Need long-term solution to beach erosion

I read with interest that the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort has applied for a coastal works license to re-establish the eroded beach in front of their property [Cayman Compass, 24 Jan.].

While I applaud the placement of wave droids to study the situation over an 18-month period, I have reservations about them placing a 20-foot-wide sandbag along the shore as a long-term solution to erosion. The material will deteriorate over time, especially with the coral and wave action.

While I agree that many properties have been built too close to the water’s edge, this was not always the case, as previously there was often a good buffer of beach sand.

Certainly, there is no shortage of sand in Cayman but the uneven distribution is becoming a problem, particularly as one moves along Seven Mile Beach towards George Town.

Several tons of sand are lost daily as it trickles over the wall into the abyss, never to be seen again. Surely, this could be used to help replenish the beach. I do not have the answer to overcome the beach erosion. Possibly, we are experiencing fewer nor’westers, which tend to cause replenishment.

I am, however, impressed with the artificial lagoon on the oceanside of Margaritaville, which seems to solve a lot of the problems and will endure for years to come. Maybe it is a step in the right direction?

I think it is time the Cayman Islands government and the Department of Environment woke up to realise that climate change, rising seas and beach erosion may well be a permanent situation.

Seven Mile Beach is a major tourist attraction and already the Marriott claims to have lost $4 million in tourist dollars related to beach erosion. Eventually, this will affect property values.

Time has come for the Cayman Islands government and the DoE to come up with some positive solutions and recognise that the situation is only going to get worse. Ignoring the situation will cost everyone in the long run.

Greg Richmond-Peck

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