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Potential development boom, but at what cost?

A development boom in the eastern districts could be on the cards. A recent private members motion calling for concessions for the eastern districts received unanimous support from Cayman’s lawmakers, during the last sitting in April.

But those in the districts say while this could lead to a rise in tourism they do not want it to be at the sacrifice of their community’s natural beauty.

Marleine Gagnon, a part owner of the award-winning Turtle Nest Inn, in Bodden Town said she has mixed feelings about tentative concessions for small and midsize developments for Easter Districts.

“On one hand, it’s good that the government is thinking about encouraging Caymanians to get involved in the development of the eastern districts,” said Mrs. Gagnon. She added, “On the other hand, I was worried as to what is their vision for development.”

The new motion, passed in the Legislative Assembly, could see developers with properties under $500,000 getting a break from several government fees. That break is expected to help spark development in throughout the eastern districts. However, Mrs. Gagnon along with other residents said any development should be sustainable, and so as to avoid creating a second West Bay Road strip on the other side of the island.

Mrs. Gagnon said tourists who flock to her inn are often seeking out a different experience.

She said, “They come because they don’t want to be in the commercial areas, they want to be where it is quieter. Where they feel more like being part of the community rather than being tourists.”

Ann Bloom, an American tourist, first came to Cayman with her husband to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2004. Fast forward to 2019 and they have returned for the sixth time, this time to celebrate their 40th anniversary. She said she wishes the eastern districts don’t lose their simplistic charms.

“I like it here and would hate this to lose its personality and its character. But otherwise, if it needs to grow, just do it right.”

Cayman 27 reached out to the government for details on when the concessions will kick in. No word yet on when it will come into effect.

About the author

Andrel Harris

Andrel Harris

After completing high school in Cayman, Andrel Harris joined the news team as a Reporter Trainee in 2013. Now he serves as a reporter/producer, as well as the 'Cayman 27 Today' anchor. He also contributes to the talk shows and present weather forecasts. He hails from the district of North Side.

"Working with Cayman 27 has been a rewarding and eye opening experience. Through the power of the media, I've been able to help give a voice to the people living in Cayman." - Andrel Harris

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