With some of the largest stretches of undeveloped coastline in Grand Cayman, it’s hard to believe that beach access might be under threat in North Side.
Surprisingly, the 2017 Beach Access Report from the Lands and Survey Department revealed close to 20 beach access in the district that are blocked.
A total of 45 North Side beach access pathways are chronicled in the mammoth 1,174 page report, and not a one of them, it says, includes any signage to identify it.
The report lists 11 registered public rights of way, and all of them are categorised as blocked or without signage. There are 22 unregistered beach accesses in the report, eight of them, just over one third, are listed in as blocked. The other 12 North Side beach accesses chronicled in the report are registered as private rights of way.
Tuesday morning, Cayman 27 caught up with Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller in his constituency, where he showed our cameras just a few of the district’s most notorious beach access friction points.
Our tour of North Side’s beach access points begins at block 33-b, parcel 266, the future site of developer Joe Imparato’s Rum Point Club development.
“Here’s the problem, you have a serious problem with governments in ability to enforce anything,” said Mr. Miller.
He told Cayman 27 the public right of way is clearly marked with red crosses for all to see in the 2017 beach access report.
“It had to be clear to the architect who did the design, had to be clear to the owner himself when he brought the property, it had to have been clear to the planning department when they were approving this building, that that needs to be protected,” said Mr. Miller.
A little further to the east, a stone wall blocks an unregistered access path.
“When this man was building this house, this access was marked, because I personally dug the hole and put up the sign,” said Mr. Miller.
He said that sign was taken down and tossed into the bush.
“I reported it to the authorities and nothing was done about it,” he said.
Like many of the beach access points across the Cayman Islands, the one known to North Siders as Bowse’s Ground Road, is of historical significance.
“That’s the one I showed you with the wall now blocking it, we have Round Key, we got Brinkley’s Ground Road, all those things were used for years and years traditionally, by people farming the hinterland behind the beach,” said Mr. Ezzard.
He applauds the report as a good start.
“Most of them are fairly accurate, and I would just like to see them complete the process now and get these registered in a way that they cannot be removed,” said Mr. Miller.
He did highlight what he believes is one inconsistency in the report, just a few lots to the west of Hutland road and Chisholm’s Market.
The report lists this as a un-registered public access. Mr. Miller maintains that this one is in fact, a private right of way.