Development which is landward of the Mean High Water Mark (MHWM) is regulated by the Central Planning Authority. However, when activities extend from the MHWM seaward over seabed that is Crown property, including Crown-owned canals in Governor’s Harbour and Lime Tree Bay, SafeHaven and Snug Harbour (Hyatt canal), such development falls under the jurisdiction of Cabinet.
Projects such as docks, launching ramps, groynes, underwater installations, dredging or filling works, require approval from Cabinet in the form of a Coastal Works Permit (formerly referred to as a Coastal Works Licence). The purpose of the permit is two-fold:
- it grants permission to utilise Crown property and thereby avoids trespass issues, and
- it is a requirement under section 21 of the National Conservation Law (2013).
Furthermore, in accordance with section 34 of the National Conservation Law (NCL), a person who, not being authorised or permitted under the NCL or any other Law commits an offence if they:
“34 (g) directly or indirectly cause or permit any pathogens, dissolved or suspended materials or solids, waste materials or other substances to flow or to be discharged or put into Cayman water;
34 (h) directly or indirectly cut, carves injure, mutilate, remove, displace or break any underwater coral or plant growth or formation in Cayman waters;
34 (i) in Cayman waters, extracts sand, gravel, pebbles, stone, coral or such other material from the seabed by mechanical means or otherwise disturbs the seabed by mechanical means”
Application forms for coastal works can be obtained via this link, at the offices of the DoE or Ministry of Environment. Once completed, the forms, drawings and all requisite documents must be submitted to the Ministry of Environment at the Government Administration Building. The Ministry will then forward the application to the Departments of Environment, Planning and Lands & Survey for agency review. The DOE normally submits its review to the Ministry within 3 weeks of receipt, if all information has been supplied and no additional information is required. The Ministry will use the agency reviews to prepare a paper to Caucus and, subsequently, Cabinet who will then make a decision on the application. The Ministry informs the applicant via letter if the application has been approved or refused.
Applicants who receive approval will be required to sign a Coastal Works Permit at the Ministry, which is an approval document to conduct works in accordance with agreed conditions. Royalties, mitigation and any other fees levied for the works must be paid prior to commencement of works. Once a signed permit is in hand the applicant will be required to notify the DOE five working days prior to the start of construction in order to receive two Coastal Works Notices which must be displayed on site from the start of works until their completion. A copy of the permit and relevant drawings and operations plans must be kept on-site for the duration of works. One of the coastal notices shall be returned to the DOE to signify completion of works.
There is no appeal process for a Cabinet decision on a coastal works application that is refused permission.
The ‘Guide to Submitting Applications for Coastal Works’ brochure provides details on the full coastal works permit application process. Also, see the ‘Design and Construction Guidelines for Docks’ brochure for helpful advice when designing and applying for docks through the coastal works process.