June 14, 2021

Waste plan is rubbish say residents

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The 58-acre George Town Landfill otherwise known as Mount Trashmore.

Bodden Town residents have outlined fears of leakage, smell and uncontrolled growth at the proposed 110-acre Dart Realty- Cayman Islands government waste-management complex, scheduled for construction near Breakers.

Details of the project were unveiled at a Thursday night, Bodden Town Civic Centre meeting, where Premier McKeeva Bush and most of the United Democratic Party leadership gathered with representatives from Dart Realty, offering a 45-minute slide show and extensive descriptions of the organisations’ “ForCaymanAlliance” project.

A 30-year, $1.2 billion programme of investment, construction and community welfare, the Dart-government partnership seeks to revitalise a lagging economy, while freeing the 58-acre George Town Landfill for development, relocating the site to Bodden Town as part of a new waste-management plan.

“Do you know the dangers?” one audience member asked the 10-member panel. “No dump ever created has not had a leak. Out of this public-private partnership, we are getting a dump.”

Another, citing her own experience in Florida, worried that Cayman’s summer heat would cause pervasive stench at the site. Others worried about the types of jobs that would be available.

“There is no proposal to put a dump in Bodden Town,” Minister of Education and West Bay MLA Rolston Anglin replied, pointing out the site would be engineered — lined, sealed and enclosed – to counter any problems.

“It will be properly designed and sealed,” he said, “and the [George Town] landfill engineered to try to address the national tragedy that is the dump.

“I visited two landfill sites in the US when I was a backbencher and researching possible solutions. I saw a site in Springfield, Massachusetts and directly across the road was a shopping centre with a Burger King and two restaurants.”

Minister for Health Mark Scotland said the Bodden Town waste-management site had not been intended to create employment.

“Our approach to the site was not to bring jobs.” he said. “The current dump is the most serious environmental problem in the last 20 years, 30 years. We researched the new site: It will have a liner, be sealed and the leachate collected.”

Alternative siting in East End was unacceptable because of the freshwater lens in the area supplying most of Grand Cayman’s tap water. The Bodden Town location, he said, “is high and dry and does not have any flooding.”

Dart will spend between US$32.5 million and US$42.5 million to “close, remediate and relocate” the George Town landfill, and another US$26.5 million to build the waste-management facility, which government will operate.

In its early phases, the facility will include leachate holding tanks, a gas flare compound, collection points for derelict vehicles and for waste oil and hazardous liquids, tyre storage and processing, a medical-waste incinerator and new access roads and equipment storage.

Later phases will include management areas for hurricane debris and constriction waste, a baling and transfer station and waste-to-energy conversion.

Visibly frustrated, Mr Anglin scolded opponents, saying the country needed to think of the future. “We are an island 22 miles long.” he said. “In West Bay, we are proposing to close 2,400 feet of road, which is about 24 seconds of ocean view, and people are opposed. You say you would rather not have sustainable economic development for 24 seconds of ocean view?”

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