Outrage intensifies over a proposal to build a condo complex next to the cherished public beach at Smith’s Barcadere, known popularly as Smith’s Cove.
This, even as developers Bronte announced they are stepping back to re-evaluate the plan they submitted last week. Opponents told Cayman 27 their frustrations aren’t solely aimed at the developers.
Overnight, vandals made their mark on South Church Street, spray-painting a misspelled message right in front of the controversial proposed condo project next to Smith’s Cove.
“I’m not trying to object to progress, but this is not progress, this is not economic growth; this is an erosion of our tradition and our culture,” said Taura Ebanks.
Ms. Ebanks told Cayman 27 she’s not affiliated with the vandals, and doesn’t condone their actions, but she said she can understand where their misdirected frustration is coming from.
“There’s confusion as to how our government, the Cayman Islands Government, could miss something like this,” she said.
She said she wants to know how this piece of land, once on the table as part of the 3rd amendment to the NRA agreement, slipped through the cracks.
“Somehow it got omitted. We don’t know who was in these meetings, we don’t know what was discussed, we don’t know how this got removed,” she said.
Dart Realty confirmed the land was sold last September, and late last week, Bronte submitted its plans for a three storey, 24-unit condo complex.
“This isn’t just about stopping this development, this is about creating awareness, this is about accountability so this doesn’t happen again,” said Ms. Ebanks.
She told Cayman 27 that accountability should extend to those who sell off their land.
“This development is happening because of us and we need to hold ourselves accountable. So when you own land, think about who you are selling it to, and think about the long-term effects of that sale and what’s that’s going to do for our country,” she said.
Bronte representatives have stressed they are well within their rights to develop the site. Sales agent Michael Joseph told Cayman 27 regulations permit lot coverage of up to 40%, yet the proposed development utilizes only 23.5% of the site. He said regulations permit up to 49 units on the site, yet the proposed development includes just 24 units. He said the proposed development provides an additional 48 foot setback on top of the required 20 foot setback, meaning the public has unfettered access to the beach and jumping rock.
“Promises are great but are they legally binding?” asked Ms. Ebanks rhetorically. “Regardless of what the developers say, claim, or do now, things can always change in the future.”
Yesterday, a petition on Change.org was started to save Smith’s Cove, as of 6pm Wednesday it was closing in on 2400 signatures. Organisers are also planning a “Save the Cove” event tentatively for October 29th.
The public can see the plans for themselves at planning, it’s parcel 7C-70. The public has until Friday (07 October) to place objections.