North Side MLA Ezzard Miller is asking government for funding to help complete a beachfront park in his district.
Government’s ‘deal in principle’ to acquire land from developers next to Smith Barcadere could be finalised as early as this week. It also announced plans for a quarter-mile long public park in South Sound.
Mr. Miller hopes North Siders don’t find themselves left out of these public interest expenditures.
“We haven’t gotten the government to even waive the planning fees, so we’ve been struggling to raise funds and struggling to get it complete,” said Mr. Miller.
He told Cayman 27 it’s taking longer than he hoped to deliver on a list of planned improvements at Old Man Bay public dock, but he’s not giving up.
“What we are trying to do here is to provide a facility for tourists,” he said of the project. “One of the most important things is a restroom facility.”
The plans also call for a seawall, two docks with observation gazebos, an enclosed sand volleyball court, and cabanas for vendors.
“We want to attract the people from North Side who are currently vendoring and selling stuff to tourists from the side of the street to come here and use one of the three of four cabanas that we build, so it becomes a nice center of activity for people in the district to interact with tourists,” said Mr, Miller.
Some in north side are skeptical that this project will ever come to fruition. In fact the covered area for fishermen on the existing dock is about the only piece of the plan that’s thus far been completed. Mr. Miller told Cayman 27 he hopes a little help from the government purse could change all of that.
“If we could get $50-200 thousand, not millions, I could finish it probably before Christmas,” said Mr. Miller. “I made my appeal, let’s see what government comes up with.”
Last Friday (7 October) in the LA chamber, Mr. Miller made his pitch for funding for the Old Man Bay public park, requesting the funds be drawn from the Environmental fund. He said he’ll be waiting to see if government will deliver for the people of North Side.
“We could have a nice Christmas function here and I would be prepared to dress up as Santa and give all the kids [cheer] if the government will help me finish it before Christmas,” said the veteran lawmaker.
Mr. Miller said North Siders are lucky to enjoy a wealth of beautiful public beaches, but he worries beach accesses island-wide could be in jeopardy.
He said he and East End MLA Arden McLean are bringing a motion to the LA floor that will help preserve these important prescriptive rights of way.
Premier Alden McLaughlin indicated the Old Man Bay project is not included in the budget. He said it’s not exactly the sort of project the Environmental fund was created to support, but did not explicitly rule out the possibility of funding the project.