(CNS): The owners of the Coral Sands resort in George Town have been warned that their request to build a seawall to help protect their beach is likely to have the opposite effect because it is too close to the water. The small condo complex is applying for a building permit to build a nearly 5-foot seawall near the mean high water mark (MHWM).
But the Department of the Environment said that, given the wall’s proximity to the sea, it could further aggravate the current problem of beach erosion.
The owners make the request because the construction of the adjoining wall along the boundary with the NCB hotel development prevents sand from being brought to the site for any future natural replenishment. The application for their own wall is an attempt to prevent wave activity from washing sand off the beach.
Plans were revised after the initial review to build the wall four feet further from the MHWM. However, the DoE said that while this new location is better than the original, it still does not meet minimum shoreline setbacks and, like all hard structures on an active beach near water, will cause rather than it will only prevent the loss of sand.
“On beaches, the greater the distance waves can travel on a beach profile before encountering a physical barrier, the more energy is dissipated,” DoE experts explained in their planning submissions. application.
“The sea wall would probably prevent this natural activity. In addition, the seawall would prevent beach nourishment after a major storm. This further inhibits the process of natural beach recovery, as perched beaches tend to gain sand during storms unless they are artificially replenished. The presence of a seawall interacting with waves on a beach is a well-documented cause of long-term beach erosion,” the department warned.
Placing the wall in the proposed location (the “shielding” of the shoreline) would ultimately lead to the exacerbation of coastal erosion, the DoE said.
The project also poses a threat to the marine environment as it is a protected area. Photos provided by the DoE to the CPA of recent seawall construction work at Regal condos further along the coast, which had negatively affected the marine environment and polluted the ocean.
Coral Sands is one of many resorts currently affected by coastal erosion caused by a combination of factors including other hard structures on the beaches which have had ripple effects creating a vicious cycle of erosion . The DoE has clearly stated that to save Seven Mile Beach in the long term, Cayman must now begin a managed removal of existing beach structures.
However, despite dire warnings and clear evidence of severe erosion, so far APC has continued to grant building permits to projects that lie at the high water mark and d allow the construction of swimming pools, terraces and walls under the MHWM.
The request was to be heard by the CPA today.
See the agenda in the CDS Library.