Proposals for a new road in Little Cayman could open up 200 acres of “pristine primary habitat” to potential development, the Department of Environment has warned.
The National Conservation Council voted to require an Environmental Impact Assessment before the half-mile stretch of road is officially gazetted. The “Spine Road” would extend a previously gazetted, but yet to be constructed, route.
The road plan is supported by the District Administration for the Sister Islands, according to a report submitted to the council at its meeting last week.
Gina Ebanks-Petrie, director of the DoE, said the department is unclear what strategic assessment, if any, has been done to support the road plan.
“It is unlikely that the proposed road corridor has been evaluated against a formal development plan or strategy as one does not exist for Little Cayman despite past strategic planning efforts. The arbitrary selection of a road corridor without a Strategic Environmental Assessment or any form of strategic consideration against a long-term development strategy is not an approach supported by the DoE.”
She said the people of Little Cayman are generally opposed to development and suggested there was no obvious need for a new road to meet the island’s transportation requirements.
“Gazetting of this major road without proper development control mechanisms is certain to transform land use on either side of the corridor leading to wider reaching development impacts affecting the character of the island. NCC should bear in mind that the local community holds very strong views regarding the long-term development vision for Little Cayman, with most residents desiring the island remain predominantly undeveloped with low-density residential and boutique tourism.”
The proposal was revised from a much longer route, previously reviewed by the Department of Environment.
The council unanimously agreed to require an EIA before the route could be officially gazetted and to remind District Administration that they were required to separately consult the council before beginning clearing on the portion of the route that was previously approved.