CI looks to agri-tourism

An exciting, fresh and unique agri-tourism concept is arising in the wake of the now defunct farmers market, the Legislative Assembly has been told.

The project involves the development of the Lower Valley agricultural site into a multi-use facility with a strong agricultural and cultural theme, said Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

Answering questions in the House on Thursday, Mr. Tibbetts said the facility would function as an agricultural and craft market and an agri-tourism attraction.

It would also serve as, ‘an education centre for the preservation, promotion and development of agriculture as well as the craft and culinary heritage of the Cayman Islands,’ he said.

‘This is a national, not just an agricultural project, one that is unique in its scope and vision to the Cayman Islands and even the wider Caribbean and will require the input of a broad cross section of stake holders, before the final plans can be completed,’ he told the House.

Plans have not been firmed up but the concept is that most of the physical structures will be paid for by corporate Cayman, said Mr. Tibbetts.

The plan is to incorporate what already exists and enhance it with such things as kiosks for the use of the farming and arts and crafts communities, he said.

Mr. Tibbetts said there was also a plan to have a produce day for farmers to sell things, probably on some Saturdays, with June as a possible starting month and with the agricultural pavilion as the venue.

He said the Lower Valley site offers several features with its size and the undeveloped land.

It is under-used and there is potential for future development, said Mr. Tibbetts.

It fits in with the idea of taking more opportunities to the Eastern Districts and the need for additional land based attractions, and of a greater variety for tourists, he said.

Mr. Tibbetts said the project is fortunate to have the services of Mr. John Doak, one of Cayman’s leading architects.

‘To date Mr. Doak has completed an initial set of very exciting conceptual plans, which were put on display at the annual agricultural show,’ he added.

Mr. Tibbetts said the closure of the farmers market on Thomas Russell Way was necessitated by the decision of the Airport Authority to take back the land where the building was located. That decision was accelerated by the passage of Hurricane Ivan.

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