Plans to expand the cargo facility at its current location could cause more problems than they solve, warns George Town Central legislator Kenneth Bryan.
Bryan is one of a number of opposition politicians who oppose cargo and cruise being rolled into one project.
Others like North Side legislator Ezzard Miller have argued that the cargo development should be left out of the referendum question.
But Bryan says his concerns are more fundamental.
He said no business case study had been done to show what scale of cargo port increase was required. And he believes that if Cayman continues to grow, the increases planned by government in this development may not be enough.
“My biggest issue is that they have indicated that they won’t be moving the cargo facility from its current location,” Bryan said.
“If the population grows to 100,000 they are going to have to keep expanding it and that will change the entire environment of the waterfront.
“I don’t see how developing an industrial port fits with the revitalisation of George Town.”
He acknowledged that relocating cargo operations would likely mean a new port and new environmental concerns elsewhere.
But he said he did not support the continued expansion of cargo at the current site and warned there may not even be enough space to accommodate future expansion.
If Cayman continues to grow, he warned, government may need to look for a new cargo site elsewhere anyway.
He said there had been no business case study done to examine Cayman’s future cargo needs and no assessment of other potential options for expansion.
“There has not been enough studies or research done to determine that cargo should be part of this project. It has just been thrown in there without the analysis that was done for the cruise project,” Bryan said.
Original business case
Cargo was not part of the project when the original Outline Business Case was developed. The document discussed cargo mainly in relation to its impact on the cruise facility.
The ‘preferred option’ outlined in the business case was for two cruise piers and a possible future relocation of cargo operations.
The consultants noted that the cruise facility should not eat into the existing cargo space. Their report does not preclude expanding cargo at the current location but it does not recommend it specifically.
The option outlined at that time suggested the cruise development should be built so as to allow the possibility for cargo operations to be moved in the future. It noted that this may not be financially feasible and suggested a study.
The business case stated, “Determining the timing, location and potential cost as well as the financial feasibility of relocating the cargo operations is not part of the [Outline Business Case] scope and would require an in-depth review and potential restructuring of the cargo operations and forecasts of future cargo volumes.”
The report added, “Given the importance of the cargo operations for the economic and social wellbeing of Caymanians and the foreseeable lack of space at the current George Town site for cohabiting cruise and cargo operations over the long term, we believe it would be prudent for government to undertake long-term planning for the relocation of the cargo operations.”