The Dart group began removing slabs of beach rock from the waters off Seven Mile Beach on Wednesday at the site of a planned five-star resort.

A silt screen was put in place and an excavator rolled into the shallows to scrape out samples of the rock as part of a trial to determine the feasibility of a much larger excavation.

Ultimately, Dart wants to remove rock spanning a half-kilometer of coastline in front of the site to create a sandy beach entry for guests of the planned hotel.

A coastal engineer and marine biologist hired by the developer were on site as well as officials from the Department of Environment for the trial excavation, which was approved following a Coastal Works Application earlier this year.

“It’s remarkable how thin the layers of beach rock actually are,” said Ken Hydes, vice president of special projects for Dart Development. “Only a few of the pieces we observed were more than a foot thick. The planning and professionalism of the crew and the comprehensive silt screening system ensured that the areas surrounding the trial area were minimally affected.”

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The objectives of the trial are to remove samples for a geologist to study and confirm as beach rock and to inform on the development of a removal methodology that is safe and least impactful on the marine and beach environment, Dart said in a press release.

Jackie Doak, president of Dart Real Estate said, “Removing beachrock is not an all-or-nothing proposition for us, and this trial will provide useful data that will help inform our next steps in planning development in the area designed to balance environmental management and economic growth.”

Dart said in its statement that the planned resort and residences would represent $600 million in economic impact during construction, add room stock and play a major role in ensuring a pipeline of employment for the construction industry and growth.

The removal of the beach rock has caused some controversy, however, and is opposed by the Department of Environment, which warns it could cause erosion on Seven Mile Beach.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Many may not know, however many of us do know, that when you see such thin layers of formation of beach rock along the shore line, it usually been caused by constant bad weather or hurricanes removing the beach sand and gravel from one area and piling it up in another.
    That same type of bed rock formation that is now being removed on West Bay Beach, if you visit the Coe Wood Beach in Bodden Town you will see the same thing. Before we used to have little fine gravels and sand and could walk out in the sea to some nice white holes and enjoy good swim areas. To day since Paloma and Ivan hurricane changed the shore line, a reef is forming along the shoreline. It sometimes grows moss and is slippery and dangerous to walk on. This area is just to the west side of the boat ramp.
    Eventually a reef will form, if it has not already formed along the shore line on this West Bay area we speak of.
    There should be no objections to the Dart Foundation cleaning this up, because eventually we will get a better and cleaner area to swim in. I would suggest that someone look at the formation on the Coe Wood Beach, talk with the folks there and learned what has happened. I wish Dart would come and do something about our beach so we can easily get back in the water and have a nice swimming area again.

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  2. A hurricane or storm is a natural occurrence, removing beach rock is not. Do you really think that having a nice swimming hole is more important than protecting the environment? It is NOT a clean up, it is the removal and destruction of a natural occurring part of the beach.There is a a reason that D.O.E. is opposed to this, as any educated person should be. People have found out the hard way in many other places that messing with coast lines eventually leads to disaster no matter how well thought out the process is. This is a very sad day for Cayman.

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