August 5, 2021

West Bay Road will close in days/Dart deal is good value

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Cline Glidden

Cline Glidden

It was revealed at the Government Press Briefing last Thursday (14) the closure of the strip of road between Governor’s Way and Raleigh Quay would be gazetted in a matter of days.

The exact date was not revealed but the date of closure to traffic would be made public together with all details.

This is part of the NRA-Dart deal that was signed in December 2011. This strip of road is a section of the 615 linear feet or 1,000 linear feet of road to be closed, the actual estimated length varies between different sources, and the rest will not be closed until after the PriceWaterhouse, Coopers Review has been made public. The actual time line was dependent on the completed construction of the new road.

Mark Scotland

Mark Scotland

The ministers at the meeting, Mark Scotland, Cline Glidden and Rolston Anglin, said the reason for this part of the strip to be gazetted now and ahead of the publication of the Review, was for work to begin immediately on the enhancements to the existing public beach. These enhancements would include additional sports facilities, more parking that would be safer than it is now, new cabanas plus other improvements that were slated to be ready in time for the traditional Easter holiday camping in the area.

Rolston Anglin

Rolston Anglin

They also said they hoped everything would be ready in time for a major Easter volleyball tournament that will be taking place there.

Road-1024x418The ministers revealed that the Review has concluded the deal to be “good value”. It would be released to the public after 8 March when the Cabinet is expecting to receive the report following the third and most recent amendment to the deal. This shows Dart will develop a second public beach at Barkers.  Government has decided to take the 700ft there plus 2.5 acres next to Smith Cove in South Sound rather than just 72 feet of beachfront at Victoria House, north of the existing public beach. Smith Cove, off South Church Street will be expanded.

The financial value of the swap would be the same the ministers said and these recent negotiations had nothing to do with value for money. It was exactly the same, they reiterated as the original deal. In terms of practical solutions and the needs of the local community, this land swap was more beneficial.

An interesting point was made at the meeting regarding the valuation. Cline Glidden said the land swap of the piece of road was valued in the Review at a few million dollars and the uplift gained by Dart was considered in the overall balance of the review. Where the uplift in the value of Dart’s land was concerned, once the road was closed and the new road opened this would not be part of the direct valuation.

Because of the animosity by some members of the Cayman public against Dart, the ministers went to a lot of pains to point out that it was only because he was the developer the current demand for him to compensate for what he is getting was hypocritical. If government closes a road the land always goes to the surrounding owners and in this case it just happens that Dart is the owner of the land on either side. Although the new road will open up Dart’s land there has never been anyone else in the same situation that has been required to compensate government for what they are getting. This is the same when a road is closed or opened, or an area is re-zoned to the advantage of any owner whether or not it is Dart.

I suspect the controversy will not end when the Report is finally made public and every delay adds more fuel to a conspiracy theory (or theories).




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