NCC confirms need for EIA on Dart PAD

| 22/07/2021 | 119 Comments
Cayman News Service
Aerial view of new Dart PAD development in West Bay, from DoE screening document

(CNS): The application by the islands’ largest landowner and property developer for a 157-acre planned area development (PAD) in West Bay, which is expected to go before the Central Planning Authority in the near future, will require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) before approval. The National Conservation Council has ratified the Department of Environment’s recommendation for the EIA because of a catalogue of issues, including the scale and density, arising from this proposed project by the Dart-owned company, Crymble Landholdings.

This will provide the opportunity for public consultation on the proposal for another ‘new town’, which has raised significant concerns in the local community due to the environmental threats and the removal of coastal access, with little, if any, evident benefits for the wider district.

The DoE has found that the proposed development would see the loss of over 40 acres of mangrove, and would threaten various plants and bird species, as well as turtle nesting beaches. The development poses a risk to water quality from the canals and marina, and direct threats to the marine environment because it would remove beachrock from Seven Mile Beach. The department also pointed to the significant loss of beach access by the various developments proposed under the PAD.

Speaking at the first NCC meeting this year, having been hamstrung during the previous administration by delays in the appointment of members, DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie pointed out that Dart had already been informed that any application to remove beachrock from Seven Mile Beach would require an EIA, which the developer had agreed to in 2017.

“The EIA should cover both the land and coastal elements of the proposed project, as the two are presented by the applicant as being inextricably linked,” she said.

Detailing the numerous concerns in its screening opinion, the DoE experts outlined the excessive density of this proposed new community, which would be rolled out over the next 12 to13 years. It includes almost 400 condos, 58 house lots, 4,480 rooms in multiple hotels, around 100,000 square feet of new retail spaces, and a 220 slip marina and fuel station.

The first of several hotels proposed for the project is already underway even before the PAD has been approved. The Hotel Indigo received planning permission earlier this year after the DoE conducted its screening exercise and concluded there was no need for an EIA as it was already able to assess the likely impact without one.

The department made a number of recommendations, including an assessment to establish if the rooms were needed and fit into the government’s proposed future development plans. But the CPA failed to make that a condition of approval and the only recommendation from the DoE that was added to the conditions was the requirement for turtle-friendly lighting.

Given that this latest hotel will have a significant impact in the public beach area of Seven Mile Beach, the DoE also used it to illustrate the density and scale of the proposed wider PAD. “The Hotel Indigo contained 282 guestrooms and therefore, the proposed PAD will include the equivalent of 16 ten-storey hotels as well as large scale residential development and retail development.”

Across the PAD the Dart Group is planning various transects, so where it plans to build residential apartments it is seeking approval for lot coverage of 70%, compared to the maximum of 40% currently allowed in a high density residential zone. In the hotel district the developer wants to use up as much land as possible, at 90% compared to the current maximum of 40% allowed on land zoned Hotel/Tourism.

“The Proposed Development… is a very dense development with no public amenity, civic space or retained natural spaces proposed,” the DoE said.

If the plan is approved, over 40 acres of mangrove within the site is at risk, as the remaining wetlands in this area falls within the development transects. This loss wold be in addition to the 27 acres of mangroves that Dart had already removed for the Karroo site that it has never replaced. Alongside the mangroves under threat are several native bird species, including the West Indian whistling-duck, the Greater Antillean grackle, the white-crowned pigeon, the snowy egret, and the Cayman Islands national bird, the Cayman Parrot.

The list of concerns with the PAD is long, not least the fact that there are no public beach accesses proposed in the PAD and more than a dozen existing ones are at risk.

“The PAD is silent on the provision of public beach access,” the DoE said in the screening report, pointing out that the planning law requires at the very least eleven beach access points for a project covering as much ocean front as this. “With no public beach accesses proposed and given the loss of public beach access via the existing buildings within the PAD, it is likely that the proposed development will exclude existing users of the beach. The right to beach access is key to Caymanian culture and heritage,” the department added.

