21 June 2021

More than 100 people attend ReGen environmental meetings

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for ReGen, Cayman’s Energy & Recycling Centre, three public consultation meetings were held from 8 to 10 June across Grand Cayman to gather public feedback on the draft Terms of Reference for the project.

At each of the meetings – held at John Gray Memorial Hall, the Harquail Theatre and the Breakers Civic Centre, respectively – representatives from the Department of Environment, Department of Environmental Health (DEH), Dart and environmental consultants GHD and Apec explained the EIA process, the project history, planned ReGen facilities and the chapters of the draft Terms of Reference before taking attendee questions.

Acting Chief Officer of the Ministry of Health & Wellness Nellie Pouchie said the Cayman Islands Government was pleased with the level of community participation and looks forward to another round of public consultation to review the draft Environmental Statement, which is the outcome of the EIA.

“Approximately 100 members of the public took the time to attend the public meetings and participate in this important aspect of the EIA,” she said. “This is just the start of a year-long process that will include another public consultation period once the environmental studies have been completed and the resulting Environmental Statement has been drafted.”

Key areas of community interest included the socioeconomic benefits of the planned facilities, the effect of a new sustainable power source on electricity bills, management of potential environmental impacts such as leachate and emissions, and how the project will promote the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle.

DEH Director Richard Simms said the meetings confirmed the level of community interest in the project and the appetite for a more sustainable waste management system.

“The nine, planned ReGen facilities will provide the infrastructure necessary to allow DEH to ramp up household recycling and divert other, major waste streams like yard waste and construction and demolition waste for recycling,” he said, noting that DEH is in the early stages of a pilot programme for kerbside recycling.

Dart President of Development Delivery & Infrastructure Cameron Graham said the environmental, economic and social benefits of the project align with the sustainability goals of both the public and private sector partners.

“ReGen represents a dramatic step towards greater sustainability for the country and a cleaner, greener Cayman for all,” he said. “The project will create new employment opportunities during both the construction and operation phases, have a stabilising effect on the fuel costs that are transferred to electricity customers in Grand Cayman, and include a public education programme to encourage more responsible waste management behaviours at the personal, community and corporate levels.”

The draft Terms of Reference includes chapters focused on air quality and emissions, hydrology, noise and vibration, marine ecology and terrestrial ecology. Once finalised, the Terms of Reference will act as a roadmap for baseline environmental studies. These studies will form the basis of an Environmental Statement which will also be subject to another public consultation period in 2022.

While the Government has yet to confirm the regulatory framework for the facilities, Graham said ReGen will be built using best available technology and to the highest global standards.

“The ReGen energy recovery facility will be constructed and operated to the European Union Industrial Emissions Directive, which is considered the highest global standard,” he said. “Real-time emissions data will be made public on the ReGen website once the facilities are in operation.”

In the spirit of the waste hierarchy and ensuring waste reduction, all leftover catering from the events was donated to persons and families in need by the staff of John Gray Memorial United Church and volunteers from the Cayman Islands Food Bank.

While the public meetings for the draft Terms of Reference have concluded, Graham said the ReGen team looks forward to continuing to answer any questions from the community through the ReGen website and social media pages.

“The ReGen infrastructure will support a major shift in the way our country handles its waste and we know this will require continued public engagement and education,” he said. “Anyone seeking more information on the project will find a wealth of information on the ReGen website and social media pages, or they can sign up to receive our monthly newsletter for regular project updates.”

A recording of the public meeting held at the Harquail Theatre is now available on ReGen’s YouTube for anyone who was unable to attend the in-person meetings or wishes to review the information provided by the project team and its consultants.

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