A vision of integration and infrastructure

One of Cayman’s major developments over
the past decade has been Camana Bay, which is establishing itself as a new
commercial, social and cultural centre in Grand Cayman. Dart Realty Managing
Director Jim Lammers and Chief Executive Officer Mark VanDevelde, are men of
vision and have strong feelings about what integration and infrastructure mean
for Cayman and Camana Bay.

“On a macro level,” Lammers says,
“Cayman’s continued success rests, in part, on key infrastructure elements like
strong schools, efficient roadways, dependable and affordable utilities,
world-class telecommunications, well managed ports and progressive solid waste
management.”

Lammers believes that if Cayman is to
develop a sustainable model for future generations of residents and visitors,
there must be a balance of environmental, economic, functional and social
concerns. Also, by embracing emerging infrastructure related concepts and
technologies, Cayman can establish itself as an environment where businesses
flourish and meaningful career opportunities are provided for both  residents and work permit holders.

Lammers points out that on a more micro
level, Camana Bay will play an important catalyst role in developing a dynamic
and creative environment. 

“By providing a thoughtfully designed
mixed-use environment that encourages life-long learning, innovation and the
exchange of ideas, Camana Bay will attract individuals and businesses who seek
to maximize their potential,” he says.

“Not only will Camana Bay be the home for
firms in the financial services sector, lawyers and bankers, but it will too be
the home for architects, designers, musicians and artists.”

From the very beginning, Lammers explains,
Camana Bay was envisioned as an organic town with mixed use and that this took
thought and planning.“The seeds for Camana Bay were sown some 15 years ago, in
the mid 1990s, when the Town site was about 240 acres in size.  Early on, we surrounded ourselves with
designers, engineers, consultants and contractors who shared our vision,” says
Lammers.

They never wanted it to be a gated
community in fact the complete antithesis; Camana Bay was always intended to be
accessible to the public. Lammers says that Camana Bay is now, and will further
become, a town of neighbourhoods and districts where shop owners, residents and
office workers know and watch out for each other, resulting in a safe
environment.

LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE LOOKS AT THE BIGGER
PICTURE

“With regard to infrastructure and service
providers, we have a good relationship with the telecommunications providers,
CUC, the Water Authority and the National Roads Authority,” says VanDevelde.

“An example of our investment in Cayman’s
infrastructure is when we contributed several million dollars into the section
of the bypass that runs through Camana Bay and worked in partnership with
government and the NRA. Now we are discussing a new bypass road from the
airport to provide a better way of getting to Seven Mile Beach without having
to go through Industrial Park.”

He noted that within the Town Centre, Dart
Realty made a decision to place all of its utilities infrastructure
underground.

“We have copper and fibre optic cables
running through The Town Centre and excess capacity, which will help us meet
not only current but future infrastructure needs,” he says.

“Another example is that we also worked
with CUC to locate their substation by West Bay Road.”

“Camana Bay also has a command and control
centre we call the CCC, where we can monitor all our connections, all our
building management systems and our data room.

It was also designed with future
development in mind.”

The chiller plant is another example of
Dart’s investment in infrastructure.  It
provides chilled water to most of the buildings in The Town Centre and is
designed to supply future development.

CRUISE SHIP INFRASTRUCTURE

“We believe there is an opportunity to
provide better service to cruise ship visitors,” says VanDevelde.

“With an MOU signed with government, we
are actively working with them and in discussions with the larger cruise lines,
and hope to have an agreement signed soon.”

He points out a redevelopment of the port
should be able to accommodate more traffic.

“Another positive and impactful aspect of
berthing as well is that visitors will be able to stay on island much later
than they currently do,” he says.

“We are hopeful we can get a signed agreement
soon and get the project underway. It is an exciting opportunity to better
integrate the piers and the port with the downtown area. “

He also points out the issue of pedestrian
and space access for people requires some new solutions.

“This creates another infrastructure
opportunity and, if addressed well, could greatly enhance the downtown George
Town area,” he says.

“An example would be revamping the
waterfront and incorporating the roadway so that it allows bus and taxi traffic
to flow smoothly, which would make a substantial improvement to the current
design.” 

Lammers adds: “More visitors arrive in
Cayman via cruise ship than by any other way. So thoughtful design will,
amongst other things, create opportunities that will enable us to convert our
overnight tourists into stayover visitors who will want to come back again and
again.”

He adds, that in addition, with the
expectation of Cuba opening up, there will be other opportunities for Cayman to
take advantage of as a competitive cruise destination if we have the proper
infrastructure in place to support us.

“If we don’t invest the money and improve
now, there is a chance that new routes will bypass us completely.  We have an opportunity now for a long-term,
substantial benefit for the country with this project, and need to take
advantage of it.”

 

THOUGHTS ON THE LANDFILL

“It is where it is through nobody’s
fault.  But even if you were a man
visiting from Mars you’d wonder why it is where it is,” says Lammers. 

“That is, it’s visible from the water,
from the cruise ships, and we believe at least 17,000 cars drive past the
landfill daily.”

 He
says that on terms of solid waste management, Cayman needs to think fresh,
think about what makes sense to recycle and compost, for example, as well as
reducing the overall waste stream.

“There is a broad recognition there is a
need to change how we deal with solid waste in Cayman,” says VanDevelde.

“For one, mining the landfill and waste to
energy is being discussed as a solution when it’s not a good one. However
unlike many of the options being considered, there is a depth of precedents to
look to in terms of effectively remediating a typical landfill and in by so
doing, not only address known environmental and public health concerns, but
also mitigate against future ones. With an effective remediation and mitigation
programme, landfills can be capped and reclaimed for civic amenities.

We have a strong interest in seeing that
happen,” he continued.

“WISE Cayman is a group, of which we are a
member, and which share interests in what is going to be done with Cayman’s
solid waste. Of course, we are interested because the landfill is on our south
perimeter but generally it is an island-wide issue.”

The issue is definitely not going away,
and he’s optimistic a solution may be just around the corner.

“WISE Cayman is promoting the concept of
an eco-park and it is an approach we endorse, not only because we benefit, but
because it is the Island’s overall best interests.

WISE Cayman’s education campaign can help
in this, as it look to other jurisdictions and provide the facts,” he added.

“If you think about it, if Cayman is going
to successfully promote its environmental aspects, for example for medical
tourism, then the landfill must be dealt with in some way.”

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