No planning permission will be required for the proposed redevelopment of Smith Barcadere.
The government-owned parcels were granted exemption from planning permission in July 2018, one week after a community meeting was held at South Sound Community Centre to discuss the site.
“There is no application for planning permission,” said Ron Sanderson, deputy director of planning with the Department of Planning.
“At the meeting held on 17 July 2018, Cabinet granted approval for the exemption from Planning Permission for the proposed redevelopment/enhancement of Smith Barcadere on Block 7C, Parcels 70, 71, 72 and 81 for public purposes, under Section 53 (1) of the Planning and Development Law (2015).”
Those parcels have since been combined into one unit, Block 7C Parcel 140.
Under the Planning Law, Cabinet may waive the requirement for planning permission if the project is deemed in the public interest. Such exemptions, by law, should be published in the government Gazette.
Section 53 (1) of the law reads, “the Cabinet may, by Order published in the Gazette, waive the requirement to obtain permission”.
The Central Planning Authority was not able to indicate in which Gazette the exemption was published and requested further questions be directed to Cabinet.
Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose forwarded questions about the exemption and Gazette notice to the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure.
“The Ministry … would be able to confirm whether there is a requirement in the law for exemptions to be gazetted,” Rose told the Cayman Compass.
The ministry had not provided comment by press time Monday.
In a search of the Gazette archives for the Smith Barcadere exemption, the Compass was unable to locate any publication of the notice.
While plans for the beachside parking lot were discussed at the July 2018 community meeting, the planning exemption did not appear to be mentioned and was not reported in the press.
A.L. Thompson, chairman of the Smith Barcadere Committee, told residents at the July 2018 meeting that the project would likely cost around $500,000, split between government and private funds.
“We can’t sit around and wait for government to do everything,” Thompson said at that meeting. “You want to keep it, you want to retain it, you don’t want to see it destroyed. If we leave it the way it is, if we leave it alone, it’s going to be destroyed. I can tell you that. We need some help. We need your help to put this together.”
A tender for the redevelopment work at Smith Barcadere Plans was issued on the government’s public procurement portal in December. Local residents held a peaceful protest at the cove in South Church Street on Saturday to let officials know that they opposed the redevelopment work and to call for public consultation on the plans.
A public meeting to discuss the issue further will be held at the South Sound Community Centre at a date yet to finalised.
Premier Alden McLaughin and Barbara Conolly, MLA for George Town South, were contacted for comment but had not responded by press time.