An environmental impact assessment will be required before construction on the Cayman Island’s new waste-management infrastructure can commence.

A consortium of companies led by Dart Enterprises has been selected as the preferred bidder on the project, which will include a new waste-to-energy electricity plant and small engineered landfill.

Gina Ebanks-Petrie, director of the Department of Environment, who was part of the steering committee during the planning stages of the waste management system, said she had advised that an EIA would likely be required.

Ultimately, the project team opted to skip the first stage of the process – an official analysis and assessment by the National Conservation Council on whether an EIA was necessary – and proceed straight to the assessment itself.

“I had advised that this is major infrastructure with potentially significant impacts and the ministry and the project team have been operating on the basis that an EIA would be required,” said Ms. Ebanks-Petrie.

She said the exact scope of the assessment would be determined over the next few weeks, but the impact of the waste-to-energy plant and the handling of the closure and capping of the existing landfill sites would likely be part of the remit. The management of the closure of landfill sites on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac and the shipping of waste from those islands to Grand Cayman will also be examined.

An Environmental Assessment Board was appointed Wednesday to manage the process.

The group includes leading civil servants from the Department of Environment, Department of Planning, Department of Environmental Health and the Port Authority.

Their job will be to help set the parameters of the inquiry, which will be carried out by independent consultants.

Ms. Ebanks-Petrie said the duration and the likely cost of the study had yet to be determined.

Announcing the selection of Dart and its partners as the “preferred bidder” on the project last week, government indicated it would get on with the EIA and planning application process, while the final details of the contract were being negotiated, with construction on new facilities likely to commence next summer.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.