Deputy Prime Minister Chris Sanders and Minister Kenneth Bryan on Radio Cayman talk show

(CNS): Deputy Prime Minister Chris Sanders and Transport Minister Kenneth Bryan support development opportunities that would be enhanced if the East-West Highway extension were extended to Frank Sound. This would mean development in the central mangrove wetlands, but the minister favored building houses there, telling Cayman owners in and around the area that the land is worth a lot of money. .

Comments by ministers facing the PACT government’s sustainable development policy suggest that growing concerns about the path by local activists and environmentalists are well-founded.

Appearing on Radio Cayman’s morning talk show ‘For the Record’, ministers said Cayman needed land for affordable housing and needed to address a critical shortage of rental housing for workers. I said yes. However, land prices continue to rise, making it too expensive for Caymanians to build their own homes or for local developers to build their homes.

Their comments were made the day before the Climate and Sustainability Ministry’s announcement. Survey results On climate change, over a quarter of participants said overdevelopment was the most important and pressing issue in Cayman. For 26% of respondents, it’s a more pressing issue than the cost of living.

Sanders said the road itself is important to properly connect the Eastern District to Georgetown’s “Cayman hub.” He said it was “time” for the East-West Highway to be completed, and while he was aware of “environmental issues, etc.”, this was an “issue of national importance”. He said it was not the people living in the Eastern District who were opposed to the

Brian agreed. He said developing the road involves some sensitive issues, but economic opportunities are jeopardized if the work is not completed. Having access to land would lower the cost of land and allow people to build affordable housing, he suggested, adding that the “only way” to expand access to land was “that It’s via the East-West trunk line,” he added.

Sanders said developers are also buying land in the east, while the government is trying to acquire it. “We have individuals buying up a lot of land in the eastern interior of the country, and as soon as enough land is bought by various special interests, we will see pressure on…they After obtaining all the land, the East-West Artery.

He added, “I beseech the Cayman families not to sell their land in the eastern hinterland as it will be of great value once the east-west highway is completed.”

The DP said parts of the road would be a problem and supported the implementation of an environmental impact assessment because of concerns about potential flooding problems the road could cause.

“We accept that we need to do something about the environment,” he said. “But … from a national security point of view, from a productivity point of view, people in the eastern part of this country can’t stay stuck … And I want to say to environmentalists, polluting the air Heavy traffic jams are not healthy.”

Most of the problem lands covered by the EIA are wetlands. Some of the eastern hinterland accessible when the road is completed is dry land, but most is pristine endemic habitat or mangroves.

The Central Mangrove Wetland now constitutes a continuous vital ecosystem covering 8,655 acres. The National Trust describes it as “the ecological heart of Grand Cayman,” intrinsically linked to the North Sound and its marine ecosystem, which would collapse if the wetlands were destroyed.

In addition to providing many eco-services, particularly carbon sequestration, wetlands provide critical habitat for a myriad of species. It is also important for rainfall in Grand Cayman, as saturated air rapidly forms over the wetlands and is carried westward by prevailing winds, developing clouds that bring rain to central and western districts of Grand Cayman.

The National Trust owns approximately 1,032 acres as part of the Central Mangrove Wetlands Reserve, with another 1,500 acres protected by the Marine Parks Act. The National Conservation Council is currently in the process of trying to acquire more land to put under protection. However, most of the land is private property, and once development begins, this incredible ecosystem will collapse, with dire consequences for the entire island environment.

Prime Minister Wayne Panton is not on the show because he is currently on government business in the Bahamas and has not commented on his colleagues’ position on the issue. Opposition to the proposed east-west extension of the Woodland Drive to Frank Sound highway is not only about the direct damage the road does to the environment and the flooding it can cause, but also about this important habitat. It also focuses on what happens when the earth is liberated. up to the developer.

See all of Radio Cayman’s programming below.

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