Planning laws are inadequate

What becomes abundantly clear through recent development projects in South Sound and elsewhere on the island is that without adequate legislation (development plan update, and passing of the new conservation law) Grand Cayman will continue to be unsustainably developed by developers.

The latest South Sound example of total disregard for the natural environment, (and the seeming lack of ability on the part of the planning department, to stop such desecration), points out our need to quickly put in place the new development plan and pass the conservation law without watering it down.

This should be done before the destruction of more important and vital habitat,

Sustainable development should be more than just a vague idea, but our guide for the future. It requires a commitment on the part of our lawmakers.

Developers cannot be relied upon to act in the best interests of the country and since the law was changed from “pre Ritz Carlton” when any person or entity could legally object to any development that would have a significant impact on the environment of the islands, to the position now, where only adjoining land owners are allowed to object to a project. The public has no right under the law to object.

It seems that a grant of planning permission in 2003, pre-Ivan, is sufficient to allow a developer to bypass a coastal works licence, which Mr. Clifford assured us had not been granted, and allege that a dyke built out into the South Sound running parallel to the South Sound road, cutting off the South Sound mangroves from the sea, thus assuring that they will die (preparing the ground for filling no doubt, to create land), is quite legal under the terms of their planning permission.

What of the law that states that planning permission is contingent upon presentation of a survey no more than 6 months old?

I would suggest that it may be the case that the planning department has not revisited this application, but allowed a previous grant to stand – or else the developer is acting in breach of the terms of his planning permission.

This is an example of what is being allowed to happen all over the Cayman Islands.

Our once beautiful islands are rapidly being destroyed through lack of proper planning laws. We need legislation immediately and a commitment to sustainable development, with proper protection for our natural resources.

Janet Walker

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