Ebanks-Petrie said that the EIA would be needed for a range of reasons and told the council members that in addition to the need to establish the environmental effects of the PAD and any potential mitigation for those adverse effects, the developer should establish the need for such land use and activities at this location.

Major significant adverse effects on the environment due to the loss of protected species are detailed in the DoE screening document, as well as the issues relating to climate change. But Ebanks-Petrie told the council that the loss of public access to Seven Mile Beach, adverse impacts on water quality from the canal and marina development, the socioeconomic impact from 4,480 hotel rooms in multiple hotels, as well as hundreds of new condos, houses and shops all had to be considered as well.

The NCC voted unanimously to recommend the EIA before the CPA grants approval.


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (119)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    One step closer for Caymanians to understand the plight of the Hawiians.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s going to happen anyway and it will be an environmental S***show.
    Any questions?
    No?
    Saved Millions in EIA.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “would see the loss of over 40 acres of mangrove, and would threaten various plants and bird species, as well as turtle nesting beaches.”

    Really? Planning.. the people are watching. Make your decision wisely or you all maybe disappearing like the mangroves.

  4. Annon says:

    We are so very F…..!

  5. Anonymous says:

    DART has 600? employees, many are Caymanians. Lets hope that this PAD can go back to the drawing board to be something more palatable and less dense. How about innovating something completely different that protects and preserves wildlife habitat, replant natural picnic areas, incorporates mindfulness, ensures beach access for all. Build in equal opportunities and a quantity of affordable housing, provide backyard gardens and water refill stations. Worship, education and carnival. Renewables from the ground up and zero waste solutions. Embrace nature, colour and be Caribbean.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at the map above and see how much beach will be taken from Caymanians and handed to the owners and renters of his development.
      Beach access rights ..? Don’t make me laugh.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t just look at the map, seek to understand it and you will learn quickly that you are full of shit.

    • Anonymous says:

      If that’s what you want, build it yourself.

    • Just another Caymanian says:

      Ah, yes. It sounds good, but it will become a disaster area in a few years. Dart has never been interested in anything to benefit the Caymanian people because he isn’t interested in the future of Caymanians. He is interesting in adding to the billions of dollars ]he already has . How can anyone be so incredlbly greedy! How much damn money do you want, Mr. Dart?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Their priorities are wrong, they should fix the old hyatt first before they do other projects – whilst at it they need to fix Royal Palms and Calico Jacks! Also have you seen the beach in front of his house? Disappeared….These eyesores is what Dart will be remembered by… shame really as I love Camana Bay.

  7. Anonymous says:

    camana bay looks run down and they want another one?

  8. Fed up says:

    My Premier please stop making it so easy to get work permits!!
    Caymanians are suffering under these sociopaths that have no empathy for caymanians and fire them just for fun. Add an arm to immigration that will investigate the authenticity of work permits and how caymanians are treated in their work place. Please give immigration more power.

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you talking about? Dart only fires the lazy caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      …and Caymanian status and birthrights too.

      The newcomers always seem to get everything offered to locals and more that often slips through the hands of local multi-generational people that work just as hard (and often harder) for the same things.

    • Anonymous says:

      Honest question – why would an employer fire a Caymanian “just for fun” if they are otherwise good at their job and an asset to the business?

      • Anonymous says:

        Loaded question but there are many employers here where the general employee culture is not Cayman (and in many instances, anti-Caymanian). Caymanians just don’t fit in with them.

        • Anonymous says:

          There are over a hundred nationalities that work here and in many industries that Dart operates in the employees are from wildly different backgrounds.

          Why would being Caymanians (who are a wonderfully worldly people to begin with) find that harder than others?

          Again, is the idea REALLY that employers are getting rid of high quality Caymanians for no good reason to replace them with foreigners who then require a work permit fee?

