With an increasing number of housing developments popping up in their communities, it is perhaps of little surprise that traffic congestion and the environment are top agenda items for Red Bay and Prospect voters.
Coupled with that, there are growing concerns over excessive speeding in the densely packed neighbourhoods that are home to an electorate of more than 1,300 in each constituency.
Speeding and environmental concerns Gary Watler, a Victory Avenue resident and Red Bay voter, said he has seen improvements in his constituency, but when it comes to traffic, the community remains frustrated.
“At first, we used to have a lot of flooding on the roads, but now the premier and them have started to address that. We’re finally getting our community park in place, which was another concern for kids [who] had nowhere to play. But the main issue right now that we’re all facing is the traffic ‘cause commuting in the morning and the evenings is very difficult – getting to work and back from work because of traffic flow,” Watler said.
He also questioned why it was taking so long for the roadworks to be completed. “Why couldn’t it just be continuous all the way and not stop until it was completed?” Watler asked.
Over on Patricks Avenue, in the Prospect constituency, Christine Terry lamented the same challenges with traffic.
However, she said, apart from congestion, she sees a problem with speeding and policing. “I would like [them] to address some more policing… up and down on the street. This is a real nice quiet neighbourhood and to me it’s suitable for more policing to be patrolling up and down,” she said. Birch Avenue resident and fellow Prospect voter Barbara Miller shared Terry’s concern about excessive speeding.
“The main issue, I think, is the speeders down our road. They just fly down here and we’re always trying to get them to slow down,” Miller said, adding the community has a stray cat and chicken problem as well.
However, for her, community safety is a big issue “in general and in Prospect”.
“I think just people feeling safe, in their houses,” she said, adding that the environment is also a concern. Pointing to the recent illegal clearing of mangroves in the neighbouring Red Bay constituency on Abbey Way, Miller said she would like more attention paid to issues with overdevelopment and the environment.
“We really don’t need all these concrete… whatever you call it… concrete jungles. Why are they not preserving the environment?” she said.
Housing challenge Red Bay voter Jerrin Carter said he wants more done for young Caymanians who are struggling, working two jobs and more. He pointed out that affordable housing continues to be out of reach for many young Caymanians.
“You try to save up so much money, but everything… the prices are going up, going up, going up. You can’t even buy a piece of land no more. Before a large piece of land used to be up to $25,000. Now a small lot of 0.3 of an acre is like $120,000… who can afford that on a salary of $2,500 (per month) or less? Something needs to be done about that,” he said.
Carter also said more could be done to keep young people and children in his community active. He said continuing to build the Eddie Sanchez Community Park in Prospect is a welcomed move as there is a need for “some more activities for [children] to do because everyone is mostly inside the house, either on games or something. We don’t have enough outside activities.”
In addition, Carter noted that a fix for the traffic problem was urgently needed, as that situation is “pretty bad”.
“It takes you 45 minutes sometimes to get from Red Bay to town and if you’re coming up from the other side or from the eastern side of the island, it’s even longer, especially when you have an accident… you should be able to get to work efficiently and on time,” he said.
Carter suggested increasing the police presence, especially when there is a collision on the roadway, to better conduct traffic in such instances.
Meanwhile, for Abbey Way resident Khadine Moodie, the lack of speed bumps on her street is worrying for her as a parent.
“The speeding is a definite issue for me because I have children and they are out riding their bikes and stuff and sometimes it’s very scary for them to be out and about. [Speed bumps are] definitely high priority,” she said.
She added the community also had a problem with stray dogs.