Development nets opposition

After a final push over the long
weekend, activists circulating a petition opposing the Emerald Sound development
in South Sound were able to collect over 1,100 signatures

On Tuesday, 26 January South Sound
resident Berna Cummins, who coordinated the groundwork for the latest attempt
to block the project, presented the signed petition to Acting Planning Director
Haroon Pandohie.

The more than 1,100 signatures were
collected over the past few weeks via a number of petitions circulated around
Grand Cayman and online.

“We made sure we had two separate
sets of signatures, one for those who live adjacent and therefore within the
1,500 feet of the proposed development, and another for everyone else opposed
to the project,” said Ms Cummins.

“We wanted to give everyone the
chance to show their support because the proposed development, if it goes
forward as planned, will have Island-wide implications.”

Concerns about the development centre
around the plan to cut through the South Sound coastline to create an inland
canal system, along with the associated impacts it may have on the South Sound
ecosystem as well as on surrounding properties.

In 2007, the planning application
by developer R.C. Estates was met with considerable opposition. However, the project’s
lead architect Burns Conolly said the project did not subsequently go on hiatus,
saying additional studies and consulting works were actually taking place behind
the scenes.

The planning documents were then resubmitted
on 21 December, 2009. A press release was issued to adjacent landowners
addressing their concerns pertaining to drainage, mangroves, coastal views,
road adjustment, sea surge and traffic that had been raised in the past.

At a meeting held on 14 January,
residents and supporters gathered to once again launch a campaign to voice
their concerns.

The number of signatures collected
surpassed Ms Cummins hopes. In 2007, only 300 signatures were collected and the
organisers this year were hoping for 500.

An online petition will remain open
for another week. It can be found at