          In every industry I know on Island, people are desperate to find good Caymanians interested in the role. The notion that there is widespread anti-Caymanian sentiment that means bright and hard working locals are fired for no reason goes against logic and business sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          What utter BS. Great Caymanian workers (and I have had the honour of working with many) are incredible people an dfrom an employer point of view, no work permit required! Win-win!

      • Anonymous says:

        Many will hire friends and family overseas. If you don’t believe it, just follow some of the locations’ workers on instagram. XXXX

        Once worc sees that you had a token Caymanian on your roster for a short while and had to let them go (during their no-questions-asked probation period, generally), the door is wide open for an immigrant worker. After all, they tried their best to hire the best local that was available to them. /s

        Also to consider is the level of control employers have over immigrants. Dangle that work permit on a stick with the threat of sending them back home to the lives they were desperate to leave behind, and you have some very malleable, often underpaid (and often overworked) human beings. Caymanians will often not work for the low wages that immigrants will. They will certainly not put up with the attitude and humiliation that many immigrant workers receive.

        Make no mistake: Caymanians hire friends and family too, but in these cases at least they are hiring Caymanians in their home land, not bringing in immigrant workers to deny jobs to natives.

        There is a lot of extremely shady, cliquey things that happen here. You don’t need to look much further than the real estate cartel, filled to the brim with first-time restaurant/bar servers with 6 months experience.

      • Anonymous says:

        In my case, although I excelled at my job, I was fired after repeatedly refusing to participate in unlawful, verging on criminal, conduct. Reports were made to relevant enforcement authorities and they did nothing. Corruption is rife.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry to hear that, but that sounds like you were fired because of a criminal employer, not because you were Caymanian.

          • Anonymous says:

            The whole issue was based on lies to regulators. All directed from overseas. All the expats were fine with it and participated in in. It was very much a Caymanian/Expat thing. The expats won.

            • Anonymous says:

              If everyone else was fine with it and nothing happened despite you reporting it, I suspect there’s another side to your story.

              • Anonymous says:

                Fronting? False advertising on work permits? Cocaine use amongst key executives? This is mainstream. It was then, and it is now.

                • Anonymous says:

                  All based on your word… Got an ax to grind? Fired for being a poor employee? Gee, let’s add unverified vitrol to the fire!

      • Anonymous says:

        They wouldn’t. This is the ‘poor me’ cry of someone who couldn’t meet the expectations of the role

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think people realize that every country in the world is an international job market no matter where you go. When I was in Canada the Canadian workers took on average 6 sick days a year and wouldn’t put in a minute of extra effort. The migrant workers took no sick time and did what ever it took to get the job done. Guess what I hired migrants and paid them properly!! No one deserves a job because of their ethnicity you deserve a job based on your ethic. I heard a local woman complaining in the coffee shop the other day that her child can get a job and that she deserves…deserves? Why because of your race? If you think in any developed country on earth that an employer will hire you based on your race you’re ignorant. Migrant workers are everywhere if you wan the job over them then work harder than them for the same money !!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, he’s had his masterplan for decades…Caymanians just never knew it…

    • Anonymous says:

      I can assure you that plan was publicized about 20 years ago!
      Am I the only one that remembers that??

      I even remember when people went nuts when the plan for CB was their own;
      housing, grocery, shopping, schools, post office, docks, gym, etc. And it was hinted that it would be gated for only those that could afford to live there, but we see of course that was scaremongering or maybe that plan changed when people got their pitchforks out (rightfully!!).

  10. Anonymous says:

    ‘the loss of over 40 acres of mangrove, and would threaten various plants and bird species, as well as turtle nesting beaches. The development poses a risk to water quality from the canals and marina, and direct threats to the marine environment because it would remove beachrock from Seven Mile Beach’

    This alone should make sure that this idea never sees the light of day but too many people make too much money and too many palms are greased. Just deal with it Cayman. This started a long time ago.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Another nail in the coffin for Cayman

  12. Anonymous says:

    Please, just one more sight “promised” to the people for a music venue gone just like the “Taste Off “ before it….. Look at the Old Britannia and the MESS They are using to make their point. If fined daily as they should be that eye sore would be gone but it’s a filthy monument to remind us all they are untouchable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where were you when the previous owner left the Hyatt as an empty shell for the first 10 years?

