Health City Development construction crews must tread carefully as they work to build a new apartment complex to serve medical tourists at the growing facility.
A quirk of the development approval is a list of conditions that must be complied with under the National Conservation Law.
The five-story building is being erected around one of the last remaining trees of its kind found anywhere in the world.
As a condition of planning permission, the developer has agreed to build a wall around the tree and maintain a 15-foot buffer zone.
At the site last week, a yellow ribbon had been tied around the tree and a white exclusion zone painted around the perimeter of the tree, where it sits, close to what will be a large swimming pool on the edge of the apartment complex.
According to the Department of Environment’s response to the planning application, published with agenda papers for the April 26 Central Planning Authority meeting, the tree is one of only two Aegiphila caymanensis found anywhere in the world. The tree, only found in Grand Cayman, is listed as critically endangered, and it would be an offense under the National Conservation law to jeopardize its survival, the DOE notes.
It states that the root structure makes it impossible to move and recommends conditions including the construction of a wall around the tree and the maintenance of other vegetation in that area to provide shade and shelter.