Review of strata laws urged

In the near future, strata boards may have to face more stringent regulations when it comes to sewage. In House finance committee on Thursday, Speaker of the House Edna Moyle called for a review of current strata laws in light of an ongoing public health related issue.

In a move unanimously approved by house finance committee, Works Minister Arden McLean secured a $320,000 loan to be issued to an 80-unit George Town strata which has been instructed numerous times to repair its waste water treatment system. In its current state it is seeping untreated sewage onto the property.

‘Quite simply, this is an outbreak waiting to happen,’ said Minister McLean. ‘Something must be done to fix this problem immediately.’

The committee learned that the strata’s waste water treatment problems date back as far as 1992, and numerous demands to address its repair have gone unheeded.

In the interest of public health, the Water Authority had appealed to the Attorney General to prosecute, but were advised to pursue other avenues to deal with the problem. A proposed levy on the strata’s water bill to defray repair costs was denied, but the Ministry decided that work must go ahead without delay.

Due to a number of factors dating from before Hurricane Ivan, which only exacerbated the strata’s financial and infrastructural problems, the Randyke Gardens board is unable to act because it lacks sufficient funds.

Now hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, the strata must first recoup its losses before being able to deal with the sewage problem, an untenable public health situation.

The finance committee agreed to act and subsequent discussions revealed an overwhelming agreement to go ahead with the project even if a feasible repayment vehicle cannot be reached.

Mr. McLean warned that this instance should not be considered to be setting a precedent.

‘The case is unique – and similar violators will be prosecuted using established avenues,’ he said.

‘Disregard for public health in the interest of cutting construction cost corners is affecting children, and the elderly, and all members of our society and will not be tolerated,’ he said after the session.

Ms Moyle said the case raised an issue that will be getting renewed attention of the country’s lawmakers.

‘At this time, I would like to request that a review of the strata laws be undertaken to examine the way sewage systems are assessed and approved,’ she urged, to enthusiastic approval.

Minister McLean said that current limitations to sewage infrastructure mean that Cayman Islands strata will continue to be responsible for their own sewage treatment needs in the foreseeable future.