut trees in a wave motion 50ft from the water mark then where the wall is plant grapetree and cocoplum plants which will catch the sand while also helping to avoid further erosion.
    Unfortunately I’m Caymanian😁 so they probably won’t take my advice and instead will pay a consultant $50K to tell them to build another $100K seawall.

  15. Anonymous says:

    They made their beds, time they lie in them.

  16. Anonymous says:

    ‘Luxury’ condo Lol
    Hopefully by now they’ve been upgraded on the inside.

  17. Anonymous says:

    mind boggling, – and just like that a beach that was voted best beach in the world and consistently never outside the top ten has been decimated by greed and want. As a species if this kind of behaviour continues globally we deserve to go extinct

    • Anonymous says:

      Grand Cayman is all about greed and want.

      • Anonymous says:

        No Grand Cayman Developers and the Planning Board are all about greed..Leave the majority of us good people out of your generalization.

      • Anonymous says:

        The whole of Cayman I might add. When there is nothing to sell to the foreign developer (because the average joe here can’t afford these prices any longer) what then?

        Where will the greedy bastards expect the Cayman Islands to do then?

  18. Right ya so says:

    This all started when Marnie Turner was allowed to build her house next door to Laguna and in front of the Smurf houses. It’s all gone downhill from there.

    • Anonymous says:

      All the storms over the years have given that house a good lick. used to be a stop on any Norwesters to see the waves smacking her glass doors.

    • Anonymous says:

      Was it built illegally? Why is it still there?

    • ANONYMOUS says:

      That is so true -I lived on the beach in the 70’s a bit south of Marnie’s house, and even then many people said that it would, on its own, at some point in the future, damage the beach. And, that nothing else should be allowed to be built that close to the beach with a “hard” boundary wall like hers, because it it created an erosion affect when big waves ran up the beach slope and rebounded off the wall.

    • ANONYMOUS says:

      I lived on the beach for five years in the 70’s a bit South of Marnie. Even then many people warned that at some point in the future, on its own, her house would do great damage to the beach. Also that no more building should be allowed that close to the beach and certainly not with a hard straight wall.

  19. Been saying this for years and the only way the Marriott will get a beach back is to remove patio and pool!!!Tried to stop them when it was first talked about but no one listened to DOE and it went higher up in Govt with their blessing.Picking up people for the turtle center back when I always asked hows your beach.WHAT BEACH WAS THE MOST USED REPLY.Taking people back to the hotel one would seefolks wheeling their bags on the side walk going to another property WITH BEACH.Very sad and pure greed.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t it just be renamed to “Regal”???

  21. There’s a hole in hope floats says:

    Hoping that our icecaps and glaciers don’t melt anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      best solution is to bury your head in the sand.
      thats what our politicians have been doing on this issue for the past 40 years…..zzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      sea levels were 400ft higher, humans survived.

      • Anonymous says:

        I wouldn’t usually say this but you’re an idiot 10:13, – yeah sure, let’s keep f%*^>=g everything up and let someone else deal with it 🤡

  22. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind. Sgt Major Williams ©

  23. Anonymous says:

    You can’t fix stupid.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I thought it was pretty well understood that wave action against a sea wall removed beach and doesn’t allow the sea to replenish due to the back wash from the wall…

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess the problem they have – as do the Marriott and other properties – is that they built so close to the water lie they have the option of having a beach but have the buildings undercut by wave action, or no beach. And unfortunately the impact is not confined to their own property – building seawalls on one part of the beach affects sand movement and beach erosion along the whole beach.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      In many countries seawalls are curved and I have always been surprised why architects do not do that here. Certainly Regal should do that. Surely all these guys at the south of SMB should be working together with CIG to solve the problem as best they can.

      • Throw 'em for a curve says:

        C’mon Chris most builders can’t manage to pour a level and flat concrete slab never mind a curved wall.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ah Duh… Caymanian workers who don’t give a s..t!.

          Criticize, but still true.

          • Anonymous says:

            Most likely Jamaican and Honduran, reporting to an American or Canadian, actually.

          • Anonymous says:

            Look around the construction sites on this island and tell me what nationality the majority of the workers and decision-makers are. While you’re looking, see if one of the foremen can supervise a mason to fix that chip on your shoulder.

      • Anonymous says:

        Chris, in most countries they operate something called ‘set back’ and simply don’t allow any development this close to a beach. It’s not rocket science to prevent this.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t tell Al’T that!

        • Chris Johnson says:

          I agree. In essence the set back regulations need amending. Meanwhile seawalls and retaining walls which are different need to be properly designed and properly built. Of course the Casarina trees did not help nor destruction of sea grape trees.

    • Anonymous says:

      so why did these propoerties have normal beaches for many years??
      the sands shift with weather and tides over time…..their beach could expand this year….or maybe not.

      • Anonymous says:

        The beach will never expand with a wall behind it. That will only happen if the sea is allowed to ebb and flow as happens naturally.

      • Anonymous says:

        They had beaches before they built the walls.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        What is normal. The world has changed over the years. How many northwesters do we get. In the early seventies I recall three weeks of them. Hence emergency supplies were flown in as boats could not dock. In those days Church Street was frequently full of debrie and closed.
        My bet is the South Beach will never recover.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep. Marriott, when it was Radisson, had a huge beach. (Early 90’s) Spent many days there.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I do not feel any sense of sympathy in such cases.

    These developments pushed their limits as far as they could get away with and much more without concern then and now only after the fact that they have been slapped in their faces by mother nature they are showing concern. Concern for their pockets, not the environment though.

    Mother nature rules every time!!!!!!!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hello Regal Beach Strata & Owners –

    NO Wall = Beach!! Do not replace the wall and your beach will return!

  27. Anonymous says:

    seems like another cpa mess-up…..
    civil service incompetence is never ending.

    CNS: The CPA is not part of the civil service. It is a politically appointed board made up of private sector members.

  28. Anonymous says:

    They pulled out the sea grape and coco plum. Replaced it with concrete. Even back then some of them broke our laws doing it. Sad but inevitable.

    • Anonymous says:

      And they still doing it. They still clearing mangroves and jackhammering the iron shores right before our eyes and we are helpless! One can only see the east west bypass extension. Tell me what sense does this make? How does it help traffic?

      • Anonymous says:

        Were you even here during Ivan ? Then you will know why by pass roads are a good idea when most of our main roads are all coastal roads and by the way the house or apartment you live in please explain how that was built and do you fly to it or do you drive on a road to get there

    • Chris Johnson says:

      If you look at all condos many pulled out too many trees particularly grape trees. They just left coconut trees with no shade and revising a danger due to falling coconuts. A typical example is Discovery Point With almost no landscaping on the seaside and tarmac on the rear. The cpa must insist better than that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not losing any sleep for them- they don’t want ‘we the people” even walking waist deep in the water while passing ‘ their beach’ , pay back is a bitch!

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