November 30, 2020

Protestors demand dump answers

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The Department of Environmental Health has done no environmental reports or studies about relocating the George Town Landfill, according to Bodden Town’s anti-dump coalition, suggesting the decision to move the site “was made by the premier”.

At the same time, Bodden Town MLAs Mark Scotland, also Minster of Environment, and backbencher Dwayne Seymour have postponed meeting the 75-member Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free until the new year, telling the group they were “busy for the holidays”.

Coalition spokesman Vincent Frederick, 2009 independent political candidate for the district, told iNews  Cayman yesterday that the statements by the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) “seem to me, from what I can interpret, that the premier did what he thought best, but never consulted with us. This is all being done because of what the premier is saying and not at all in the interests of the people of Bodden Town.”

Mr Scotland, however, replying to yesterday’s claims, said he was not avoiding the group, but because of short weeks during the holiday, and would meet them after 1 January while scheduling a community gathering.

“We reached out to them initially,” he said, “not the other way around, and they gave us two dates. One was during an LA session and another was a Christmas gathering. We want to address their concerns because this is probably the most serious, pressing environmental problem we have.”

In a formal statement on Friday afternoon, the coalition said it had made a 1 December approach to DEH seeking “any studies, reports, correspondence, emails, memorandums” relating to the “selection of a suitable alternative location for the George Town Landfill”, the “selection of the proposed Bodden Town location for the new landfill”, and “proposals for the Bodden Town landfill”.

The department’s 13 December answer, the group said, concluded “there [have] been no studies or reports conducted by DEH concerning an alternative site for the George Town landfill. The majority of reports or studies conducted focused on better waste management practices at the landfill and future waste-management options for the Cayman Islands.

Mr Scotland told iNews Cayman yesterday that a private 1990’s study had concluded that Bodden Town, while not a first choice for re-siting the landfill, was best for a waste-management facility in regard to wildlife and wetlands. A similar study by Dart  found the same.

“This is not just another dump, not another Mt Trashmore,” he said. “This is a properly designed facility with multiple modes of waste management. There are a lot of differences — and finally we have found a way the country can afford it.”
DEH FOI officer Tania Johnson said “No request for proposals have been advertised by DEH concerning locating an alternative site or using Bodden Town as an alternative landfill site.”
Relocating the landfill is part of plans by the Dart Realty-government ForCayman Alliance, a $1.5 billion, 30-year construction programme of schools, roads, parks, hotels, a marina and creation on 110 acres near Bodden Town of a replacement “waste-management facility” for
Mt Trashmore.

MLA for Bodden Town Mark Scotland

“Relocation is going to create more jobs?” Mr Frederick asked. “We already have a dump. It’s not going to make anything better,” while the move would end plans for waste-to-energy conversion at the landfill, producing as much as eight megawatts of electricity, addressing some of Cayman’s 74.3 megawatt demand Mr Scotland rejected coalition fears of up to 400 garbage-truck trips per day on Bodden Town’s two-lane main street.

“DEH has about 14 trucks and there is no way they will make 400 trips per day,” he said. ”They will not be using the main road going through central Bodden Town, but will go around the back of Bodden Town.

“Look, I’m from Bodden Town, and as a first-time elected official, I wouldn’t put up my hand if I thought this was going to hurt the district,” Mr Scotland said. “The Bodden Town MLAs are going to have a public meeting in the near future.”

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