      • Chris Johnson says:

        That is in consequential. The point being made is why has Dart done nothing to remove this eyesore that hundreds of tourists will be looking at shortly. It is 16 years since the hurricane passed. Can some one not make a decision? Typical CIG.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Privately owned land that is zoned for these purposes. Private land owners should be able to apply to develop their privately owned land.

    So when other people build a new home, do they not clear the land?

  14. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    Might as well go through the motions, for all the difference it will make.

    We are already well beyond the level of development in which the average middle-class tourist wants. They used to come here for the sleepy little Caribbean country without high-rises and overdevelopment.

    The super riche may still be interested in coming here, for all the trickling that may eventually drip down to benefit the people.

    I wonder when the little slice of public beach at SMB will be lost from public use.

    I don’t dislike or envy Mr. Dart. I just don’t like being part of his personal playground.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with everything you said except the part about public beach. We have already lost public beach by government allowing it to become a s**t hole full of vendors and crap.

      • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

        One may be a symptom of the other; there was a time where we — the public — could walk a lot of sand on our own beach, set the sand during the day, perhaps under the shade of our umbrella, swim in the sea, eat, drink and enjoy our sovereign right to our beach.

        That beach has reduced in size by quite a bit. Am I wrong in believing that the accessible Public Beach is less than 500 meters?

        • Anonymous says:

          Every part of every beach is free for the public to peaceably enjoy, right back to the natural vegetation line. No one should ever surrender on that issue. Stand your ground (even if ownership is with someone else, that does not allow them to impede your prescriptive right to peaceable enjoyment and use).

          • Chris Johnson says:

            Totally right. Pity the fishmongers have stopped access to Red Spot Beach in town used by Caymanians for years. All for the sake of a few guys flogging their unhealthy products. Like Kel Thompson they build a concrete pad with no planning permission. Enforcement where are you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What the hell is wrong with rich d%#^s like Bezos & Dart etc. – all the money in the world and leaving legacy’s of phalic rocket rides and destroying a Country and its environments because they can. A seriously short circuit somewhere and certainly a far stretch from Mr VanDevelds claim of ‘responsible stewards of land’

    • Anonymous says:

      “a far stretch from Mr VanDevelds claim of ‘responsible stewards of land’” Best part of this comment.
      Lol

  16. Anon says:

    I’m sure all of you spouting your anti Dart rhetoric have never driven on his roads used his facilities ( Caymana bay) benefited from his investment or employment whatsoever ?
    If you are true to your cause you’ll stay well away ?
    But guess what ? You won’t because your all hypocrites

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re

    • B says:

      I came to this island 15 years ago and i can assure you it was a much nice place then. Dart has ruined this island. Why do you think so many Caymanians are pi$$ed to see what is happening to the island. They have a point of perspective.

    • Anonymous says:

      And yew carnt right English, pal.

    • Anonymous says:

      “you’re”

    • Anonymous says:

      Assured to know Dart is hiring the best PR people 🤡

    • Anonymous says:

      People dont like one dude owning like 50% of cayman – also some CNS commenters are tree huggers and think protecting 3 acres of swamp land will solve global warming.

      I agree with you, Camana bay is nice. Do we need a new huge development? probs not. Will it happen anyways? yes.

    • Anonymous says:

      3:58 is there a choice? STFU!
      No one benefits from more environmental destruction.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep.

    • Anonymous says:

      3:58pm – Not sure why you don’t think people can exist here w/o using ‘his’ facilities. By the way it is actually Camana Bay not Caymana Bay dingdong. If you are going to berate invisible people and call them names, at least get it right. Kind of takes the wind out of your argument when you can’t even spell (*you’re).

