Mangroves sacrificed for builders’ supply yard

| 20/04/2022 | 129 Comments
Cayman News Service
Aerial photo of area cleared illegally by K&B Ltd in 2020

(CNS): The Central Planning Authority has granted a controversial application that will see the remaining mangroves on a parcel of land along the South Sound coastline removed for a commercial builders’ supply store. Even though the Department of Environment is urging the CPA not to sacrifice the mangroves for a project that would be far better suited to another location already man-modified, the CPA gave the developers the green light as members found the application had been revised from a construction compound to a supplier.

According to the minutes from the meeting held on 30 March, the CPA found that the application by K&B Ltd (TAG Ltd) on Block 23C Parcel 233, which had originated as a plan for an industrial site for storing materials from other developments, was different enough to earn approval.

But while the words used to describe the proposed activity at the site changed from storage to retail, the plans have not changed at all. Nevertheless, the CPA was satisfied that this was a new application for a different development.

“Based on the confirmed use of the site, the Authority is satisfied that per Section 3.02(b) of the Development Plan 1997 and Regulation 13(1)(b) of the Development and Planning Regulations (2021 Revision), the development will be a less intense use than would be found in the General Commercial zone; the development will service the needs of the community; and the development will cater principally for the needs of persons resident in the area,” the minutes state.

The developer, Bavan Antonysraj, and his agent, Darrel Ebanks, told the board that they intend to sell commercial building supplies from the site to other developers in the area rather than just storing things. This essentially changed the application from an industrial project to a commercial one.

The application first came before the CPA in July 2021 but was refused because a construction compound was considered industrial and the area is zoned Neighbourhood Commercial.

The developers and the land had already come to the attention of the planning department 18 months before that, in January 2020, when the department issued stop notices to the landowners after an area of mangroves inside the parcel was cleared without planning permission. Three months later, an application for after-the-fact land clearing, a 5’ fence and two 32sqft signs was approved.

It is now likely that the 2.5-acre site, which sits on a marine reserve, will be completely cleared of mangroves, which the DoE had clearly stated were “an extremely important buffer for Hurley Merren Boulevard from the sea”.

Speaking on behalf of the National Conservation Council, the DoE experts pointed out that there “are ample man-modified sites that could be used for the storage of materials without removing mangroves or other primary habitat”, and advised the CPA to refuse the application.

While the project has since been repackaged as a builders’ supply yard, it is evident that construction material will still be housed there since the developers have described a largely outdoor site where they will be selling lumber and rebar wholesale to the construction sector, among other related materials and equipment.

They also confirmed that the original plans had not changed, despite insisting that this was a “totally different application”.

During the meeting members of the CPA criticised the DoE for not supplying new comments on the revised project. However, as the plans have not materially changed, the impact on the mangroves remains the same. They will still be cleared in order to make way for a warehouse unit where construction materials will be stored for sale and parking for customers.

See the CPA minutes, with details of the application and outcome, in the CNS Library.


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Category: development, Local News

Comments (129)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When you elect a bunch of independents they all go their own way with impunity and flexing their muscles. Does the Premier have any control?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Having developers on the CPA is surely a conflict of interest no?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    This sounds a lot like we have cleared all the mangrove we wanted (a lot) on our land so now no one else can on theirs just because we don’t like you. We understand.

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  4. PPM a Joke says:

    Opposition was the ones who got us into this mess and changed the damn regs. Doubt you will hear nuttin from them. They too busy counting their dollar bills 💵.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The island is being destroyed with all this building. The look and feel of the island has been stolen and never to return.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The greed of the few is destroying the project of the many.

    The greed of the few is destroying the lives of the many, as well.

    The greed of the few is the root of the new evil. Wealth and status is nothing like Jesus preached. Prosperity gospel is a lie.

    Whether you believe or not, Jesus was a good man.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you talking about all the ones who have cleared mangrove or just this one guy? What is the difference?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where is the Opposition!!! CNS is doing their job. This is the only real platform to voice an opinion.
    We are all hearing rumors of dissent amongst the PACT members so this is the time the Opposition should be vocal and demanding answers.
    It would seem that Jay’s ministry and his boards are embroiled with planning and housing issues and there is no justice being served to the people.
    We cannot wait another 3 years to remove them through elections. We deserve better representation now!
    PACT made a pathetic attempt to discipline Bernie when the discipline should be applied to Jay Ebanks aka Minnie MAC.
    Mr. Premier like the old expression says “you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas” They are undermining you and you will not be able to achieve your ministry’s mandate.

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    • Precious Me WBay says:

      You are 100% correct and along with bababushka there are his UDP acolytes who are consigliere’s of the said minister too! The entourage is quite large and full of political would be wanna be’s and those who are still trying to buy political influence after spending thousands on their defunct party and maniacal leader and trying to get elected.

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