(CMR) The Little Cayman District Committee (LCDC) of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands (NTCI) has launched a petition in response to the proposed construction of the overwater bungalows in the South Hole Sound Marine Reserve in Little Cayman.
The National Trust, which opposes the construction of the bungalows, said the petition is a matter of critical importance.
“The National Trust is aware that Planning and Coastal Works applications have been submitted for approval for this construction and are deeply concerned about the precedent this would set and damage this would cause in the Marine Park Zone,” the group stated in a press release on Monday.
The National Trust explained that the aim of the petition is to provide a means for any person having cause to make comment on the Coastal Works Permit Application filed for this proposed construction.
The Petition signatures will be submitted to Cabinet as part of the response to this application. In addition, anyone may submit their input directly to Cabinet by emailing the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency at [email protected] by 13 August 2021.
The NTCI urges all concerned about the protection of the Marine Park System to file their objections to the granting of this application and construction in South Hole Sound.
“The National Trust finds it profoundly troubling that serious consideration should be given to construction in a Marine Park, particularly by a for-profit, private commercial concern. The National Trust believes that it should be self-evident that a National Park must be off-limits to construction under all circumstances and portions of it must not be given away for private use,” the statement read.
It also added that the location for the proposed construction is a Marine Protected Area which should not be disturbed but instead preserved for the people of the Cayman Islands and the marine species for which these areas were legally created over three decades ago.
“We call on our Government to act in the best interest of our country and all its citizens and residents and preserve the integrity of the South Hole Sound Marine Reserve and deny the overwater component of the Planning application and the Coastal Works Permit application for construction in the waters of South Hole Sound.”, says Gregory S. McTaggart, LCDC Chairperson.
According to the National Trust, the overwater construction will cause material damage to an otherwise untouched seabed. It is expected that the drilling necessary to place the support posts for the dock will cause sedimentation and turbidity that could severely impact the nearby coral reef.
The National Trust also believed these posts would potentially change water flow and, ultimately, the surrounding shoreline. Also, changes in light and shadow to the nearshore ecosystem could disrupt the delicate balance of that habitat, the organization said.
“There is no way to mitigate this damage. The ongoing operation of a commercial business in the South Hole Sound Marine Reserve will degrade the Reserve constantly. And the debris pollution that will result from the inevitable, future catastrophic storm event will spread far and wide throughout the Reserve,” the release continued.
It also added that the people of the Cayman Islands, to whom this Park belongs, will no longer have the use and quiet enjoyment of the area if the development is allowed to proceed.