Judge hears South Sound injunction arguments; decision pending

After hearing opposing arguments from a South Sound developer and objectors for several hours Tuesday, a judge is deliberating on whether or not to sustain an injunction temporarily halting a land reclamation and seawall project, R.C. Estates developer Rene Hislop said.

According to Mr. Hislop, Cayman Islands Grand Court Justice Charles Quin said he would issue a decision on or before 6 November, during which time the injunction will prevail. The injunction filed by objectors has halted work on the project since Friday.

Objectors want work on the project to stop until the Planning Appeals Tribunal has the chance to consider the Central Planning Authority’s decision to allow Mr. Hislop to extend some 2,000 feet of shoreline some 50 feet into the Sound and construct a 9-foot-high seawall.

Fixed or ambulatory

Some people fear that the planning authority’s approval of the project will lead property owners all along the coastline – including Seven Mile Beach – to consider reclaiming submerged land to the farthest extent of surveyed boundaries.

Mr. Hislop, meanwhile, said he is following established precedent, not setting one.

In mid-August, the authority accepted the argument made by Mr. Hislop’s attorney J. Samuel Jackson that the property owner maintains control over the whole area identified by a ‘fixed’ boundary survey done in 1999 – including the now-submerged land formerly covered by 50 feet of mangroves that were wiped out by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Other people, including the Protect South Sound group, Department of Environment and a former government chief surveyor, say the seaward boundary of a property travels along with natural forces of erosion and accretion.

Read more about this story in Thursday’s Caymanian Compass.