By Christopher Tobutt
The West Bay Concerned Citizens group has finally got some good news. For several months their concern, which has focused on issues pertaining to public rights-of-way, surrounded a substantial encroachment onto Mary Mollie Hydes Road in West Bay, at the place where it merges onto Town Hall Road. The encroachment is from a big 4 story residential home at the end of the road, where gardens, palm trees and a group of large boulders have encroached onto the road by at least 8 feet.
But now, Concerned Citizens’ Executive Member Ezmie Smith has got some good news in the form of an email from Deputy Director of Planning Ron Sanderson, which states: “The Departments staff met on site with the owner’s architect and verified that the landscaping features were in fact within the public road reserve. Subsequently, there was discussion with the Director of Planning and the applicant’s architect was then advised that a Certificate of Occupancy would not be issued for the house until the trees, rocks and landscaping were removed from the public road reserve.”
Ms Smith, who says that she originally wrote emails to several government officials in December 2019, but without any initial response, received her reply one day after sending another email on 19 January, said: “It’s very good to see that Planning has taken some action, and I hope that the obstructions will be removed immediately also the day that we went onsite the people were already occupying the premises. If the Government doesn’t have the time to enforce it then we the group, if they provide us with the heavy equipment, will see that the obstructions are removed.”
Another member of the group, Alice Mae Coe also expressed her satisfaction at the response: “It was good to get the email from Mr. Sanderson of the Planning Department. there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved in the Cayman society but it’s not for the lack of laws, but the lack of enforcement. So we are pleased that the planning department is moving ahead to deal with the issue of the Mary Mollie Hydes Road, and the encroachment on the roadside and road reserve. We therefore look forward to this being resolved to the public’s satisfaction.” Group member Annie Multon also commented: “I just want to say how pleased the group now is after getting a reply so quickly from the Planning Department, and they realized that what we were saying made absolute sense and that the road was being blocked.
The Caymanian Times also had the following response by email from Infrastructure Minister Hon. Joseph Hew, “My departments have been in touch/responded to the inquires. The Department of planning has been in contact with the owner’s architect and they are committed to ensuring that they are compliant with the law in meeting the necessary set backs.”
There was also an email response from a representative of the National Roads Authority (NRA):
“The NRA had a survey done and has noted the encroachment. An encroachment notice was served today, on the landowner via the architect to remove the obstructions.”