The chairman of Cayman Brac’s National Trust district committee told Cayman 27 he fears the island’s historic Salt Water Pond trail will soon become impassable. He said a nearby quarry is to blame.
Christopher Randall told Cayman 27 the Scott Development quarry has been operating some four decades. When an expansion was granted in 2004, Mr. Randall said it was stipulated that a 600 ft buffer zone be maintained between the quarry and the trail.
A 2016 expansion application would have reduced that buffer zone to just 340 feet. After objections from the National Trust and others, the development control board granted permission for half that area, still encroaching on that 600 ft buffer.
Now, Mr. Randall said as excavation proceeds to the east, he’s worried fly-rock from blasting at the quarry will land on and around the trail.
Cayman Brac’s Salt Water Pond trail survives as a monument to the worst natural disaster in the Cayman Islands’ history, the 1932 storm.
“This is the trail used by the survivors of the 1932 storm, those who are not buried in the mass grave, when they crossed the island to take shelter in a cave now known as Rebecca’s cave on the south side of the island, poor baby Rebecca died of exposure and is buried in the cave,” said Mr. Randall.
He told Cayman 27 this important historic landmark is now under threat.
“Unfortunately the quarry that you see behind me is encroaching towards the trail, and it will shortly be impassable because of the fly rock, from when they blast,” said Mr. Randall.
Through the years, Mr. Randall said the Scott Development quarry has inched closer and closer to the historic trail, despite objections from the National Trust and others.
A Department of Environment study cited in the Aggregate Advisory Committee’s July 20166 report to the Development Control Board plotted the eastern edge of fly-rock traveling an average maximum distance of 420 feet from the blasting face.
Too close for comfort, said Mr. Randall.
“It will be lost forever,” lamented Mr. Randall. “It will be impassible with the amount of rock that comes that way, it is very dangerous.”
With the quarry edging closer and closer to the historic Salt Water Pond trail, Mr. Randall hopes this most recent expansion will finally be the last.
“For the last three applications for extension, each one, each time they have been told this is the last time, but unfortunately we’ve gone through about three last times already,” said Mr. Randall.
District Commissioner Ernie Scott told Cayman 27 he personally hasn’t received any complaints of fly rock raining down on the trail or around homes.
However the National Roads Authority told Cayman 27 it has received several reports of rock fragments on the trail, and it is working with the blaster to stop occurrences of excess fly-rock.
The NRA said due to the nature of the rock being mined, controlling fly rock poses a great challenge.
Cayman 27 also reached out to Scott Development Company, who said they will give their side of the story when they can.