Application forms for coastal works can be obtained via the DoE website, 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. There is no upfront fee to apply for coastal works permission.
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.
In regards to requiring fees for works in Cayman Waters, Section 21 (3) of the National Conservation Law states:
“The Cabinet may, as a condition of granting a permit and having regard to the potential damage to natural resources from the activity and the costs to remedy that damage, require the applicant to-
- post a bond in a form acceptable to the Cabinet in such amount as the Cabinet may determine;
- pay a prescribed mitigation fee which shall be paid into the Fund; and
- pay prescribed royalties which shall be paid into the executive revenue.”
As a part of the DoE’s Coastal Works Review to the Ministry of Environment, the Department will recommend fees. The fees are typically based on the square footage or dredge quantity of the proposed impacted area and the environmental sensitivity of the area. There is also a recommendation of an administration fee which ranges from $300-$500.
The decision of whether an application is approved, modified or refused and ultimately what fees will be charged is left up to the discretion of the Cabinet. Currently, the DoE recommended fee calculations are based on a number of previously drafted coastal works policies from over the years.
Royalty fee calculations are consistent with the Cabinet endorsed updates to the Coastal Works Application Guidelines of February 1996 (2009).
Fees for Royalties are as follows:
- Residential docks, seawalls, launching ramps, bulkheads etc. built along Crown-owned canal boundaries are CI$ 2.50 per square foot
- Private docks, bulkheads, groynes etc. are CI $5 per square foot
- Commercial docks and other commercial works are CI$ 10 per square foot
- Seabed excavation is $5 cubic yard
- In situations where the works involve seabed reclamation or works for commercial gain, we typically recommend in lieu of Royalty that land is vested or the applicant enters into a lease agreement with the Crown. The vesting process and the details of the lease agreement are handled by the Department of Lands and/the Ministry of Lands.
Environmental Mitigation fees are calculated based on the Draft Coastal Works Policy (Draft Revision 2007).
- When a proposal is located within a Marine Protected Area – CI $10 per square foot.
- When a proposal is located over sensitive habitats such as seagrass beds or coral formations but not located in a Marine Protected Area – CI $8 per square foot.
- When a proposal is located in a previously dredged or less sensitive habitat (for example bare sand) – CI $4 per square foot
The Department also recommends an Administration and Monitoring fee as time is spent researching and reviewing the applications and will monitor the works during construction. Most developments or proposals will have a recommended Administration and Monitoring fee of CI$ 300, however more complex projects have a recommended Administration and Monitoring fee of CI$ 500.
Based on the Cabinet endorsed updates to the Coastal Works Application Guidelines of February 1996 (2009) all fees for “after-the-fact” applications that receive approval are subject to double the normal Royalty, Mitigation and Administration fees.
“After-the-fact” fees are based on the Cabinet endorsed updates to the Coastal Works Application Guidelines of February 1996 (2009). They are calculated in a similar manner for each of the sections Royalties, Mitigation and Administration listed in answer #1 above, however in “after-the-fact” cases the fees are doubled for all these sections making them two times what they would have been if they applied prior to works.
Typically DoE Conservation Officers will monitor coastal works as they are being built/implemented to ensure no obvious damage is being done to the environment and any mitigation measures e.g. use of silt screens, are working correctly. Once works have been completed typically an officer from the DoE’s Environmental Management Unit will conduct a post-construction survey and check that the works were carried out in accordance with the Coastal Works Permit (e.g. size of a dock, area of excavation etc.) and that there were no unauthorised environment impacts.
If the unpermitted works are considered an offence under the National Conservation Law it is an actionable criminal offence. The National Conservation Law Section 38 (1) states: Where no punishment is specifically prescribed under this Law a person who commits an offence under this Law is liable on conviction to a fine of five hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of four years or to both.
Another recourse is the double fee charge for an “after-the-fact” application and it may be recommended that the unpermitted structure is removed or that the impacted environment/natural resource is restored (if possible).