On the landfill 
(And we quote): 
‘@#%!’

We in the writing business usually have a fairly ample inventory of words.

After all, they’re the tools of our trade, and our job is to string ‘em together in the right order to inform, entertain, and, at times, apparently infuriate.

One should not minimize the power of stringing words together — after all, they have been known to cause wars, and every successful courtship depends on them.

Nevertheless, because we have plenty of our own, we rarely need to borrow someone else’s, but in this editorial we’d like to share what one commenter on our website recently had to say about the George Town dump.

Referring to Minister Osbourne Bodden’s comments in the Legislative Assembly on the landfill, and keeping it in its current location, the reader wrote:

“Blah, blah, blah! Just get the @#%! thing moved! The stench on the bypass is intolerable and must make a lasting impression on our visitors; I know it leaves one on me every time I drive by.”

Couldn’t have sworn it better ourselves ….

Like any business, the Cayman Islands has a brand image it strives to project onto the minds of our customers (tourists): clean-scented trade winds, clear Caribbean waters, the crystal sands of Seven Mile Beach, etc.

Unfortunately, as our astute reader observes, visitors arriving in Cayman actually are greeted with an austere highway, foul odor and 80-foot-tall eminence of garbage.

Opponents of creating a new landfill on another site often argue that the dump is near light and heavy industrial operations to the south and east. According to their logic, the current location is good enough — never mind the dump’s neighbor to the north, Camana Bay.

This editorial board acknowledges, and laments, the existing situation where stay-over visitors must journey from the aging Owen Roberts International Airport, through the industrial center of George Town, down a spartan portion of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and past Mount Trashmore, before finally reaching the shores of Seven Mile Beach or the impeccably landscaped boulevard near Camana Bay.

A signature of well-planned cities across the world is a grand entryway, an esplanade, that presents the best the community has to offer to incoming visitors. Ask anyone who has arrived at the Singapore airport, driven up Congress Avenue in Austin, traveled the Magnificent Mile in Chicago or entered Palm Beach, Florida, via Royal Palm Way.

The experience in Grand Cayman is closer to the situation in Kingston, Jamaica, where roads linking the airport to the picturesque mountains around the city wind through rundown slums.

Granted, attempting to change the land use in the entire area of Grand Cayman’s Industrial Park would most likely neither be feasible nor fair.

Something far easier and about as effective, however, would be for the government and/or tourism association to designate an official, “preferred” route for taxis, vans and shuttles to take from the airport to Seven Mile Beach, and appropriate resources to ensure the corridor is properly landscaped and flanked by visually appealing properties.

That won’t mean banning industrial activities that are occurring. Take, for example, the Cayman Spirits Company distillery, a working facility that is also a point of interest for passersby on the highway.

In fact, we can think of only one operation that is absolutely incompatible with tourism: the George Town landfill.

1 COMMENT

  1. Why don’t they build a new airport somewhere further east? It would solve so many problems. East is where they have space to expand as much as they want to. Imagine if there is a crash into the terminals, or schools or the hospital ? It just doesn’t make sense. Move the airport to the middle of the island. We have a brand new industry the hospital city, the new retirement village, the botanical garden, the potential of rum point, the new cave in north side , royal reef, morritts tortuga and let us not forget our Historical site our old capital Bodden Town.
    We need to keep the landfill for our future waste to energy production . I was one who felt no gov’t was ever going to do something about the landfill but this last few weeks has seen major change from this gov’t about the landfill. Cars are finally leaving on barges for recycling plants in the states . Glory hallelujah. Plus someone will take 2 million tires out of the landfill. If they cap it then no smell. If they can get the waste to energy before next christmas we’re done.

  2. David Miller I think you have some very brilliant ideas that should be considered.
    If no viable solution is insight for Mount Trashmore, then what are the alternatives. Build another road Highway or another airport and call it airport 2 International. The now airport is Run Down, old and dilapidated; and please don’t lets start about where the money is going to come from. Who really believes that the Cayman Islands is broke, think again. Besides the fact, there are Private investors who has been here for donkey ages, yet some or most, only use Cayman as a stepping stone to silver line clouds elsewhere. Like I have said before I am no acquaintance of Dart or anyone in his foundation, but they are the only persons I have see so far that has really plugged millions od dollars into this country to make it easier to travel and more beautiful to live. So maybe a new airport on the Eastern Districts could be a good thing. However I would not expect to see any such development in the district of Bodden Town. A whole generation would have to die off first, because the same old same old Nay Sayers, will continue to keep progress out.

  3. I partially agree with David’s comments. A new airport farther east would be an excellent idea for safety as well as to accommodate the medical tourism travelers we’re hoping the Shetty site attracts, but it wouldn’t be able to be done by Cayman Airways alone as they can barely maintain the rundown one we already have. It would have to be a Public-Private Partnership which I think could easily be accomplished if the CIG would show more integrity with the deals they make. The land where the current airport is would also be worth its weight in gold if leased to private parties in lieu of being sold. On the other hand the comment that we need to keep the landfill for our future waste to energy production, I don’t think this is a realistic idea because the cost of establishing a WTE facility is way way out of Caymans Reach unless someone else pays for it. It also would not be sustainable because Cayman couldn’t produce enough waste to keep the facility going. Look at Switzerland who has a huge WTE facility but has run out of garbage to burn. Luckily for them they have neighbors who are willing to pay them to take their garbage, and don’t get it wrong Switzerland is not buying garbage, they are getting paid to take it. I don’t think Cayman would be as fortunate with their neighbors.
    What Cayman needs to do is immediately cap that damn thing so it stops smelling up the place and leaching into the North Sound. While simultaneously starting an exhaustive recycling program that would separate everything that could be sold as scrap and repurpose the bulk of what’s left over, even consider a small air burner to supply power to the facility cutting down those CUC bills. Programs like this have been known to cut down a countries waste by up to 90%. They should also instruct the garbage crews to only pick up trash that has been properly separated and charge proper fees for god sakes.
    For those tires David mentioned, the only folks I’ve seen willing to take them are the developers of IronWood, but it looks like the CIG has blown this offer off just as they did Dart’s. The time limit for the RFP to remove them ended yesterday so we soon see how much luck they had selling them to someone who’d ship them off Island at their own cost. David has great ideas like getting waste to energy before next Christmas as many people do, but I have to believe it’s just wishfully thinking.
    Twyla, I agree with you completely about the Dart Foundation being one of the few that are actually willing to plunge tons of money into making the Cayman Island product better. The developers of IronWood seem to be following his example as well. We need more people like this who know that for their product to be a success the Island itself has to also be a success.

  4. This is a great opportunity for the current government to prove that they are capable of actually accomplishing something BIG, vs. keep BSing.
    Desperate times require desperate measures. And situation with the landfill is desperate.

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