The Department of Environment: (DoE) has distanced itself from a decision allowing the filling in of part of the ironshore on North West Point for a luxury property development project.
In a statement dated, May 6th regarding the decision which is being questioned by some residents in the area and environment campaigners, the DoE said its recommendations were ignored.
“We highlighted that there would be impacts to the marine environment from this filling,” the DoE said while pointing out that “the Central Planning Authority (CPA) may accept or reject these recommendations when they make their decision.”
“Our recommendations were not followed,” the DOE said.
According to the Department of Environment, it was made aware of activity at the site (called Serrana) and sent its Conservation Officers to assess the situation.
The DoE said it was previously consulted on plans for the development in 2019, which included partially filling the barcadere and a reduced setback from the sea.
“We recommended that the proposed building be relocated further from the sea to increase the coastal setbacks (to meet the minimum legal requirement under the Development and Planning Regulations) and avoid the need to fill the barcadere,” it said.
The DoE also explained: “We highlighted that there would be impacts to the marine environment from this filling.”
However, it also points out that The Central Planning Authority (CPA) may accept or reject these recommendations when they make their decision,” adding that in this case “our recommendations were not followed.”
In March 2020, the CPA granted permission for the development, including a variance to the standard coastal setbacks allowing it to be built closer to the sea, and partially filling the barcadere.
According to the DoE, “As these works were given planning permission and fall within the landowners’ boundary, this is the jurisdiction of the Planning Department.”
Under its mandate, the 13 member CPA decides whether or not to support an application for Development and dictates any conditions of approval if applicable.
The environmental impact of residential and commercial projects in Cayman, was a prominent factor in the recent election campaign and is expected to form a key pillar of the policies of the new PACT administration led by Premier Wayne Panton.
Mr Panton, a previous environment minister, has given the issue an even higher profile and priority by renaming it the Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency for which he has taken direct portfolio responsibility.