West Bay Road deal gets nod

Cabinet approves Dart, Roads Authority deal

west bay road 300x250

The Cayman Islands Cabinet approved this week an agreement between Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd. and the National Roads Authority that paves the way for the immediate commencement of a host of infrastructure projects.  

The agreement was scheduled to be formally signed Thursday afternoon, just after this newspaper went to press. 

Although components of this agreement were part of the heads of terms signed with regard to the “mega deal” between Dart Realty and the Cayman Islands Government earlier this year, the main agreement has yet to be executed. 

However, this week’s agreement stands alone from the main agreement and allows for the closing of a section of West Bay Road, the completion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to Batabano Road in West Bay, and the redevelopment of the former Courtyard Marriott Hotel. 

Dart will pay an estimated US$35 million to complete the road infrastructure and will be allowed to recover $24 million in concessions. However, to get that amount of concessions, the Dart Group will need to continue to invest and develop in the Cayman Islands in excess of US$350 million. 

Dart Realty Chief Operating Officer Jackie Doak explained why the deal was signed before the main agreement. 

“Government and Dart are acutely aware of the immediate need to get Caymanians back to work and signing the agreement in advance of the ForCayman Investment Alliance agreement allows projects to start, which will do just that – get Caymanians back to work,” she said. 

Mrs. Doak said the labour-intensive projects that the agreement will bring about was “equivalent to turning on the engine of economic recovery in the Cayman Islands”. 

“Work will begin almost immediately with construction commencing within 30 days and to employ dozens of people over the approximately 24 month construction period,” she said, noting that 30 Caymanians were already doing some work on the Dart-owned land where the Esterley Tibbetts extension will be. 

About 2,500 feet of West Bay Road between Governors Way and Yacht Club will be closed, with the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension serving to replace the closed section. 

The Esterley Tibbetts Highway is already in place between Governors Way and Raleigh Quay Drive and Mrs. Doak said vehicular access between those two roads would cease. 

“However, pedestrians and bikers will be able to use a purposely designed, meandering bike trail which will provide the public with a safe and scenic coastal path – preserving the public’s access to the beach and the views along the way.” 

One new aspect of the agreement is the construction of a road – an extension of Reverend Blackman Road – from the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to Willie Farrington Drive. That road will be constructed by the Dart Group, however they will be able to recover the costs at a later date. 

The heads of terms of the larger deal calls for the Dart Group to give government US$20.5 million for education, community and training programmes. As part of the agreement signed this week with the National Roads Authority, US$5 million of that amount will be released, with half going towards a residential mortgage arrears assistance programme and half for education, parks and housing. 

west bay road illustration

This drawing shows the 2,500-foot section of West Bay Road between Governors Way and Yacht Drive that will eventually be closed. The expanded Public Beach is shown just north of Governors Way between the ocean and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway extension.

1 COMMENT

  1. Governor Taylor has added more sorrow to the plight of the Caymanian people by shirking his responsibility as Governor.
    My suggestion is that if government want the road closed the people can close it for them Democratic style:

    Drive your l8 wheeler trucks, bull-doozers, backhoes and every vehicle you can find to STOP THIS DART AND MCKEEVA railroading of the people’s democratic and constitutional rights.

    DO WHAT THE NORTH SIDERS AND EASTENDERS WERE PREPARED TO DO! BLOCK THE ROAD AND STOP THEM FROM WORKING ON IT.

    We have got to send a message that we have enough of this abuse and will not take it anymore.

  2. Good decision, thank god that all the talk has finished and one project at least will go ahead. Personally I am looking forward to the improved public beach, I am sure Dart will do an excellent job as always.

  3. This is awesome news for the Grand Cayman economy:
    1) Will be less traffic and slow down traffic on 7 mile beach. Make it safer for everybody including tourist.
    2) Bigger and better public beach area.
    3) With this new hotel it will increase room inventory getting Cayman more airline flights.
    4) Get Caymanians back to work for over the next 2 years. Then when the hotel opens, more jobs are created and more Room tax to government.
    5) Property values in West Bay will increase with this needed highway.
    6) The scenic coastal bike trail path through the close area will be great for all in preserving a safe place to walk, run and ride.

    When the Dart Group does any project it is always done in a GRAND style and always gives back to the community.

  4. When the Cayman economy is in such dire straights and an opportunity to develop and produce revenue and jobs here yet there are a number of people who are against this yet are mad that the economy isn’t better or stronger. It is confusing to me.

  5. At last some good news. A five star hotel full of stay over tourists is exactly what the island needs. Better than the refinery idea etc. And the extension of the bypass road included for free. Great for Cayman Dart. Well done.

  6. This is great but what happens when we are are diverted onto one road from West Bay to George Town, I think Friday was a good indication of what we will have to look forward to once they close that stretch f road 45 minutes to an hour to get to town from West Bay.

  7. oh Artist….*shakes head
    Do you mean like that one stretch of road that they have now?

    In case you didn’t notice, there aren’t two roads going into west bay now.

    You must be a member of CAVE. Looking for anything as an excuse. Even if it absolutely doesn’t make sense.

    CHANGE..it’s the devil!