CPA defies NCC order to clear Boggy Sand cabana

| 07/09/2021 | 74 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cabana at Boggy Sand (photo by the DoE)

(CNS): Any hopes that the new Central Planning Authority would pay more attention to sustainable development than the old board were dashed this week with news that the controversial application to build a two-storey cabana at Boggy Sand Beach and replace the existing failing seawall on a similar footprint was approved, despite a lawful order from the National Conservation Council via the Department of Environment.

The shocking decision paves the way for an even bigger cabana than the one currently falling into the sea, complete with glass panels and a curved seawall, a mere 18 inches further back than the present wall.

The approval will not only continue the negative impact of the beach erosion and threats to the marine life at the actual site along the much-loved stretch of West Bay beach but will also have an impact on other problematic seawalls or beach structures that are causing concern along Grand Cayman’s coast.

In this instance the DoE had directed the CPA to refuse this application because there are simply no mitigating measures to prevent the negatives and almost certain failure of the structure.

Although the DoE had previously raised the possibility of a specialist curved sea wall as a potential solution, the department’s most recent submissions about the application indicated the need to consider a managed retreat.

But during the CPA hearing last Wednesday, not one member asked the landowner about that prospect and the idea of re-cultivating the beach as an amenity for the two properties the applicant owns next to the parcel in question. Questions asked by CPA members were largely about the wall and the future prospects of its survival, which the engineer admitted he could not answer as there were no guarantees it would work.

The applicants, Cayman Property Investments Ltd, were represented by Michael Alberga, who argued that despite the directive from the NCC via the DoE, under the planning law the landowner, his client Justin Schmidt, had an obligation to repair the structure.

Little was said about the directive from the DoE, even though the planning director raised it and put it before the board members for consideration, and no one asked any questions or raised any concerns about the significant environmental issues with this application.

The previous CPA had declined an earlier application to repair the sea wall and add a house to the footprint, largely because of the setbacks, which were non-existent despite the legal requirement for a minimum setback of 75 feet from the high water mark.

But this latest decision by the new CPA may prove to be unlawful, not just because there is no justification for the setback waivers but also because of the defiance of the order from the NCC via the DoE. A spokesperson from the DoE told CNS that this “was pretty serious” and the department would be meeting with the NCC today to discuss the issue.

CNS has also contacted Premier Wayne Panton, who is the minister for sustainability and climate resiliency and has made this type of issue a central platform of his reform agenda, and we are awaiting a response.

The project plans depict a two-storey structure on a curved wall that will be constructed within the current footprint and then the old sea wall will be taken down. The current failing structure is already in the sea but the proposed replacement cabana will also be surrounded by glass.

While the architects said the construction work will take place when there is beach cover at the site, this was based on the claim that there will be around five months when the structure will not be in the sea, even though there is little evidence that this is true.

It has been several years now since the current structure was not in the water and had any significant build-up of sand around the base for more than two or three months. While Hurricanes Delta and Eta brought some sand last November, by February the beach was once again barely visible. Finding a long enough window of opportunity to do the work when the waves are not lapping at the wall will be difficult.

The problems surrounding the construction of a seawall that is already in the ocean was illustrated recently with the problems at Regal Beach condos at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (74)

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  1. nauticalone345 says:

    I’m just now getting around to comment on this….I am near speechless that a new Govt. that creates a Ministry of Environment and Sustainability (or something of such) would approve this nonsense!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Golden Rule again: Gold rules! Cayman can soon loose itself to servitude to the rich around the world who will lock up all the beaches, waterfronts, and keep us out of great swaths of guarded, gated, land.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A “good” public servant or politician will ever ask for money, instead he or she will ask to be appointed to where the money is.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the members do not have the intelligence to have asked the right questions or understand the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nah, They just wanting more money. Somebody pay them to do like they say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Handel had a lot of applications turned down by CPA Board. As Deputy Chair of the current Board it is in his best interest to approve everything that comes before him. This way there is precedent for anything that he applies for later. The dredging in Barkers should be completed before year’s end.

