May 10, 2021

Local businessman’s waterfront ticket office “eyesore” will have to be removed

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img_0028By Georgina Wilcox

The controversial Ticket Office with Trellis, Restroom Facility, Storage Building, Tour Operator Sales Area and Mobile Food Truck Staging Area on Block OPY Parcel 190 (F14-0221) (P14-1007 (CS) has been turned down by the Cayman Islands Appeals Board.

The planning application by local businessman, Kel Thompson, was also originally turned down by the Cayman Islands Central Planning Authority (CPA) in January but then allowed with some minor alterations.

This called for many protests by the general public as the development is on the waterfront and one of the few open spaces where tourists stop and view the wonderful ocean scenery we all enjoy and make them want to return.

One of the major protesters was resident of many years standing, Christopher (Chris) Johnson, who together with his son Architect Robert Johnson, have been the force behind the George Town boardwalk that has beautified the whole area.

Chris Johnson received notification via his lawyer announcing the decision that simply said:

“I have been directed to advise on behalf of the Chair, that the Tribunal unanimously agreed that the appeal be allowed. Please also be advised that costs is under consideration and they will revert once a decision has been made either way”.

He also said, “I am particularly pleased that commonsense has prevailed and that both the Appeals Tribunal and the office of the Attorney General felt that the appeal should be allowed. Passersby must have noticed how ludicrous the development of this site has been and the manner in which the construction took place with complete disregard for the safety of pedestrians. The CPA should be reprimanded for allowing Mr Thompson to build the septic tank hole without proper fencing as is done on other construction sites. The setbacks were ignored on all four sides especially the septic tank located only a few yards from the sea. Furthermore the CPA took little or no notice of the recommendation of the Department of Environment and the Traffic Department. Building the car park was totally against the Planning Rules and not subject to the board’s discretion which prompts me to ponder as to whether the board and management are familiar with the law. It is unfortunate that Sharon Roulstone resigned from the board as I have no doubt she was keeping them in check.

“I presume that a cease and desist order will now follow with a D8 in hot pursuit. Then the Government should consider a landscaped sidewalk and encourage the North Church Street boardwalk concept promulgated by my son, Robert Johnson.”

The whole episode got very heated between both parties that resulted in a letter to the Cayman Compass from Mr Thompson’s mother who castigated not only Chris Johnson but paper Caymanians in general inferring true born Caymanians could do what they pleased and the paper variety were very lucky to be welcomed here.

This prompted a letter from another Caymanian whose Caymanian roots went back further who said she was ashamed at the tone and misrepresentation of the aforesaid letter pointing out one of the claims was false. She further said she had swam for many, many years at the particular spot that had now been blocked by the “eyesore” now constructed there.

There has been no statement received by Mr Thompson to the Appeals Board decision and we wait to see if and when the claimed “eyesore” is removed.

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  1. Chris Johnson says

    The Appeals Tribunal has spoken. So why as of today is Mr Thompson still doing his project?
    The CPA is a total joke. They have no clue and more especially they have no balls. They do not represent the people of the Cayman Islands.

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