Projects at these scales have never before been entertained in these Islands. The impacts of these projects on the infrastructure, culture and indeed our potential government revenue will bring significant changes.
Once our islands were known as the “islands time forgot” as access to them was so difficult and few ventured here due to the mosquitoes and difficult life. All that changed in the late 1960s and early 1970’s with a series of laws that brought tourism and banking.
The revenue of the country became linked to development and consumption and we started on a treadmill that we cannot come off. In recent months we have heard of projects of a size never before contemplated due to our size or population. Several come to mind that will change the Cayman Islands similar to the impact the legal changes had in the 1970s.
The proposed “Shetty Hospital,” a 2000 room hospital being phased over the next decade. This project is likely to do two things. The first is to see the development in Grand Cayman move east as supporting businesses will need accommodation closer to this facility.
Secondly, the country will see significant inward medical tourist, impacting our airport, hotels, taxis as well as supporting services. This project is likely to begin the end of our dependence on Finance and standard tourism.
The already active Cayman Enterprise City will have a similar impact. This one million square foot ‘economic zone’ will bring industries to the island that were until this time unheard of here. Between Biotech, Media Production, Commodities, Internet and Technology industries, this initiative will likely impact our long-term job market as well as create opportunities for Caymanians never before available here.
The advent of the recent Dart Realty acquisitions from Stan Thomas will undoubtedly also change the quality of development in these islands. Given the quality of Camana Bay, the proposed expansion and investment through the ForCayman Alliance will see new high quality properties occuring on the western peninsula as well.
This level of development will not only activate our construction industry but also increase government’s requirement for infrastructure such as roads, utilities and airport capacity. It will simultaneously increase Government’s revenues and increase the general business climate on the island. All this being a welcome change from the last four years and the contraction in the local economy.
What is imperative, however, is that Government plans and budgets for these changes at this time. Most mega-projects are years in the planning and execution phases, giving the government the window to properly prepare for them.
The advent of the proposed mega-projects in the Cayman Islands will mandate a new long-range planning process by our government while simultaneously bringing a new level of quality to our built environment. It will at the same time significantly increase construction and development activity as well as revenues to Government.