In response to a proposed development of bungalows over the water at South Hole Sound Marine Reserve in Little Cayman, the Little Cayman District Committee of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands has launched a petition to try and stop the project.
In a press release, the National Trust said it knew about Planning and Coastal Works applications that have been submitted for approval for the project and, and as a result, were “deeply concerned about the precedent this would set and damage this would cause in the Marine Park Zone.”
The petition would allow people who needed to, to make comment on the Coastal Works Permit Application and the petition signatures would then be submitted to Cabinet as part of the response to the application.
The National Trust said that anyone could also submit their input directly to Cabinet by emailing the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to do this is 13th August 2021.
The National Trust said it “urges all concerned about the protection of our Marine Park System to file their objections to the granting of this application and construction in South Hole Sound. The National Trust finds it profoundly troubling that serious consideration should be given to construction in a Marine Park, particularly by a for-profit, private commercial concern.”
They thought it would be obvious that a National Park should be off limits to construction under all circumstances and portions of it should not be given away for private use.
The location for the proposed construction is a Marine Protected Area which should not be disturbed, but instead, preserved for the people of the Cayman Islands and the marine species for which these areas were legally created over three decades ago, they said.
Of particular concern was the material damage caused to an otherwise untouched seabed. They also worried about the drilling necessary to place the support posts for the dock which would cause sedimentation and turbidity that could severely impact the nearby coral reef. The posts could potentially change water flow and ultimately the surrounding shoreline.
Changes in light and shadow to the nearshore ecosystem could disrupt the delicate balance of that habitat, they also worried.
“There is no way to mitigate this damage,” the National Trust stated. “The ongoing operation of a commercial business in the South Hole Sound Marine Reserve will degrade the Reserve constantly. And the debris pollution that will result from the inevitable, future catastrophic storm event will spread far and wide throughout the Reserve.”
Gregory S. McTaggart, LCDC Chairperson, said the National Trust called on the Government to act in the best interest of the country and all its citizens and residents and preserve the integrity of the South Hole Sound Marine Reserve and deny the overwater component of the Planning application and the Coastal Works Permit application for construction in the waters of South Hole Sound.