Our look inside the recently released 2017 Beach Access Report from the Lands and Survey Department.
Cayman 27’s Joe Avary is going through the 1,174 page report piece by piece, and Wednesday, he trained his focus on the North West Point corridor.
The report’s section on North West Point lists 17 beach access paths, but you won’t find signage marking a single one when driving along the coastline. Of the three registered accesses listed in the report, all of them were listed as blocked or partially restricted.
Cayman 27 checked in at Powell’s Museum and Craft Store, just steps away from what’s known as the ‘old wharf’ beach access.
“It was just pure sand there and the market was built sort of over the water,”recalled Ms. Rose Tatum.
Before the seawall was built along Mary Mollie Hydes Road in Old West Bay, Ms. Tatum told Cayman 27 there was a meat market, and easy access to the sea.
“There was a lot of foliage, the grape trees, the lion tongue, and the sand, and those things kept the sand from washing away,” said Ms. Tatum.
She said the seawall was complete in about 2003, just in time to face the wrath of hurricane Ivan the following year.
“It protected West Bay from the water from the sea surge and what not,” she said.
But that protection comes at a price for visitors, like this woman, here with her family from Ohio.
“I think a ramp or steps would definitely be an advantage to people visiting. I think to have people climbing up and down hardware store, old ladders is actually kind of local feeling, but definitely somebody could get hurt,” said the woman, before receiving assistance to make the climb from the top of the seawall to the beach.
At the other end of northwest point, a DEH truck emptied garbage from a dumpster at the Cracked Conch. The report said the dumpster is blocking an unregistered access path.
Three registered public rights of way (PROWs) are listed in the North West Point corridor, and they are all listed as blocked or obscured.
Cayman 27 spoke with the owners of a home that bordered a registered 3′ PROW. We were told they are aware of and respect the right of way on the south edge of their land. A man who identified himself a worker at the adjacent property says that property’s 3-foot PROW would be cleared when construction is complete.
And back at the former Old Wharf beach access, Ms. Tatum said the issue of access can be easily solved.
“A little tramway, some steps down, because you get a lot of tourists that want to go over there, but there’s nowhere to go for them to go in,” said Ms. Tatum.
Now, I would consider the north west point area part of my stomping grounds, and even so, the report brought to light access pathways that I had no idea even existed.