The DART group of companies has been given unique permission to remove rocks from the coveted waters off a Seven Mile Beach property.
A property where the company expects to build a new five-star luxury branded hotel. The Cayman Island’s largest real estate developer has been granted a coastal works license for a hotly contested trial removal of beach rock at the would-be build site just north of it’s newly opened Kimpton Seafire Resort. The rock removal project will be done to test the feasibility of a much larger excavation of the partially submerged marine rocks. DART representatives have remarked that the presence of these rocks makes for an uncomfortable beach entry and would hinder snorkeling and swimming in the area for future resort guests.
All of this has been brought about by the whisperings of a possible future partnership withthe Four Seasons brand of luxury properties and there has been speculation that the partnership deal is based on the fact that these rocks will be able to be removed. DART reps report that they have not yet signed any agreement with the Four Seasons because they are waiting to see what the findings of this test removal will be on this license application. Moreover, The DART workers expect to begin excavating this month and, depending on the outcome of the study, they will submit a new coastal works application for the rest of the work thereafter.
The first step of the marine rock excavation is expected to take less than a single day and will involve a silt screen. The screen will be installed and a large excavating implement will be used to scoop the marine rocks out from the proposed section of beach. Afterwards geologists and experts will examine the excavated sample to ensure that it is, in fact, just beach rock. Beach rock is a relatively fast forming marine feature and is widely considered to be less ecologically significant than Cayman’s familiar ironshore or coral heads. The experts will also look at the depth of the hole created by the rock removal and assess ways that it can be backfilled.
The DART company is very confident from research they have already undertaken that there will be no significant negative impact on marine life or on the dynamics of the pristine Seven Mile Beach ecosystem. They point to the fact that the Four Seasons had an advance teem come and snorkelthe site and report that there is nocoral just beach rock in the proposed excavation area. They are also quick to point to their long-standing commitment to the destination of the Cayman Islands as a whole and the fact that it would be unwise to request removal of beach rock if it were going to have a negative impact on the 7MB lands. The Four Seasons resort is expected to take 3 years tocomplete and will be set back from the beach. It will be a big part of a luxury resort district that will reach from the Cayman Islands Yacht Club in North Sound to Seven Mile Beach. Many local groups have expressed their displeasure with the project, stating that the removal of the rock will cause devastating environmental consequences. These will be exacerbated during the next large storm to hit the island, they warn, and could negatively impact the world-famous beach in the years to come.