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    CPA on track to have Cayman under water 100 years…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why was this approved?

  8. Anonymous says:

    McKeewa Rules! – should be obvious by now – Wayne is just fronting.

    • Ona hear this says:

      Conflicts abound

      Something very fishy here including one Ashton Bodden- Cayman Brac being appointed to thisBoard, CIAA and who knows what else. You don’t to tell me he is the only uncorrupt available person from the BrC that can sit on both PPM and PACT Board. Why doesn’t anyone see that both father and Son now sitting on the Same board. What’s going on ?

      As to the rest of Board members where are your cojones Gillard, Peter, Handel and the rest, are you taking this as your time to feed at the trough or you just useless Mind ya mind ya.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jay , Mac, Saunders and Kenneth plotting a coup .
      Watch your back Wayne, if that happens just walk across to the PPM ,JuJu will follow you , to form a new Mac less government.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why would they plot a coup when they are getting whatever they want and Wayne gets the blame? Big Mac must be laughing his ass off (no easy job that) as his friends get all their projects approved, and Wayne becomes known as Premier and Minister of Destruction.

        • Anonymous says:

          Assume Wayne is a man of principle 12.53, who would no longer want to be associated with the low life element of his government.

  9. Anonymous says:

    New Chairman = Contractor v Old Chairman = Building Supplier

    What’s the difference?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The chairman is a contractor…no conflicts here!

  11. Donnie says:

    Well, well, well!!
    I attended the CPA last Wednesday when this application was considered. I thought the presentations by architect Michael Meghoo of MJM DESIGN STUDIO, civil engineer Frank Reed of Reed Consulting Engineers and attorney Michael Alberga of Travers Thorp Alberga were weak. I expected the CPA to shred them, and was stunned when they didn’t. I came away wondering whether they were just sparing them the embarrassment or whether they had actually bought that bunch of baloney that they were offered.
    First of all, there is absolutely no suggestion that the CPA or anyone else sought out the owner of this property and directed him to build a seawall and a cabana on this property. The owner sought, and unfortunately was given, permission by the CPA to build them even though the Planning Department at the time advised the then-CPA that they were “of the opinion that most seawalls do not only prove to be ineffective in halting beach erosion, but also are often a source of serious damage to the coastal environment”.
    Fast forward to 2021, the owner now accepts that the work that he never should have been allowed to do has turned out like anyone with common sense would have expected – the seawall has failed and the structure above will soon fail also. And why has the seawall built 10 years ago failed so quickly? The CPA was told by Frank Reed that it is because it was built on the sand. Yes; you heard me. Even the good book, the Bible, has a description of a man who builds upon the sand.
    The owner now says he wants to demolish the cabana and having done so, he proposes to excavate behind/inside the failed seawall and build another wall – a Reed wall I guess. When asked by the Chair of the CPA how he proposes to anchor his new wall so that it doesn’t fail also, Frank Reed says he hasn’t figured that out yet; he’ll do after he gets permission to build it. You can’t make this up!
    While Michael Alberga may suggest that demolishing an existing building and an existing seawall and replacing them with a new seawall and a new building is carrying out repairs, I disagree. In my opinion, it is nothing more than seeking another opportunity to ‘try something’ while disrespecting the negative impact on the local environment.
    And of course there are the issues of setbacks which the applicant was seeking variations to in all directions – 10ft from the road instead of 20ft, 0ft from the high water mark rather than 75ft, etc. It was these variations that the previous CPA refused to grant in turning down the application before them in April 2021 just before demitting office.
    So the CPA had 4 options last Wednesday:
    1. Follow their predecessors and reject the application based on inadequate setbacks and lack of a basis to vary them;
    2. Accept the direction form the National Conservation Council via the Director of the Department of the Environment, reject he application and let the applicant appeal to Cabinet if he wishes;
    3. Grant permission for the demolition and removal of the existing cabana and seawall; or
    4. Accept the baloney from the applicant’s team and give the applicant what he wanted – permission to demolish, remove and replace the seawall and the building, all with inadequate setbacks.
    I was hoping for option 3.
    Sadly, the CPA chose option 4. They did so in spite of the evidence before them that the beach in this area has retreated over the 10 years that the seawall and cabana have been there. And they did so in spite of the abundance of evidence of what is happening to the other end of what was once 7-mile beach where seawalls have disrupted the normal wave action and sand deposition.
    So where do we go from here?
    Certainly, the adoption and implementation of the concept of ‘managed retreat’ would seem to be unattainable if we cannot achieve the ‘retreat’ of a structure which in a mere 10 years has caused damage to the beach and is in a condition where the owner agrees that it needs to be demolished. While many like myself are optimistic that the PACT government is committed to address the issues of beach erosion, we will now find out if they are. This decision by the CPA needs to be challenged and overturned. This structure needs to go. The ball is in the court of the government who appointed the CPA.

