October 21, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Ironwood or deadwood

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colin-wilsonweb2Because the government quite rightly has asked for an Environmental Impact Assessment () on the proposed East-West Arterial () extension, Ironwood have issued a statement hinting the whole proposed development may not go ahead.

Why?

It is not unreasonable for an EIA to be executed when the EWA extension is ten miles long and will cut through critical mangrove wetland habitat on .

The National Conservation Council (NCC) agreed with the Department of Environment when they wrote, “As the ecological heart of Grand Cayman, the Central Wetland Mangrove is critical to many important natural processes which are vital to the long-term well-being of the residents of the Cayman Islands.”

Despite all the claims in the Ironwood release (see today’s iNews Cayman) that “Ironwood has, from the beginning, committed to being an environmentally responsible developer; was the driving force behind bringing the National Trust to the table with Government to discuss rerouting the EWA; and “has also postponed the initial construction of the Arnold Palmer Golf Course and the Ironwood Town Centre to allow for the ending of the nesting season, which officially ends at the end of November and allowing for any and all native plants to be removed from the construction site and replanted elsewhere”, the DoE stated the gazetted route was not informed by any ecological or environmental assessment, “contrary to best practice and legal obligations”.

The Ironwood argument the NRA has never conducted an EIA for a road before met a reply from the DOE that this “does not mean that it should not start doing so”.

The DoE also pointed out the challenges the road poses to Cayman’s global environmental commitments. They said, “the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR) commits contracting parties to formulate and implement their planning so as to promote the conservation and wise use of all wetlands in their territory, through means such as conducting environmental impact assessments before transformations of wetlands.”

I have to confess I have been very skeptical the development would ever come to fruition and felt it was a little like putting the cart before the horse. The late great Arnold Palmer’s name was banded about like Donald Trump, although his pedigree was higher than any of Trump’s towers in that comparison, but I am sure you get my drift.

As our Premier is quoted as saying for a development of this size to fall because of an EIA costing less that 1% of the estimated costs of the project does raise questions.

If Ironwood is so committed to our environment and its welfare they should embrace the EIA not scream “NO” at it.

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