The Cayman Islands Government has decided to cap and remediate the existing George Town Landfill and establish a new solid waste management facility at a site to be determined.
Premier McKeeva Bush made the announcement during the Fidelity Cayman Business Outlook at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on Thursday morning.
“With our encouragement, Dart [Enterprises] has agreed to take over and responsibly cap and remediate the existing site,” Mr. Bush said. “Furthermore, Dart has agreed to provide a site of similar acreage to the Crown and establish the platform for a new solid waste management facility.”
The existing site is about 68 acres. That site would be transferred to the Dart Group in exchange for a new site.
Mr. Bush said a site location for the new facility is being investigated and the government envisions the new facility will include many components, including recycling, composting and waste to energy.
“We will ensure that any landfill component at this new site will be engineered with the proper linings, collection systems and technology to ensure that it is environmentally responsible.”
Dart Realty CEO Mark VanDevelde said his company has already done a selection survey of possible locations on Grand Cayman suitable for a solid waste management facility using a variety of filters – such as the proximity to a high density of population or a fresh water lens – that eliminated many sites. Most of the sites that survived the filtering process were in the Bodden Town district, but there were also possible sites identified within the districts of North Side and East End, he said.
One potential site, already owned by the Dart Group, is north of Northward Prison in Bodden Town. This site was offered to the previous government administration in exchange for the George Town Landfill site, but the offer was rejected. Mr. VanDevelde said this site was one of many that could be used.
“We haven’t identified any specific site as of yet,” he said, adding that the ideal site size would be around 110 to 115 acres.
In addition to providing the property for the new solid waste management facility, the Dart Group would provide the basic land infrastructure, including a properly engineered, lined landfill component with management for things like leachate and methane gas.
However, Dart Realty Managing Director Jim Lammers said the Dart Group would not be involved in construction of other components of the facility such as waste-to-energy and recycling.
Wherever the new facility will end up, Mr. Lammers said having it in proximity or abutting an extension to the East-West Arterial road would be helpful.
As for the current landfill site, Mr. Lammers said that in broad strokes he saw three uses for the property, including some limited vertical commercial development along the road corridor; a relocation of some of the Camana Bay nursery operations; and public space that would include sports and recreation facilities and trails for biking, jogging and walking.
It will be at least 18-24 months before the capping can really start, Mr. VanDevelde said.
“Until the new site is ready to accept refuse, you can’t turn the existing site off,” he said, adding that there was some prep work on the new site that could begin, as well as remediation of some of the older parts of the landfill.
Mr. Lammers said the key to going forward is getting a new site identified, something he said he thought was possible to do by the end of February.
Having certainty that the current landfill would be capped and remediated is a very significant factor for the Dart Group’s moving forward into the residential phases of Camana Bay, Mr. Lammers said, adding that not only was the company happy about the decision in the context of Camana Bay, but for the health and wellbeing of all residents.
“It’s the right thing for the country; a chance to start fresh, using modern technology and best practices in the approach to solid waste management.”