CPA’s Balboa Beach decisions to be appealed

The CPA is understood to have granted after-the-fact approval to a concrete slab that has been built at the Balboa Beach site. - Photo Taneos Ramsay

The controversy surrounding work at the Balboa Beach site along the George Town waterfront continues to escalate as two recent Central Planning Authority decisions on the development face appeals.

The appeals stem from mixed decisions that were handed down by the CPA in September on two after-the-fact applications concerning Balboa Beach.

Kel Thompson, the landowner, submitted the joint applications – for a concrete slab that was poured onto ironshore at the site and the partial filling-in of a portion of submerged ironshore.

The CPA refused the after-the-fact application for the filling-in of submerged coastal land, which Thompson is appealing; and allowed the concrete slab, a decision which neighbouring landowner Chris Johnson is appealing.

Thompson’s attorney Samuel Jackson said of the refusal, “We have expressed our interest to appeal the CPA’s decision on the grounds that it was irrational, and was unduly influenced by the National Conservation Council, which really had no real role in such a decision to begin with.”

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During the application process for after-the-fact approval, the Department of Environment’s concerns were communicated to the CPA via a written submission.

On behalf of the National Conservation Council, the DoE wrote it was “very concerned at the extent of unauthorised works which have taken place on this site, including the works which are the subject of this application. The application site is adjacent to a Marine Protected Area, namely a Marine Park, and is in a prominent location in the heart of George Town.”

During the original CPA meeting in September, Johnson attended as an objector and urged the CPA not to grant the after-the-fact applications because he feared they were actually made with the intent to build a bar.

Johnson told the CPA, “When you look at the entire project, you will see that the CPA has been misled and hoodwinked, to be used to approve an application that is simply to support a bar.”

He told the Compass he intends to appeal the CPA’s decision on similar grounds.

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