October 20, 2020

Dump group’s critical report

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Hon. Mark Scotland

Accusing UDP Bodden Town MLAs of deception, the local group opposing a waste-management facility in the area has released a critical engineering report and vowed to continue fighting.

Dwayne Seymour

Charging local MLAs Mark Scotland, also Minister of Health and Environment, and Dwayne Seymour of “spin”, seeking to persuade Bodden Town residents to accept creation of a nearby recycling and waste-storage plant, the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free has called the proposal “crazy”.

“The Dart/Government dance regarding the proposed landfill in Bodden Town is a brilliant piece of marketing,” said coalition member and President of Small Engineering Sam Small. He called it “a crazy idea, especially as it is miles from the source of the waste.”

“This is a really daft idea because we don’t want to create another pile of garbage for our future generations to have to deal with,” he said.

Part of the Dart-government ForCayman Investment Alliance (FCIA) $1.5 billion, 30-year programme of infrastructure improvement and community development, the closing and “remediation” of the 68-acre George Town Landfill and creation of a replacement waste-management site on 110 acres east of Bodden Town has garnered widespread opposition within the district — and among West Bay allies seeking to halt closure of a section of road near Public Beach for another FCIA project.

Mr Small, founder and owner of Small Engineering, a Bodden Town resident for 10 years and with a degree in civil engineering, has served as head of the Cayman Society of Architects, Surveyors and Engineers. He reviewed and approved plans for unused sorting and recycling buildings at the George Town Landfill, and as a structural engineer, in 1995, consulted for Britain’s Northumberland Water, the largest sewage-treatment scheme
in Europe.

“They discovered they could actually burn sludge and produce clean water,” he told iNews Cayman. “They went from spending money to making it. We could do the same thing here
pretty easily.

“In the national interest of the country as a whole, we should ask the governor for an independent, legal, public enquiry into the issue of Grand Cayman’s municipal waste,” he said, otherwise predicting dire environmental and public health consequences.

Last Thursday, the FCIA distributed a four-page flyer describing “a modern, properly designed and engineered Waste Management Facility [sic]”, saying it was “not a dump”, and addressing traffic management, site selection and three environmental and relocation studies between 1999 and 2003.

Mr Small said, however, the handout was not “setting the dump facts straight”. The proposal was “exactly the same as we have at the George Town Landfill”, but with a liner at the bottom.

Dart will not operate the Midland Acres site, “leaving the same landfill operators to manage Bodden Town, with the same guidelines,” he said.

The same recycling buildings in George Town are in the Bodden Town plans, he said. “ Why are we expected to believe that the same operators are suddenly going do things differently?”

Coalition spokesmen continued to question studies listed by the FCIA, saying the roster was both incomplete and failed to explain Bodden Town’s selection for the waste-
management facility.

The FCIA flyer “fails to promise, or even mention, any Environmental Impact Assessment, nor does it deal with the question of rezoning a pristine area in Midland Acres presently zoned “agriculture/residential,” said coalition spokesman Gregg Anderson.

Nor does it “address the fact that due process was completely ignored,” he said, quoting a 2010 bid to remediate Mount Trashmore. The Central Tenders Committee ranked Dart last because of environmental concerns about a suggested Bodden Town replacement for George Town.

“These handpicked ‘studies’ are dated between 1999 and 2003,” Mr Anderson said of the three listings, “so it’s unlikely they could have foreseen the 79% population growth in
Bodden Town.”

Equally, Mr Small said, the flyer did not list a 2008 study by Cayman’s APEC, “which concluded that the present site in George Town, with a waste-to-energy facility, could be used for the foreseeable future, and that the problem of Mount Trashmore could be tackled with proper management of the present site,” employing “a state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion plant and /or incinerator, which does not smell, and [which] could cope with the waste after recycling without destroying any more of
 Cayman’s environment.”

See also today’s editorial.

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