June 9, 2023

DUMP THE DUMP: Bodden Town residents say no to Dart plan

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Bodden Town where the new Eco Park will be constructed

A Bodden Town coalition will lobby against moving the George Town Landfill to Midland Acres, joining West Bay opposition to Dart Realty plans for the districts, and targeting a petition at Premier McKeeva Bush.

The group, calling itself the Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free formed only last week, said member Marleine Gagnon, longtime Bodden Town resident and co-owner of the Turtle Nest Inn and Condos.

“Right now we are 20 people, but the more we talk about this, the more we see that people are interested,” she said.

“We started because some residents were concerned about the main road. We live here, Especially, people who live near Midland Acres are concerned to have a waste-management facility in their back yard,” she said.

Far from being a NIMBY, Not in My Back Yard, group, however, she said local concerns regarded inadequate infrastructure in the area, overcrowded roads and the compounded difficulties of running a business.

“The traffic in the main road is already unbelievable,” Ms Gagnon said. “You cannot walk on the road, people have trouble sleeping, business is already a challenge  and now this is just another one. There is an area nearby with new condos and they also are affected.”

The coalition formed in response to growing signs that the Dart-United Democratic Party (UDP) ForCayman Investment Alliance was moving closer to launching its effort to “close, remediate and relocate” the George Town Landfill, a key item in the group’s $1.2 billion, 30-year programme of infrastructure development and economic revitalisation involving roads, schools, hotels and parks.

Just last month, the Central Planning Authority gave Dart permission to start $2,5 million development on 561 acres near Bodden Town’s Midland Acres, installing electricity, water, roads and telecommunications on the site, at least 110 acres of which will be devoted to the “waste-management facility”, euphemistically called an “Eco park” in the planning application.

“The Coalition to Keep BT Dump Free is again asking the government to unconditionally cancel the agreement with Dart to move the George Town garbage dump to Bodden Town,” the coalition’s 12-point manifesto says.

Relocated to Midland Acres, a new facility, the statement says, “would threaten the integrity of historic Bodden Town, challenge an already inadequate infrastructure, and threaten the central wetlands.”

Marleine Gagnon of the coalition opposed to the Dart plans

It details concerns about land use and wildlife; poor siting, distant from sources of refuse, roads, and sewage systems; and issues of property management.

“The Dart public relations machine is trying to mislead us into believing that the dump must be moved. This is not true,” it goes on, pointing out that Dart will not operate the “Eco Park”, instead “leaving this to the same governments which have grossly mismanaged the present dump.”

“It’s a lovely euphemism,” Ms Gagnon said. “Eco Park: It’s the name adopted by Dart for the new development.”

In addition to spending between $32.5 million and $42.5 million to deal with the landfill, Dart has promised to lay out another $26.5 million for the Bodden Town installation, which, the company says, will be lined, sealed and enclosed, recyling and reprocessing leachate, derelict vehicles, waste oil and hazardous liquids, medical waste, construction and hurricane debris as well as all the household refuse associated with the 58-acre George Town dump.

“If we don’ say anything now,“ Ms Gagnon said, ”it will be too late. There is no infrastructure here. It makes no sense.”

“We are not against new development,” the statement finishes,  lamenting the obstacles to business, residential development and  water and air pollution.

“Who would want to ‘Go East’?” it asks.

Dart Realty yesterday declined to respond to the coalition’s claims, saying only that it “might be better to leave it for now”.






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