5-story hotel Barkers faces objections

Barkers Beach hotel website in West Bay

(CNS): A controversial application for a hotel in West Bay just over a mile from Barkers Beach National Park is being challenged by a local objector on a number of grounds, including technical legal issues related to setbacks and other compliance issues. But Coe Group Ltd’s project for the Barkers Beach Resort is also subject to objections due to the impact this type of development and similar types of development have on property prices and how this affects the capacity of local populations to become owners.

If the proposed complex on Conch Point Drive is built, a number of poorly maintained but nonetheless affordable rental units will be replaced with a luxury one, and the objector highlighted the concerns of many residents that in the absence of any development needs assessment, luxury and tourism projects are taking over the territory.

“There is great concern about entry level properties for young Caymanians in their own country and young people in our community to reinvest in the Barkers, Conch Point, Spanish Bay and Mount Pleasant area,” wrote the objector in a letter to the Central Planning Authority. . who is to hear the request on Wednesday.

“Luxury developments like this, while they may increase my own valuation of property, will only increase property costs further, putting property further out of the reach of young people. The short-term gain in the value of real estate sales is not worth the long-term impact on the housing market, ”said the neighboring landowner. “It also relates to the assessment of the development needs of what entry and mid-range properties to buy versus how many luxury and tourist accommodation our country really needs.”

Current government policy, which has been made clear by Prime Minister Wayne Panton, is for Cayman to reconsider how it develops and to have sustainability at the heart of its concerns. While this is significantly linked to climate change and building resilience in island development as sea levels rise, sustainability is also linked to economic issues related to development.

But good the new CPA was appointed by members of the PACT government, so far many of the decisions made since those appointments took effect on July 2 run counter to government policy and run counter to sustainability goals.

To allow controversy Owned by Boggy Sands building permit to allow the mangrove clearing on land belonging to the father of the minister of town planning in the absence of any town planning request, the board of directors authorized projects which had even been refused by the previous members, which were strongly criticized for their will to approve almost everything except parking shortage.

The app for the Barkers hotel is on human-modified ground. However, the Ministry of the Environment noted the threat the project poses to a marine protected area during construction and ordered the APC to impose certain conditions during the construction phase with the aim of preventing the pollution from debris in the sea, which is a growing problem with the island of Grand Cayman. excessive coastal development.

The DoE also raised concerns about future work the owners may have planned for the beach that they have not yet requested, given that the site’s beach is a much wilder, sandy coastline than the picture. of Seven Mile Beach, which the applicants used in promoting the project to foreign investors.

“The request does not appear to include a request for modification or shore grooming at this time,” the DoE wrote in its submissions, as they noted that “the site has a naturally rocky / pebbly beach due to the topography at the wide and grooming this beach will not result in a sandy “Seven Mile Beach” aesthetic.

Experts warned, “Constant beach grooming is not generally approved by the DoE as it tends to lead to other impacts such as loss of beach profile or erosion. On windward coastal beaches like this, rock and rubble work to stabilize the sediment on the shore, including the sandy beach itself. Sand screening brings the finest sands to the top of the beach profile, exposing them to wind erosion.

The opponent also raised concerns about what the developers will do on the beach, pointing out that the development website depicts a white sand beach with buildings directly on the shore.

“Do her clients know what this beach really looks like? Will Coe Group be looking for a Coastal Works app to dredge or modify the range to meet customer expectations as advertised? The letter of objection asks the CPA to consider when it hears the request. “There is little or no vegetation directly between the building and the shore, either in the plan or in the digital renderings on the website. This raises great concerns about beach erosion, especially in light of the massive erosion of Seven Mile Beach. “

The application also presents a number of technical challenges that could lead to the downscaling of the project, which currently includes three 5-story buildings connected by walkways, as well as a swimming pool, three cabanas, a restaurant, a bar and tanks. of LPG. .

The developers are expected to appear before the CPA on Wednesday afternoon to address a number of concerns in addition to objections from the neighboring landowner. This includes the inadequate setbacks proposed on either side of the buildings, the off-site parking area, the lack of the required public right-of-way and the fluidity of traffic.

See the application in the CPA calendar in the SNC Library.

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