East Enders approve roads

More than 80 people turned out on Thursday night to view proposals for three roads in the interior of East End.
By their comments and applause, they signalled approval of plans to extend John McLean Drive westward, to access pastures in Winters Land, and to open an area south of the Salinas.

EE roads Carla and Troy

EE roads Carla and Troy Nation Trust chairman Carla Reid points out her area of concern to Mr. Troy Jacob, administrative officer in the Ministry of Communications, Works and Infrastructure. Photo: Carol Winker

Property owners or their representatives came early to the William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre to inspect maps and drawings of the proposals. They listened and asked questions as Mr. Arden McLean, Minister for Communications, Works and Infrastructure, explained the thinking behind the plans.

Mr. Burns Conolly expressed a consensus when he congratulated the ministry team for its work. He said it was clear effort had gone into placing the roads along boundaries and maintaining as much as possible the integrity of the properties concerned.

Mr. McLean said the roads might not be able to follow the boundaries exactly because curves have to be made safe for driving. He would leave those determinations to the engineers, Mr. Edward Howard and Mr. Brian Tomlinson.

The minister announced that Mr. Tomlinson will be managing director of the National Roads Authority as of 1 December. Mr. Howard has been acting in that position.

Members of the audience raised concerns about footpaths and the endangered blue iguanas.

Mr. McLean agreed that it made sense for owners of landlocked properties to release their neighbours from the obligation to provide footpath access if a new road provides vehicular access. He said, however, that this is a matter for the individual owners to sort out, not government.

Mrs. Carla Reid, chairman of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, said she was satisfied that the proposed road approaching the Salinas from the south will stop short of the area in which blue iguanas are being released through the Trust’s recovery programme.

The Winters Land road will enable livestock owners to access high pasture ground.

The John McLean Drive extension will link up to High Rock Road.

The minister, who is also the MLA for East End, listened to concerns about the Planning Department’s requirement for hot-mix roads in eastern district developments. He pointed out that Planning is under Minister Kurt Tibbetts, Leader of Government Business, so there will have to be co-ordination.

He also suggested that zoning should be looked at and the East End water lens checked for its precise outline because it affects what can be built where.

One man approached the speaker’s table to point out his property on a map and show how the proposed road would affect him. He asked for a slight adjustment and Mr. McLean agreed that it made sense.

The minister suggested that all specific queries be directed to Administrative Officer Troy Jacob in the ministry office. Final comments should be made within the next six weeks, after which the road plans will be gazetted.

Property owners may at that stage claim compensation for land taken for the road. Compensation is based on market value, but a major consideration is the value the road will add to the property, he said.

Mr. McLean gave credit to his staff for all the work that had been done on the road plans. Along with Messrs. Howard, Tomlinson and Jacob, he introduced Ms Doreen Whittaker, Mr. Perry Powell and Ms Lisa Welcome.