Although an agreement has been reached to maintain Public Beach access over the long Easter weekend, West Bay residents were warned Tuesday to “be wary” about future plans for that beach.
Both North Side MLA Ezzard Miller and boat Captain Bryan Ebanks told about 100 people gathered at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School Tuesday night that they didn’t trust any pronouncements on the issue coming from the Dart corporation or the ruling government.
“Don’t take anything for granted,” Mr. Miller said. “The premier has stood in parliament…[and] announced that the road is going to be moved.
“Be very careful in spite of what they might tell you now, that it is not an accomplished deal. I am fairly certain that I saw drawings in the LA of where the road is going to be moved to.”
Members of a concerned citizens group in West Bay met with Dart representatives Monday. Group member Alice Coe said she was encouraged about continued Public Beach access, but noted the group would “remain vigilant” about proposals to move the road further back from the beach.
Mrs. Coe read a statement Tuesday night concerning the moving of West Bay Road. The statement was compiled from notes by Dart representative Ken Hydes taken during Monday’s meeting with the West Bay group: “Dart…does not currently have any set plans or designs that can be shared with the public.”
Mrs. Coe said the company indicated it remained open to discussing the road relocation with the Caymanian people.
Representatives also noted that it was never Dart’s intention to restrict pedestrian access to the beach, only to restrict vehicular access to the beach.
In an earlier statement, Dart indicated it was concerned about individuals removing sand from the Public Beach area and noted it had installed posts with chain links between them to prevent that activity.
Spirited protests by members of the West Bay citizens group led to the removal of those posts last week.
“Everything seems all above board, but we still have to remain vigilant,” Mrs. Coe said. “There’s no reason they should try and deceive us.”
Captain Bryan said he simply distrusted any statements made regarding the future of West Bay Road at this point.
“Developers are extremely interested in that Seven Mile Beach road,” he said. “Why? Because of the value of it.”
Mr. Miller said he had spoken with two real estate agents who had valued the old Marriott Courtyard hotel property on the land side of West Bay Road at roughly $30 million. However, he said if the road was moved behind the hotel, the real estate agents estimated the value of the land would rise to between $80 million and $100 million.
“I believe there is intention to move the road,” Mr. Miller said. “I would hate to know [the beach view] was not something that I could not bring my grandchildren to see.”