DoE & NRA Raise South Sound Basin Flooding Concerns In CPA Application Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

According to the agenda for a meeting of the Central Planning Authority (CPA) to be held on April 24, 2024, the CPA will discuss an application from Yarl Towers Ltd. to build 42 townhouses, a gym & clubhouse, a pool, a tennis court and two pickleball courts on Block 20D Parcel 472, off Linford Pierson Highway, George Town.

Due to the seven-building development’s proximity to the Linford Pierson Highway, the National Roads Authority (NRA) assessed the traffic demand that would be generated.

The NRA said:

Average weekday daily traffic volume on the LPH west of Crewe Road was about 23,260 vehicles per day (VPD) in 2019.

For Horizon Year 2026, NRA’s Travel Demand Model indicates that traffic volumes forecasts for the same section of the LPH are anticipated at about 40,000 vpd.

Based on the above-noted traffic estimates, the impact of the proposed development onto Linford Pierson Highway is considered to be minimal.

Addressing stormwater management issues, the NRA said:

The applicant is encouraged to implement state-of-the-art techniques that manage stormwater runoff within the subject parcel and retain existing drainage characteristics of the site as much as is feasible through innovative design and the use of alternative construction techniques.

However, it is critical that the development be de[s]igned so that post-development stormwater runoff is no worse than pre-development runoff.

The NRA added: “The applicant shall demonstrate, prior to the issuance of any Building Permits, that the Stormwater Management system is designed to embrace storm water runoff produced from a rainfall intensity of 2 inches per hour for one hour of duration and ensure that surrounding properties and/or nearby roads are not subject to stormwater runoff from the subject site.”

Discussing the impacts of stormwater management on the South Sound basin, the Department of Environment (DoE) noted that “The application site (refer to Figure 1) consists of primary habitat and is predominantly seasonally flooded mangrove forest.”

Figure 1: Site context showing the subject parcel hatched in pink (Aerial Imagery Source: LIS, 2023).

The DoE added:

The site is located within the South Sound drainage basin.

The South Sound basin functions as a water catchment and storage basin, providing flood controls and storm-water retention.

Surface water is stored in these mangrove wetlands, which provides a natural mechanism for reducing water flow velocity and flooding of the surrounding area.

This basin also carries out an important function in maintaining water quality in the South Sound lagoon.

The South Sound basin has become severely fragmented by existing and proposed developments and this has severely impacted the overall capacity of the remaining wetland area to accommodate drainage for the basin as a whole.

The DoE continued:

With the conversion of the mangrove habitat to hardstanding, drainage must be properly assessed.

The applicant should consider incorporating Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) into the stormwater management plan for the site to mitigate against the inundation of the surrounding area. SuDs are drainage solutions that provide an alternative to the direct channeling of surface water through pipes and deep wells.

The proposal will be discussed at the CPA meeting on April 24, 2024, at 10 am in Conference Room 1038, 1st Floor, Government Administration Building, 133 Elgin Avenue, George Town.