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Dart shares vision of ‘long sustainable development and shared prosperity’ at Luncheon

Local News 27 Jul, 2022 Follow News

Dart’s President of Business Development, Jackie Doak speaking at the Parliamentary Luncheon

The Chamber of Commerce’s Parliamentary Luncheon, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel

By Christopher Tobutt

Working together for the long-term sustainable development of the Cayman Islands was at the heart Dart’s President of Business Development, Jackie Doak’s message at the recent Chamber of Commerce Parliamentary luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel: “We’d like to continue the discussion today about how the public and private sector can collaborate and each play a role in contributing to the long-term sustainability of the Cayman Islands, and create opportunities for shared prosperity,” she said. 

It was a vision spanning every facet of what is understood by the buzzword ‘sustainability,’ including using more solar energy, integrating biodiverse habitats into all their present and future developments, helping ensure Cayman is able to equip tomorrow’s leaders through its scholarship, education and internship programs, and grants to the R3 Foundation, and a brand new ‘Acre for Acre,’ conservation pledge. 

On renewable energy, Ms. Doak said, “Dart’s vision for the future is fueled by renewable energy. Dart was an early adopter of Solar, adding capabilities into our existing properties and future of ongoing designs. At the end of 2021 the total installed solar capacity was 1,410 KW in more than 13 locations.  We will be adding another 450 KW in 2022 and are looking at other opportunities in other locations and we recently announced our investment in Cayman Brac Power & Light. We are working together with an experienced team on a strategic approach to renewable energy, reducing the reliance of diesel fuel and are excited to be working alongside CUC the Cayman islands Government and others to collectively achieve the goal of the national energy policy.”

On education, Ms. Doak outlined Dart’s commitment to developing ‘Cayman’s future leaders.’  “Through our Dart Scholars program, we are able to recognize and assist some of the brightest young minds in reaching their full potential. In addition to the scholarships, ‘Work-X’ provides paid work experience to Dart scholars and other Caymanian university students. This summer we had 29 students at Dart and we are also holding an additional 20 students, some of whom are CIFEC students, for up to 6 months. Dart is also piloting a paid hospitality training program in collaboration with WORC for 15 Young Caymanians who will gain real world experience in our hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton.’ 

Development need not always be opposed to conservation, Ms Doak said, and Dart has shown that, by integrating many different kinds of indigenous and endemic plants and trees into their landscaping around buildings, and on roundabouts and verges, it is actually possible to produce ‘biodiversity net-gain’ developments. But biodiverse habitat can also be preserved by, ‘building upwards instead of outwards’ thereby ‘reducing sprawl,’ she said, as she called on new rules which allowed higher rise buildings in certain areas. 

“A comprehensive environmental management framework informed by all stakeholders, that reflects a shared vision for the future, would provide clear guidance and greater certainty on how land can and should be protected, managed or developed. We shared our perspective last year that the division seems to be more intense than it actually is, when ultimately the majority of the community is seeking the same broad outcomes of a sustainable Cayman Islands. However the lack of clarity not only leads to uncertainty, it has created unnecessary polarization in the community and that continues today,” she said.   

Unveiling Darts brand-new conservation initiative, the Acre for Acre pledge, Ms. Doak said, “In any future Dart Developments, for every acre that is disturbed, we will commit an acre of untouched natural habitat to be held for conservation. This is at the core of an environmental management framework, preserving and protecting lands that are environmentally sensitive, while developing land that has the opportunity to provide the greatest economic benefit for the country. In the spirit of community, we hope our Acre for Acre pledge is a catalyst for other developers and government to adopt a similar philosophy with future development projects. This could result in 30 percent of the islands land mass forever being preserved. Today Acre for acre could become a global world leader for land conservation.”

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