Public spaces offered

Gov’t considers selling parcels

The Government is considering legislation that would allow it to acquire and sell small, dormant land parcels designated for use by the public so that it can buy larger tracts of land for parks.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the Government is seriously looking into the legislation because many of the older subdivisions have land zoned as public open spaces, which are overgrown with bush and not being used for the public.

Giving one example, Mr. Tibbetts said the Prospect Park subdivision does not have one recreational area of any consequence, despite having land designated as public open space.

‘This land is in an individual’s name or in a land holding company’s name,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘While they’re in those names, the zoning on the property does not allow for any other use.’

Mr. Tibbetts said the considered legislation would allow for the government to sell that property, either to the developer or some other person or entity, and then place the proceeds in a dedicated fund to purchase larger tracts of land in the area.

‘I’m not sure we could find suitable land in the same subdivision, but we could locate properties near or adjacent to the subdivision to create a larger park for people to walk in and utilise,’ he said. ‘That’s the plan.’

There are many areas of public open space that have been created over the years that are now not being used, Mr. Tibbetts said, noting that the Planning Law calls for up to five per cent of a development to be designated public open space.

Mr. Tibbetts said there were some areas on Grand Cayman that had in excess of 1,000 homes with no usable green areas.

‘Here we are… and we allowed this to happen,’ he said.

‘Whatever didn’t go right in the past, I can’t go back in time and fix. The key is to move quickly so we can acquire properties.’

Mr. Tibbetts said the government needs to be proactive and try to find suitable properties for the parks before continued development makes it more difficult and expensive to locate those properties.

‘I am eager to bring [the issue] to the forefront,’ he said.

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