(CNS Business): Premier Alden McLaughlin told an audience of realtors, surveyors and property developers that his government plans to steer through legislative amendments during the current session of the Legislative Assembly to facilitate the registration of volumetric, or three-dimensional, land parcels, sub-dividing them into the sky for overhead development. Speaking at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Cayman Islands Property and Construction Conference, McLaughlin said the new parcels would facilitate structures that could span public roads and enable multi-storey construction in differing ownerships outside the Strata Titles Registration Law.
“A key component of this legislation is the introduction of positive covenants that will run with the land and be enforceable,” he told the property sector audience attending the event at the Marriott hotel.
“It is this government’s view that the introduction of the volumetric parcel legal mechanism will provide the construction industry with the necessary framework from which it can commit further significant investment into imaginative modern real estate development projects in the Cayman Islands. By adopting these legislative proposals, the Cayman Islands shows itself to be forward thinking, competitive and willing to embrace new concepts and ideas,” the premier added.
He also said that his government was looking to the longer term and the sustainability of development in Cayman and encouraging developers to look beyond “making a quick buck”.
The premier said the full implementation of the National Conservation Law meant the National Conservation Council could now review the impact of proposed development to ensure that what’s important to our heritage is not simply destroyed forever. He said government had set aside funds to buy land identified as being of critical importance so it could be protected, and pointed to the recent acquisition of land at Smith’s Barcadere to protect it from development.
The changes to the Builders Law was another issue that he said would help regulate the industry.
“This dates back to Hurricane Ivan, which created vast amounts of work for builders, drawing in an unqualified and inexperienced workforce,” he said. “This new law will ensure that all categories of builders are licensed as being suitably experienced and competent, and will also require them to operate within the wider framework of building codes and employee pensions and healthcare. It will provide a reviewing body for complaints. This will help ensure that standards of workmanship are maintained right across our construction industry so our buildings may last longer.”
During his address he told the audience that a buoyant construction and real estate market was a key source of income for the local economy, “from the duty levied on building materials, the fees levied on work permit fees, right through to all the wages that buy local goods and services”. The stronger the property market, the more stamp duty is received, he noted.
McLaughlin said that following his appearance at the conference in 2016, when he said the government was starting a number of infrastructure projects, many, such as the airport as well as road developments, were well underway.