      I can 100% promise you that there are many of us (both expat and local) that DO NOT use his facilities. And that is intentional, at least on my part. So, that’s a resounding “yes”, and we will continue to stay away until he has bought up so much of the island including George Town (almost got all of that now), there won’t be any more places to go. He’s at about 80% or more including LC and the Brac…

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      It seems a tad telling that you characterise it as “his roads”. Do you hear yourself? Certainly his facilities are his own. It is certainly my choice, and I choose to not frequent his establishments, although I admit to having once taken my Bride to the Kimpton right after it was built for our anniversary.

      I am not advocating for not frequenting his establishments. Not at all. If you feel the need, go. Dart builds beautiful things.

      I am advocating the CIG not allowing him to own a greater percentage of the Cayman Islands. I feel we are in jeopardy of losing ourselves, and our heritage. I don’t feel that Dart has supported Caymanian heritage.

      As said before, I have nothing against Kenneth Dart or his organisations. I too, would make great changes if I had his money. My changes would be more supportive of my people. I would build a trade school on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and it would be free enrollment to Caymanians. I would fund CINICO, or perhaps another carrier, and make health care less expensive with more coverage for all residents. I would purchase key portions of the three islands and give them to the control of National Trust. I would create a measured fund which helped people to acquire land and farm it.

      I think he has enough control, and further efforts should be truncated.

  17. J.A.Roy Bodden says:

    Andrew Morris Gerrard (Bless his soul ) must be turning in his grave .

    • Anonymous says:

      You keep quoting him Roy, but he wasn’t the only one who warned about the future….remember Peter Lloyd on the “Fiji problem”? But never forget, it is we Caymanians and our governments, including yours, who are responsible for this, not the UK, the colonialists blah blah, it is us!

      • Anonymous says:

        Roy is a one trick pony. He had his chance to enact change.

        • Chris Johnson says:

          And your sir has done what for our island.

        • Anonymous says:

          8.11pm Wasn’t he part of Mac’s government that gave all those Jamaicans status and changed the face of Cayman. Now we still paying for it as they control the vote. That was the change which was not for the better.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Where is the public campsite and the dog park Dart had on the original public beach drawings? It was between the Kimpton and the new 10 story hotel they are building.

  19. Anonymous says:

    environmental impact assessment = fu3king huge impact. There you go, saved some tens of thousands of dollars and a few months.

    End result – it will still be built.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Now we all know how this will end. DART get what DART wants. It amazes me how silent all the eco warriors are when it comes to development in this side of the island. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that most of them live there?!! Hmmm.

    There are several developments (just north of Strand and Island Heritage roundabout) that have flattened over 40 acres of mangroves!!! Yet, not a peep from the environmentalist!!!

    All a bunch of hypocrites.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:39 pm Excellent points !! Haters gonna hate

    • Anonymous says:

      ridiculous comment. people have been voicing their concerns about that area and literally attending th CPA meetings to observe and show their discontent.. pay attention and stop using the fact that you personally didnt hear it that the people havent been saying anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      ridiculous comment. just because you haven’t been paying attention to what the environmentalists have been doing doesnt mean they havent been speaking up against this bs.
      people have been voicing their concerns stridently about that area and even attending the CPA meetings to observe process and display their discontent. you should really pay better attention to the movement if you think you have so much to say about hypocrisy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This development is not needed. What happen to the tourism law about restricting building new hotels until the current ones are all at 80% capacity. This needs to stop, we are not south beach.

  22. Anonymous says:

    16 x 10 storey hotels

  23. Anonymous says:

    That is right, Dart will get what they want when they want. This development is urgently needed for all that this great organization does for Cayman.

    • Dart lobbyists abound! says:

      OK loyal Dart employee, please go beat your own drum somewhere else Dart owns property like Jamaica, British Columbia, Mexico, Bahamas, Argentina, Portugal, New Zealand. See you have plenty of choices, now go support some environmental havoc and terraforming somewhere else and leave our island alone to nature for a change.

