The landfill is one of the key issues on the campaign trail for next month’s election and its unmistakable presence and blight on the Cayman landscape was made particularly evident this past week when part of it erupted in flames again.
It makes it then even more significant that this much-debated eyesore was also in the news this week for what it is hoped will be the ultimate resolution of this long-standing, long-drawn-out problem.
The Cayman Islands Government and the Dart Group have signed a contract, which Premier Alden McLaughlin said has been in negotiations for years, to complete the remediation of the dump including the installation of an 8.5 megawatt waste-to-energy conversion facility.
The contract valued at CI$200 million and spans 25 years, will cover “design, finance, maintain and operate a new integrated solid waste management system, and complete the ongoing mediation of the George Town landfill”, explained Premier McLaughlin who described.
The state of the landfill, referred to as Mount Trashmore, is one of the central issues of debate in the ongoing election campaign both as a single topic and also as a key element in the discourse about the environment and sustainable development.
Calling the signing of the contract historic, Premier McLaughlin said: “It is a national achievement for the Cayman Islands and the final step towards the delivery of a modern 21st century, solid waste solution that will have tremendous benefits for the environment, for the community and future sustainable growth.”
“We cannot continue to handle waste in the manner it has been done over these decades,” he said.
Mr McLaughlin said the dump was nearing capacity with just another five years left.
The project called ReGen, is the first public/private partnership contract of its kind in Cayman, is expected to take three and half years to complete with the energy recovery and remediation - some elements of which are already being carried out -expected to be completed by 2024.
Speaking for the Dart Group, Cameron Graham, president of Development Delivery and Infrastructure, said the contract and the project represent “a defining moment in Cayman’s history.”
“Today kicks off a rigorous project timeline, including environmental impact assessment, engineering, design, permitting procurement and construction of the new facilities," he explained.
Mr Graham also stated: “After years of work in collaboration with government to finalise the details of this multimillion-dollar multi-decade project, we are proud to sign this contract to deliver on the government stated objectives for solid waste management.”
He also said the construction phase will create 300 jobs and 60 for the operation of the completed facility.
There’s also an education and community awareness component on solid waste management built into the contract.