I am a resident of Safe Haven, living in one of two houses each situated on a canal lot. The canal is part of the Safe Haven residential development, created as one would expect, in a residential zone, and yet, on the opposite side of my home, commercial boats are docked and allowed to operate their business.
The boat owners do so freely, by virtue of an agreement between themselves and the Defendants in Cause no. 382 of 2012 … an agreement, apparently, not sanctioned by the Planning Department and definitely not by us; an agreement that was reached without the residents being given any notice or any opportunity to be heard.
For one year, we have had to suffer what in any other place would successfully be upheld as a nuisance. Almost daily we are subjected to busloads of tourists racing down the road at the front of our property to get to the boats. The drivers veer across the grassy undeveloped lots without a care for use of the roads. The boats play their music loudly for the tourists and their engines emit noise, noxious fumes and smoke.
When the boats return from their trips, the crews yell across to each other as they clean up after their tours and then they dump filthy water into the canal along with discarded Styrofoam cups and other garbage. On two occasions, parties have been held on the open lots against which the boats have been moored with loud music and alcohol. I have been cursed at in my own garden by crew members who scoffed at my attempts to complain about their party and asked what I thought I could do about it? They are Caymanian, they say, and because of that, the canal belongs to them.
I am Caymanian and I paid for my lot, which includes the right to the use of the canal under the residential covenants and Planning Law, but that does not seem to matter. The boat owners say that they have been there for 20 years, but the Safe Haven development was not completed until 1994. There was no dock area for them to moor in prior to that date, so how in 2012 could they have been there for 20 years?
This “agreement” has deprived us of so very much for which there can be no compensation, not that there has ever been such an offer.
We have had to erect a lattice screen at our expense along our entire seawall just to block out the crowds of people, the noise, the smoke and the fumes. A screen, on a canal in a residential development, blocking the view … why would anyone do that voluntarily? The answer, if not already evident, is because we have lost our privacy and the value of living on what was once a lazy, quiet canal. In fact, the value of our home diminishes with every day that this commercial enterprise is allowed to operate in this residential development. It does not seem to matter, though, at least not to the people who make the rules.
And who, by the way are the people who make the rules and what are the rules? What set of people do they apply to and do the rules and the people change like the ebb and flow of the tide? Certainly, the rules are not those set out under the Planning Law. That has been completely circumvented or ignored in this situation, and so the question remains, when does this end? Does it end this October as was intimated in the press, or does it go on indefinitely?
And if it does go on, who will give us back our privacy, our peace and the value of our home for which we have paid and not been given for free?