Today’s Editorial for March 30: The need for green

In the early part of the People’s
Progressive Movement government, East End Representative Arden McLean talked
about the government building ‘green areas’ in George Town, which has become
something of a concrete jungle.

First the idea was to put a green
area where the Tower Building used to stand. 

Then there was the plan to put a
green area on the site of a demolished Glass House, once the new Government
Office Accommodation Building was completed.

In November 2006, then-Leader of
Government Business Kurt Tibbetts spoke about creating legislation that would
allow government to sell undeveloped land set aside in sub-divisions
specifically for public open spaces.  The
money derived from such sales was to be used to buy larger parcels of land that
could be used for public parks.

We supported all of these ideas in
principle, but nothing of substance happened to progress the ideas to reality.
In fact, the Tower Building site is now a parking lot and there are plans to
renovate the Glass House rather than demolishing it.

This week, the United Democratic
Party government presented new legislation that would allow developers to pay
in lieu of setting aside public open space. 
The government revenue derived from such payment would be used for
either the acquisition of private land for public purposes or for the improvement
of government land for public purposes.

We support this legislation in
general, but believe the revenues derived from such transactions need to be
used to purchase new lands for parks or other green areas.

Available parcels of land that are
suitable for parks are becoming fewer and fewer and the price of these parcels
keeps increasing. It’s important the government has the foresight to buy some
of these parcels before it’s too late.

With the current government budget
woes, it would be easy to use this money to improve some existing spaces and
ignore the future.  But green space and
parks will be vital to the quality of life of future generations, who will
likely see a more densely built and populated Grand Cayman.

We urge the government to think
toward the future when deciding what to with this money.