    • Anonymous says:

      While many like myself are optimistic that the PACT government is committed to address the issues of beach erosion, we will now find out if they are.

      Donnie, I hope that you can maintain your faith. I went from optimistic before the elections, to skeptical after the various appointments, and I am now approaching full-blown cynical in the last few weeks.

      I still believe that Wayne is a man of integrity, but how do you address serious issues when half of your Cabinet can’t even properly address an envelope? And the Puppet Master Speaker hasn’t lost any of his wiles, so the envelope goes where he wants it to go regardless of the address on it.

      If Wayne doesn’t take immediate corrective action over this despicable act by the Board that he just put in place, then he should drop the title of Sustainability & Climate Resilience and adopt a more suitable moniker such as Minister of Bullsh1t.

    • Anonymous says:

      Donnie thank you for your first hand insight, – a lot of what we see on here becomes broadcast conjecture alienated from a true source. Its extremely disappointing what your note conveys unless you’re someone with something in the pipeline to go before the CPA. If PACT caves forgoing their pre-election missive at one point should the Cayman Islands finally concede, declare, and openly admit Oligarchy to be the recognized form of power

  12. Anonymous says:

    Time to update our Coat of Arms – replace the Pineapple with a pair of crossed Bananas – then all we need is to change name from Overseas Territory to Republic

  13. Anonymous says:

    This island is slowly but surely going down the cludgie. No matter who is in government, the nepotism, cronyism, favouritism and disregard for due process and love of the $$$ will never change.

    • The Thin Man says:

      I does look bad. Are there any strong-willed honest men in the Cayman Islands who would be willing to help the people with an honest government? Ah well….. we can only hope.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, so much for PACT caring for the environment. So far, you have proven to be a disappointment.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a sick government, this PACT – environmental terrorists would be a friendly label thus far

      Look at the CPA, a hodge-podge of new and openly conflicted members from the Chair on down, appointed by PACT

      Hell, PACT even has a certain “A L Thompson Jr” appointed to the new CIAA Board

      Johann Moxam, “woke” political junk recycled and now new Chair of (at least) 2 important Boards

      PACT, keep going, you will continue to punish Cayman for at least the next 3.5 years…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sandra will bring the cold hard truth to light shortly, but I suspect that it’s all the PPM’s fault.

    The CPA is a lawfully appointed board who listened to a presentation and then ruled on the evidence before them. If Alberga, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, could convince a jury that McKeeva never did anything wrong, then it’s obvious that his powers of persuasion are boundless, and the CPA had no choice but to rule in his favour.

    Now hands up all of you who still think that Wayne Panton is the person controlling the PACT government?

    • Anonymous says:

      I still have a FOI request outstanding for Sandra’s involvement in the current government. I have it on good authority that she’s paid a salary to act as a pseudo press secretary. Not hard to see how that could be true based on the CMR bias and PACT propaganda.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It is a constitutional fundamental right (under subsection 18(1) of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights), in relation to protection of the environment, that “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.”