    • Anonymous says:

      Darts Architects will design it, his construction company will build it, his real estate company will market it, his landscape company , his in house lawyers , in house accountants , his political connections will all see it through to the end.
      Don’t forget also that the public beach as well as other beaches will become his development’s private reserve.
      What’s in it for Cayman..? You tell me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah yeah I know, stamp duty and import duties to government and some employment for local imported labor.

        • Anonymous says:

          LOL!! That’s rich. You’re an idiot if you don’t think this man gets waivers of both stamp duties AND import duties.
          Where have you been?? You new here? Yep, you’re new here. Still wet behind them ears…

          • Anonymous says:

            Thanks 12.28, that makes the “what’s in it” comment even more meaningful.

          • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

            You can make a more sound point without insulting the person you’re responding to.

            You’re an idiot if you don’t see that. See what I did there?

        • Anonymous says:

          DART will not pay those fees.

          Mac and Alden made deals with DART, for what reasons?

          Who benefits?

          NOT Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        Shut up as the Dart organization is the best thing to happen to Cayman. Anyone who does not like the Dart plans should be made to leave Cayman. Premier Alden needs to get the power as he and the old CPA knew how it must go. Look at all the great jobs they provide us.

        • Anonymous says:

          6:40 pm your comment is pure gold

        • Anonymous says:

          We existed and lived modestly in the Cayman Islands long before Kenneth Dart stumbled flatfaced on our shores.

          We now see his true colors. The trust fund manchild has only come to inflict his signature black label brand of financial and environmental dictatorship and turmoil on our local people, while we naively welcomed him and his miscreants with open arms and kind hearts.

          Somebody needs to leave, but it is not Caymanians.

          It is Dart and other ‘status’ holders like him that give Caymanians a bad name and the sour taste in the mouths of the international community. We as locals get to take all the whiplashing, shunning and scorning, while people like him get to reap all the benefits from our labour and disassociate from us when it is convenient.

          Dart doesn’t hire workers. He basically rents people stupid enough to become slaves for his dirty deeds and disposes of them like the styrofoam cups that made his father rich and funded his inheritance.

          So….I surely hope you know who you are defending. He is not the angel his minions make him out to be and the spell only seems to break after they have been dismissed from the bottom of the totem pole.

          • Anonymous says:

            This greed is passed on to his people who now throw their weight around as they get their fingers into local businesses like real estate sales, at the expense of locals.

            • Anonymous says:

              At least you have finally acknowledged the source nod your bitterness. If you were better at your job you wouldn’t need to worry about them.

              • Anonymous says:

                10.12 actually I have no skin in the game, just wish they would leave alone those industries where locals can earn a crust .
                Is that unreasonable.?

        • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

          “Anyone who does not like the Dart plans should be made to leave Cayman.”

          You show your had there, comrade. Many of those you are insulting were born here. Others are generational Caymanians who have status. Still others are worthy former expats who have invested themselves and their lives here and are Caymanians by virtue of being Status Holders.

          Shall we all leave then, because we dont endorse your island domination plan? Good luck with than, son — and I mean this kindly — please don’t test those parameters.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quid pro quo and leverage, perfect for a Countries underlying need for development 🤡

  24. Anonymous says:

    Dart is like a runaway train. Can someone put the brakes on?

  25. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    Let’s see how our new PACT govt will fair out on this one.

  26. Anonymous says:

    You people are so ignorant. Now they will just piecemeal develop it like the rest of the SMB area.

    • Anonymous says:

      1:36 you are absolutely correct!!

      How the hell can you do an EIA unless you have specifics of the development which they don’t have at this point? All the application does is suggest general uses, for which subsequent separate applications would be required at which point you would have enough detail to do an EIA.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dart doesn’t have the specifics of what they have planned? Lol. I bet Dart has “The Dart Islands Year 2100 Strategy”

        • Anonymous says:

          2:07 the PAD regulations do not require that level of detail at this point in the application process. Get a grip and read and understand the Regs

    • E. Benedict says:

      You mean like they would do on a normal island, as opposed to an island where everything is owned by one man ?

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