CPA allows mangrove removal without plan

| 08/09/2021 | 86 Comments
Cayman News Service
Area of mangrove habitat that CPA granted permission to be cleared

(CNS) UPDATED: Another slice of Grand Cayman’s primary mangrove habitat is going to be destroyed in North Side after yet another surprising decision by the new Central Planning Authority. The Department of Environment had advised the CPA not to permit a 0.37-acre plot off Old Robin Road to be cleared of this important and protected species, at least until the developer, who CNS has learned is the planning minister’s father, submits plans and gets planning permission to build something on it. However, the new board granted permission regardless.

The previous CPA had been concerned about the clearing of this lot and had adjourned the application to allow the owner time to submit more information and come before the board to explain the need for the speculative removal of mangroves.

But during a meeting on 4 August, the CPA granted planning permission to Johnny Ebanks, who CNS has since learned is the planning minister Jay Ebanks father, and architects Caribbean Home Planners, to clear and fill the land along Sailors Way, North Side. Neither Ebanks nor anyone representing him attended the meeting or provide any new information on why this mangrove habitat should be completely removed on a speculative basis, something the DoE has been urging the board to avoid.

According to the minutes, no new information was submitted to the planning department.

In their submissions, the technical experts at the DoE had clearly set out all of the reasons why mangroves should not be removed at all, but if they must be removed for development on private land, they explained why this should be done in a way that allows some of them to be retained within the design of whatever future development is built and to allow as much mangrove habitat to remain, thereby storing carbon for as long as possible.

The DoE said it did not support such speculative clearing of land. “We encourage applicants to submit proposals for land clearing along with their proposals for development as there may be varying recommendations for vegetation retention depending on the form and nature of the development being proposed,” the DoE explained.

“We often recommend the retention of any wetland vegetation located outside of the development footprint to assist with on-site drainage,” which is an obvious advantage to the landowner as mangroves act as natural sponges.

“Mangrove forests are a critical part of our natural environment, providing several ecosystem services which include assisting to mitigate the effects of climate change,” the experts explained as they detailed all of the reasons for not clearing the land, including their ability to sequester carbon.

“The large scale removal of significant tracts of mangrove habitat reduces the island’s natural carbon sequestration potential and the removal of mature vegetation and de-mucking of the site has the potential to release captured carbon back into the atmosphere,” the DoE noted.

In this case, the applicant was given permission to clear all of the seasonally flooded mangrove and fill the entire plot, which clearly flies in the face of the current stated government policy to manage climate change.

According the minutes of the meeting, planning permission was granted because the board “considered the application and determined that planning permission would be granted as the application complies with the Development and Planning Regulations”. No other justification was given and the CPA did not say how the DoE’s advice had been weighed in that consideration.

The CPA did not state why, after the application had been adjourned specifically to allow the developer a chance to appear before the board and to supply more information, permission was granted in the absence of both.

See the minutes in the CNS Library.


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (86)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Waynes little trip down the LGBT Gay Pride road had you all fooled huh? the man has no principles and he showed us that when he joined forces with a convicted drug dealer and a convicted women beater. Sorry but cant say it any clearer than that. He is no messiah he is just the same and the rest or worse!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ministry shuffle tout suite

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your laws don’t provide for CPA to stop this. If you want a different result you need to change the law. The law you’ve got is specifically designed to allow people to do whatever they want in most cases. The restrictions are very few.

  4. Anonymous says:

    No mangrove means no roots means no island! Do they want Cayman to be underwater?

  5. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    What do we need to do to get Direct Rule from her Majesty’s government?
    PACT will protect the mangroves blah blah blah

    Sadly, Direct Rule is our only hope.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m really sorry Elvis McKeever didn’t get elected instead of JuJu. At least with him as Minister of Agriculture we would all be growing our own weed to help ease the pain of watching PACT shred every promise they made about the environment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I came here for a tropical island, nature, wildlife and community. WTF is this place

  8. Anonymous says:

    12:42 even you know that’s a Stupid comment.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So that’ll be the same Johnny Ebanks whose son just happens to be Jay Ebanks, the MP for North Side.
    Well that didn’t take long.

  10. Anonymous says:

    New government, new millionaires

  11. Anonymous says:

    Seems like the old Jamaican saying here is relevant “ we swap monkey for black dog” !

  12. Anonymous says:

    Its a house lot in a subdivision that was done before the requirement to fill was brought in. Not sure why people are up in arms. Its not connected to the sea at all. Bunch of cry babies nowadays…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians trashing their own island quick time.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This stinks to high heaven. Looks like business as the pigs feed from the trough. Ah well, as you were everyone. More of the same.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I presume all the posters who are so concerned about the environment are typing their comments from the comfort of their homes which were once mangrove wetlands?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmm.. and if they are, is that any reason to continue the destruction of our island?

