Premier McKeeva Bush
is right; he probably will get a lot of flak for his proposed changes to
planning rules and regulations for the Cayman Islands.
But he has raised
some very good points.
For starters, it’s
high time those with derelict properties filled with abandoned and neglected
buildings are held accountable. While the fines seem a bit high on the face of
the issue, something has to be done.
In many instances
Central Planning Authority has issued clean-up orders for these properties, but
the owners and developers simply snub their noses at the orders and refuse to
The new proposal
would allow government to take to court those who continue to ignore the
orders. We would hope those in violation would also have to pay all court costs
in addition to the hefty fines levied for ignoring the clean-up orders.
The Islands in our
country are simply too beautiful to let derelict buildings and ugly properties
go ignored. And it’s not just for the tourists. We should all take pride in the
place we call home.
The proposed law also
makes it easier to work with planning. One of the welcomed proposals is to
extend time limits on planning permits from one year to five years. Anyone who
has built anything in the Cayman Islands knows that it is possible for your
building permit to run out before all of the required inspections are done. It
can be downright frustrating.
Because of some of
the changes, building fees are likely to be increased, especially in higher
density areas like Seven Mile Beach. We believe that if developers can afford
the expensive property, they can afford the increased fees.
And we don’t believe
the new rules and regulations will drive development away from the Cayman
Islands. It makes it easier to develop properties when everyone is singing from
the same hymn book; when they know up front what the rules and regulations are
and that they will be enforced.
Debate on the proposed Planning Law regulations is supposed
to begin today in Legislative Assembly. We pray that it is good, open and frank
debate and not politicising and name-calling. Much hard work and research has
gone into these proposals.