(CMR) With the impending expansion of the airport and runway, the Cayman Islands Sport Shooting Association (CISSA) is seeking permission to build a shooting range and training grounds near the future Airport Connector Road in George Town.
The application site consists of the primary flooded mangrove habitat and incorporates part of the Mangrove Buffer Zone. According to the Central Planning Authority, this site is also one of the remaining mangrove parcels on the North Sound within Crown ownership. Mangroves are Part 2 Schedule 1 Protected Species with an adopted Conservation Plan under the National Conservation Act (2013).
The proposed area is in a Heavy Industrial & Mangrove Buffer Zone, so the Central Planning Authority will have to consider whether the proposed recreational uses are appropriate for lands zoned Heavy Industrial.
The proposal is for a 747-square-foot clubhouse and various storage buildings on the properties, along with 70 parking spaces. Other proposed uses include a skeet shooting range, tactical training areas, and shooting ranges.
In a letter to the Central Planning Authority, CISSA said, “it is in need of a new home given the impending expansion of the Airport terminal and runway areas, which would place its operation in contravention of the FAA and the IATA safety regulations; hence the application for this new facility which has been designed to accommodate special advanced training requirements of the RCIPS, Cayman Regiment and Coast Guard Services.”
CISSA said the proposed location is more convenient and suitable for the purpose of training activities that are conducted by the different user groups in a predominantly commercial area devoid of residential development.
“We have also chosen this location because of its superior attributes compared to a previously approved crown-held property in East End that featured compromised rock strata resulting in the exposure of the freshwater lens in specific areas due to illegal mining activities that were subject of punitive action taken on behalf of the Crown,” the letter stated.
“Our activities in that location would also present a logistical and financial burden for all the agencies and groups who would be using the facility. This proposed location is the most convenient and cost-effective location from which to operate and would present the least environmental impact on the use of this and neighboring parcels,” the letter continued.
Based on the CPA's agenda for March 1, the Authority adjourned the application on February 1, 2023 in order to provide additional time for DEH to submit comments on a noise study.
The agenda also stated that the applicant is proposing a total of 70 parking spaces with no accessible parking spaces, and the Department is of the opinion that a minimum of 3 accessible parking spaces should be provided on the site. The Authority needs to determine if DEH’s comments are required in order to further consider the application.
The Department of Environment is of the view that the proposed development should be sited on a man-modified parcel.
The CISSA, which has been in existence for the past 40 years, is home to the only sport shooting club in the Cayman Islands and serves as the training facility for all uniformed services that use firearms as part of the National preparedness programs and border control.