      • Anonymous says:

        As long as it’s at someone else’s expense it’s ok. If government want to protect land they need to buy it. Otherwise you should all donate your land back to Mother Nature as well

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d say you’re Bluffing

  16. Anonymous says:

    More money, more greasing of politicians. No shame. Sickening. A once beautiful oasis destroyed for a VERY short term profit. Disgusting

  17. Anonymous says:

    Corruption or Ignorance? Let’s not forget Handel Whittaker from North Side is Deputy Chair of planning. Things that make you go hmmmm. The board knew the contractor is Jay’s father. Even more disconcerting. The new Ministers are learning on the job but the CPA know better but gave approval after the fact.
    The new Premier and Jay clearly have mixed agendas. This is what happens with a group of individuals. I am very disgusted but not surprised.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did the NRA just paved the road to that property as well? Wonder who decided to do that.

      • I'll be damned says:

        I hope thats false or pure coincidence. Otherwise that is just blatant disrespect and self serving at its best.

        Had my doubts, not with a new government because I respected that the country wanted a change, but my issue was assigning such heavy and wide ranging responsibilities to persons who were clearly not as experienced, knowledgable, or educated just to form a government of like minds and yes men when there are others more capable and better suited for the task. You brush that off and say let’s give everyone a chance, clean slate. Only to see the bull start so early. Are they that stupid to think these moves wont be noticed, that greedy and inexperienced or that narcissitic?

        And I dont want to hear nothing about no knowledge of this, no link, not anything self serving, its an old subdivision, etc. You all want to play big boys, act like one and assume that anything and everything you do in as an MP with the peoples money, vote, resources and as a representative will be scrutinzed and that you should be held accountable.

        So when a PLANNING item that is already flagged with an enviornemntal concern or exception is approved without the requested party even being present to advocate for their case that is SUSPECT but if said newly paved NRA road is also true, we need an investigation, somebody better get an assessment of them books and approvals for them ministries and audit what, when and why such decisions and approvals are being granted, moves are happening at LIGHTENING SPEED might I say.

        • D. Truth says:

          Quote, ” just blatant disrespect and self serving”. That pretty well tells it all! Just more trough feeders.

      • Anonymous says:

        NRA just paved the whole of North Side

      • Mr. History says:

        Was there a woman operating one of the paving machines?

    • Anonymous says:

      Handel only knows how to run a bar that caters to cruise shippers, they come and leave quick so bad service is ok. He is in there to destroy his/our island and cant wait to get up to Barkers Beach / Dart Beach to destroy that too. Just a Dart kiss ass person Get him out asap.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Someone’s on the take, you can be sure of it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Jay’s dealings coming into public view earlier than expected.

  20. Dump the CPA board now says:

    I agree with a few of the above posters.

    The board needs to be disbanded and have “disinterested” parties take control.

    They must sign and attest to a new document stating that they have a fiduciary responsibility to the environment and people of the Cayman Islands. Then they can be prosecuted for violating this responsibility.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Very disappointed Wayne. No vote next go-round. Expected it from your predecessor NOT from you!

    • Brian Hopper says:

      After already covering Grand Cayman with enough buildings and cement to practically sink the island and without considering or respecting the environment, the time has arrived to begin the process of changing the constitution to have all members of the CPA be elected by the voting public. For decades the CPA has been totally controlled by business men. Underline the word “men”. It does not and has not represented a true sample of the Cayman population. Why are there not women, various professions (eg. medical, legal, biologists, veterinarians, teachers etc.) represented on that committee? Membership on the CPA are “the old gang”. essentially owned by the construction and business men on the island. Next step is develop an organization to pursue this important goal.

  22. same puppy dog says:

    same puppy dog

  23. Anonymous says:

    PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT IN CONSTITUTION

    In the Cayman Islands, there is a constitutional fundamental right to protection of the environment: section 18 of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights (“BoR”).

    “Government shall, in all its decisions, have due regard to the need to foster and protect an environment that is not harmful to the health or well-being of present and future generations, while promoting justifiable economic and social development”: s.18(1), BoR.

    “To this end government should adopt reasonable legislative and other measures to protect the heritage and wildlife and the land and sea biodiversity of the Cayman Islands that – (a) limit pollution and ecological degradation; (b) promote conservation and biodiversity; and (c) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources”: s.18(2), BoR.

    LAWFUL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN CONSTITUTION

    “All decisions and acts of public officials must be lawful, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair”: s.19(1), BoR.

