In defence of the Public Beach wall

The board of the Central Planning Authority read your article titled, ‘Wall goes up near Public Beach,’ dated 2 Dec. 2019, and write to provide your readers with some clarification on the reasons for approving the construction of the wall in tandem with other upgrades and development in the area.

The applicant, the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, made a submission for the wall to be 2.3 feet high. As a condition for the approval, the Central Planning Authority directed the applicant to build the majority of the wall 5 feet in height with no openings, to discourage the dangerous practice of persons, especially visitors, crossing from the public beach to the other side of the road. There has been a common practice of taxis and tour buses stopping on the corner to collect passengers. 

Just prior to the Central Planning Authority receiving the application, there was a serious accident around the corner involving a pedestrian. The Central Planning Authority felt a higher wall would prevent future accidents of this nature.

In addition, the varying height was determined on advice received from the National Roads Authority in consideration to the visibility needed to produce unobstructed views for motorists entering and exiting the public beach.

The type and position of the wall was discussed at length, and consideration was given to a number of factors, particularly the need to set the wall back from the road due to the location of pre-existing underground utilities. As a result, typical barrier methods, such as a fence or guard rails, would have been inadequate at that location.

While there is some unfortunate loss of beach views and vistas, the issue of safety remains our primary concern.

We would like to reassure the public that the final design will position a sidewalk behind the wall to protect pedestrians travelling to and from the beach. The approved design also provides for Cayman rocks and vegetation to be included to make it more aesthetically pleasing, as seen on other projects.

Interested members of the public can view the minutes of our meeting on 21 March 2018, leading to our decision, on the Department of Planning website at www.planning.ky.

A.L. Thompson
Board Chairman
Central Planning Authority

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