21 people in 2021: Colin Lumsden

George Town city planner Colin Lumsden

While the Cayman 2.0 series has thus far been looking at the ideas and strategies that could make the country a better place, we changed things up for December. We’re highlighting 21 people who could turn some of those ideas into reality – or at least get the ball rolling – over the next calendar year.

City Manager Colin Lumsden is continuing his mission to bring back vibrancy to the nation’s capital.

The George Town Revitalisation Initiative coordinator for the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure has been hard at work since his appointment in October 2018, heading a long-term project which is described as a ‘holistic approach towards resurrecting’ the capital.

Since its inception, the project – under Minister Joey Hew – has achieved policy changes through the Development and Planning Law, and has also undergone extensive stakeholder and public engagement. 

Design processes are ongoing, including for parks which will be in the capital. The ministry has also launched the free George Town hop-on, hop-off shuttle, a pilot project which they hope to expand.

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One of the initiative’s underlying plans was to create pride in and ownership of George Town, and to that end there have been events held within the capital, including Experience Cayman LIVE, the Street Food Festival and Saturday Night Live.

21 people in 2021

James Whittaker
• Rachel Smyth
• Andre Gooden
• Adam Sax
• Marc Langevin
• Louisa Sax
• Dr. Marc Lockhart
• Lauren Nelson
• Jordan Stubblefield
• Brandon Caruana
• Josephine Horwitz
• Juliet Austin
• Stacy McAfee
• Blair Lilford
Mike Mannisto
Sergio Coni
• Jason Washington
• Denise Powers
Sara Jan

“It is not a beautification project,” explains Lumsden. “It involves intrinsic change that involves a lot of engagement, discussion, policies, and undoing of existing problems.”

These problems include a move away from multi-use to single-use zoning. Lumsden also includes decentralisation of George Town, with a loss of some businesses and government offices, as a contributing factor to the decline of the capital.

The Revitalisation Initiative and its central business-enhancement project aim to move towards a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented town with pocket parks, improved street connections and a better cross-section of housing within George Town, from single detached to multi-family to mid-rise buildings.

“We also need to look at building heights,” says Lumsden. “We need to redesign from the root up.”

This redesign will also look at improved transport and mobility, giving residents the freedom to move throughout George Town and decrease the amount of traffic.

“George Town needs to be a place where people live and enjoy,” says Lumsden. “It was the pride and heart of Cayman. Cayman was built through George Town and there is a lot of history there. We need to make sure this is celebrated and resurrected to original form.”

Colin Lumsden at a glance

While the aims of the initiative are long term, many aspects will be tackled in 2021. 

A multi-faceted approach will be undertaken to improve traffic lighting, pedestrianisation and urban spaces. A capital development project will begin on Cardinall Avenue and Main Street which will include a tree-planting programme. 

A city furniture project, including planters and seeding, is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2021, and a lighting programme – a joint initiative with CUC – will provide ample lighting to George Town and also be equipped with Wi-Fi. An extension to Godfrey Nixon Way is also planned.

“All the aims and projects of the initiative are singular in approach but will come together,” explained Lumsden. “There is not one panacea to solve the problems. There must be a multi-faceted approach.”

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  1. Pedestrianisation of any of the arterial roads in central George Town will cause traffic gridlock as we have seen many times in the past during special events. Unless Mr Lumsden is planning to instal flyovers this is a bad idea, moreover as we won’t be seeing cruise ship passengers at least until sometime next year, where will the pedestrians come from?.