    “Every persons whose interests have been adversely affected by such a decision or act has the right to request and be given written reasons for that decision or act”: s.19(2), BoR.

    Duty of Public Officials in Constitution

    “It is unlawful for a public official to make a decision or to act in a way that is incompatible with the Bill of Rights”: s.24, BoR.

  24. Anonymous says:

    WHY

  25. Anonymous says:

    Seems like PACT’s primary objective is nothing less than to discredit themselves and be a sacrafice for a PPM”s return to power, – honestly didn’t see it coming

  26. JTB says:

    OK so the new CPA is becoming a serious and urgent problem. They g\have turned out to be even more of a developers’ rubber stamp than the last lot, which I would have frankly said was impossible.

    Wayne needs to take ownership of this issue. Quickly.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Must be nice to be the father of the Minister responsible for planning and the appointment of the CPA

  28. Seine Man says:

    Totally disgusting! XXXXX When is enough enough? Why is this allowed? “TOTALLY DISGUSTING”! Where are the watchdogs?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Good God. This new CPA is an environmental horror story! What PACT doing??

  30. Anonymous says:

    How much longer before we outside the Government building with torches and pitchforks?

    • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

      11:41 you joking? We are on 3 islands with key board warriors. That’s all we do.

      • Tony says:

        Seems to me Bobo, we got a lot of keyboard whiners, No warriors. I’m a 30 year expat, & C.I. has rolled over for money. Pity.

  31. anon against ignorance says:

    At this rate the current CPA seemingly would approve a 10 story hotel with pool and tennis courts in the Botanic Park!. Cannot Govt request a judicial review of this baffling decision?.

    • Anonymous says:

      NCC

    • Anonymous says:

      No shit, now that’s a great idea!

      An Eco lodge (PACT style) in the middle of the Botanic Park – Old fella Lawrus you need to start working on those plans immediately.

      Financing will be much much easier for this one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Review? What about the CPA approval of the wall on Boggy Sand Road in West Bay? They should be cow itched, tarred and gassed. What a set of idiots. Approval for the destruction of the beach and the wetlands. Get your heads out of the ground and breathe some fresh air.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Boggy Sands cabana decision and now this. It is becoming clear that the new CPA board is cut from the same developers cloth as the last destructive board.

    • D. Truth says:

      Where are the people who are supposed to prevent corruption in our government? Have they ever acted to prevent corruption? Have they ever even hinted that there is corruption in our government? If not, why not? The people of the Cayman Islands deserve better!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes! It’s because they care more about money than they do about anything else……… including the Cayman Islands.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Why have the DoE if their recommendations are ignored?

    Power-broker Caymanians have sold out their country, plan and simple.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think anyone predicted that the new CPA would have us looking back fondly on the old one

  35. Anonymous says:

    The Premier is doing a great job with the subject matters that fall within the responsibility of his ministry.

  36. Anonymous says:

    You mean Johnny Ebanks, the Northside MP’s father? The MP that is responsible for Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure?

    You dont say

    • Anonymous says:

      I know. You’d think if there was an application to try to at least look like you were giving it a thorough review this would be it. Especially with the old CPA’s ruling to fall back on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is Johnny Johnny Otis Ebanks or is there another Johnny in North Side?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Wayne time remove some of these board members they making you look like fool as Premier

  38. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone have a plan in Cayman ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. I plan to extract as much money from this rock as I can and build a better life elsewhere.

      • Tony says:

        May I suggest New Orleans. R.E is real cheap there now. Elsewhere is where you to be. Me thinks you have never even been to C.I.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. Obviously the CPA and developers have a plan. It may not be in the best interest of the island or the people but it apparently works for them. This is disgusting. I voted for this government hoping the CPA decisions would be more rational; it is not taking long to realize I was wrong to think that.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Jay Ebanks MP for North Side has people in the right position looking out for his interests

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the biggest mistakes was electing Mac’s yes man. The house needs an Ezzard Miller, unfortunately too late, big mistake.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ezzard Miller has education and good common sense, what his misfit will never garner. He was outspoken and that’s what people didn’t like.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Come on PACT appointees, this is more than ridiculous and smacks of some sinister plot behind it all. How can you fly in the face of the Preservation policy eschewed by the now government. Hon Premier there is nothing wrong in replacing who you have to replace Sir. No excuses tolerated.

  41. SMH says:

    Isn’t Johnny Ebanks the father of Minister of Panning Jay Ebanks? Cayman is like the twilight zone. This CPA board are showing they are as feckless as the last set of conflicted drones eager to please politicians and their business interests. SMH

  42. Llareggub says:

    You only reap just what you sow

  43. Anonymous says:

    Good. Less mosquito breeding habitat. Thanks Wayne and Jay.

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