The big conversation in Grand Cayman at the moment is what to do with the cruise port.
It is widely agreed that the port needs expanding but environmentalists and locals have raised massive concerns over the damage the proposed new berthing port would do to acres of reef and animal habitats.
Currently, the Cayman Government has proposed a $250 million berthing facility that would fit up to four cruise ships with access directly to the shore. That proposal looks very much in doubt after an environmental impact statement was released 9th of June. It was estimated that around 15 acres of reef would be completely destroyed with another 20 acres negatively affected.
The impact of the project would affect Georgetown Harbor’s snorkeling, scuba diving, boat tours, recreational fishing, and other marine activities that brings between CI$19 million to CI$22 million annually to the Cayman Islands.
In light of this, a new concept has been put forward. James Eldon Whittaker Jr of Next Development and GreenTech Group, has presented plans to use cable cars to bring cruise passengers to shore from two dock platforms just outside the reef line where the ships will drop anchor.
The system, know as “Cayman Sky Bridge”, would transfer more then 20,000 passengers per hour and have four loops, with 43 cars on each line, being able to accommodate 15 people in a single car.
The Sky Bridge plans have two piers fixed to the seabed in about 70 feet of water and as the piers are not connected to the shore there is no need for dredging. This also means that the project can be completed in around 18 months for around CI$170 million.
The proposal is based on the technology used by the Emirates Air Line in London that connects the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Victoria Dock over the River Thames in London’s East End.
Like the Emirates Air Line, the Cayman Port cable car will not only be functional but also a tourist attraction that will give passengers a unique view of Grand Cayman and become an iconic architectural feature to help people immediately associate the port with the Cayman Islands.by