    There is a constitutional fundamental right to lawful administrative action (under s.19, Bill of Rights), where “All decisions and acts of public officials must be lawfully, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair” (s.19(1), Bill of Rights) and “Every person 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), Bill of Rights”.

  17. Anonymous says:

    They not doing this for Justin so I suggest you all go find out who the real players behind Cayman Property Investments are.

  18. Kman says:

    Premier Panton you’ve got a lot of explaining to do and let me guess you’ll run for cover by using DOE & NCC hardwork for transparency as interference. Well we now know Mac’s running things behind the scenes at PACT and was he who had the original ridiculous cabana approved and that wall was his idea of a so called tourism boardwalk which never came to anything, Capt Eugene’s condos being built next to a gas station is a health hazard so you see where I’m going with this, don’t take a rocket scientist to put 2 + 2 with this.

    Wayne’s got all these new portfolio which is just a smoke screen for hiring a bunch of his friends and sidekicks. So disappointing to hear this yet not surprising as greed has destroyed Cayman 😞.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden was the Premier more than any other, who hired his friends (especially Lions Club members) to positions paid by the public purse.

      Wayne is just a well-intentioned poor leader, who has (so far) not done himself any favors. We are still waiting for the PACT Government live up to the PACT-acronym.

      Lil Wayne needs to step it up and distinguish himself from Big Mac and Arrogant Alden, otherwise his legacy will be forever tarnished.

  19. . says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but it is my understanding that here in the Cayman Islands only a Court of Law can give what is considered a ” lawful order” therefore NCC / DOE cannot give a lawful order but rather their recommendation and reasons, etc.

    It’s frightening to see how beaches along SMB have disappeared over the years. I remember going to beaches along SMB when I was little and it’s changed so much because of over development.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Speechless. Only 2 members out of 14 do not have to file a Notice of Special Interest to be on the CPA. #CaymanKind-Of?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Complete Idiots!!! One bad hurricane and puff!!!

  22. Anonymous says:

    So much for all the pre election promises

  23. Anonymous says:

    Who is surprised? PACT members are all a bunch of phonies!

  24. Anonymous says:

    This island is one big joke isn’t it?

    • Anonymous says:

      I cry for what is happening here. Cayman Islands is truly corrupt. Complete incompetence to self-govern. Sadly, all the complaints against expats coming and ruining the country, and the wishes for expats to leave… Well, I am beginning to agree. I need to seriously consider selling my condo and going to another jurisdiction that actually cares about it’s territory. Cayman obviously does not!

      • Anonymous says:

        Regretably, expats that actually care will leave, to support a better educated, better governed, more enlightened country. We will be left with those expats who will not mind if our paradise is turned into pavement and asphalt.

  25. Anonymous says:

    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

  26. MP says:

    “Alberga told the CPA members that his client had only two options – either to repair the existing wall, which has degraded badly over the years, or build a new wall inside the existing one and then remove that old wall.”

    Michael Alberga appears to missing the third option, that everyone else can see:

    “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”

  27. Anonymous says:

    When the NCC (through the DoE) DIRECTS the CPA to refuse an application, does the applicant lodge an appeal against the CPA or NCC?

    • Anonymous says:

      NCC (I would likely still file a Planning Appeal at the same time as well, just to cover my bases and let the two boards work out whose gets heard first)

  28. Anonymous says:

    “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

    “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

    Hands up if you’re surprised.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Same puppy dog

  30. Anonymous says:

    What were the Board supposed to do? We have laws with directly conflicting provisions. All we can do is shake our heads (and possibly reward those responsible with QC designations).

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well the new chairman is now showing his true colors, just wait to see what slides on thru next!

    • JTB says:

      It already did. Another ‘Fin’ just south of Smith Cove.

      Against planning dept recommendation, against the law, against any concept of commeon sense, and against the objections of everyone except Ergun Berksoy

  32. Anonymous says:

    Shameful behavior

  33. Anonymous says:

    Stupid decision I hoped PACT were different. Same developers harlots holding the line

  34. SMH says:

    A illogical decision by a board that is supposed to care about the environment. SMH

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