A new carpark, new restroom facilities, and ironshore cabanas are among improvements planned for Smith Barcadere.
George town south MLA Barbara Connolly told Cayman 27 a bulk of the enhancements are slated for a piece of neighboring land government acquired back in 2016.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, to October of 2016, when a developer announced its plans to build a 24-unit condo complex on land adjacent to one of Cayman’s most loved beaches: Smith Barcadere.
The developer’s proposal triggered a massive backlash that spawned the ‘Save the Cove’ movement. Just days after the developer’s proposal went public, government stepped in, announcing it was in talks to purchase the land.
By the end of that month, the LA unanimously approved to use $5M from the environmental protection fund to make the purchase.
There’s seemingly always something happening at Smith Barcadere, and Ms. Connolly wants to keep it that way.
“We want Smith Cove to remain what it is: a beautiful cove for residents and visitors to come here and enjoy,” said Ms. Connolly.
She said a slate of planned enhancements will not impact the character of this hallowed recreation area.
“What this will entail is, several cabanas will be up where the ironshore is, there will be some cabanas there, we will be adding an additional car park to this area, we will be building additional restrooms, we will be also making some trails from the car park, the new car park to the gazebos, and we will be doing like a, having playground equipment installed there as well,” explained Ms. Connolly.
She told Cayman 27 the bulk of the enhancements will take place on a neighboring parcel of land government acquired in 2016.
“I am excited about it, it is going to be a wonderful park when it is done,” she said.
An announcement of a July 10th meeting to discuss Smith Cove redevelopment was met on social media with backlash.
“I think when I used the development of Smith Barcadere, A.K.A. Smith Cove, I think some people thought ‘oh my gosh, redevelopment, what does that mean, does that mean that they are really going to be building stuff on this property as opposed to enhancing it as a park?'” she said.
Ms. Connolly told Cayman 27 the idea is to improve on and expand existing facilities while retaining Smith Barcadere’s unique charm.
“I think people really fall in love with this cove when they come to the Cayman Islands, or residents alike,” said Ms. Connolly.
Ms. Connolly said the enhancements will also include a public bus shelter, sidewalks along south church street, a pedestrian crosswalk, clearing some underbrush, and some additional lighting.
She told Cayman 27 these improvements will be achieved through public-private partnerships.
Next Tuesday, Ms. Connolly and other officials will share more about the plans, including artists renderings of what it all might look like. That takes place at South Sound Community Centre at 6:30PM.