Canaan Land home in limbo

Any building left discarded and unattended will soon turn to rot and decay. Is this to be the fate of Canaan Land facilities?

Canaan Land facilities

The main building showing staircase leading to the upstairs. Photo: Jewel Levy

Whatever comes of the 15-year-old site off Hutland Road, North Side, one thing is for certain, it is not for sale.

‘Canaan Land was given to be used as a place of spiritual edification or things of that nature, it will not be sold for a profit,’ said Chairman William Peguero.

Founded by Ellen Peguero, Peter Van Der Bol, Alison Ebanks and Mac Gober in 1998 – the non-profit, non-denominational, Christian home has helped hundreds of men turn lost and broken lives into productive and fruitful lives.

Now the facility is in a state of limbo as founders, government officials and others in the community slowly churn wheels in getting the home running again.

Before damages from Hurricane Ivan the home was a fully functional facility working closely with the courts, probation services, churches and government assisting male adults with substance dependency.

Mr. Peguero said Government did show some interest in 2005 by suggesting the use of the facilities for Eagle House, but nothing has been decided.

The Cadet Corp also contacted the owner about the property.

Mr. Peguero said a copy of the report done by a surveying company on damages and repairs was sent, but no reply came back.

‘Perhaps there is not enough demand for the use of the facilities right now,’ said Mr. Peguero.

‘The property needs major clean up and repairs completed. After the hurricane, help was sought overseas but after a month and a half the group was unable to finish the work.

‘At that time, post-Ivan, it was difficult to find help on the island because everyone was busy fixing their homes or businesses, which made it near to impossible to find help.’

‘Two and a half years later the home is still not on the front burner because there is not a lot of community support behind the project. It would have to be a community effort to get it going again.’

A Cayman Engineering and Survey report concludes both buildings on the property had hurricane damage. There were no major structural failures or significant structural movement anywhere on the property. The building was not built to withstand hurricane force winds. Recommendations address these points and decisions to upgrade to meet standards.

However the report did conclude that if the renovation works to the building are considered purely cosmetic and return the property back to its original condition and layout, it is unlikely that a building permit will be necessary, as the building would be grandfathered in and only an electrical inspection would be necessary.

As with any property, maintenance and a well though out maintenance plan will extend the life of the structure. Simple inspection, painting and cleaning will benefit any building and allow the occupier/owner forewarning of any problems that may be occurring, Water penetration of the fabric of any building will lead to rot and decay and eventually structural failure.

A tour of the facility in 2002 by Dr. Frank McField the Minister for drug rehab programmes at the time expressed his approval of the Canaan Land project and said he believed that community-based efforts should have no less support than government programmes.

According to Mr. Peguero, the drug ministry is a hard one, takes a lot of work and is costly.

‘We hope that we are able to use the property in a short while and not let it go to decay,’ he said. ‘We are open-minded to working together with others who would like to do something with the facility but it would have to be a community effort to get it going.’ Mr. Peguero can be contacted at Sounds and Things or through the Frank Sound Church of God where he is a pastor.