Why leave a hole at the beach?

| 13/03/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

I visit Grand Cayman as often as possible (I have godchildren that live there). I have been told since 1980 that sand castles are fine but there can never be large holes left in the beach at the end of the day and during the day need to be marked to better prevent people falling and being injured. Lately I see huge holes that even lounge chairs can fit in being left for the unsuspecting walker. Are there any laws concerning this?

Auntie’s answer: At the very least, one would think (as do I) that an issue like this would fall under the category of “common sense”. If someone makes a big hole while playing at the beach, of course they should fill that up before leaving. And you don’t need to have grown up by the sea to figure that one out.

That said, I did receive a more official response from the Public Lands Commission that pointed to the Prescription Law (2018 Revision). While there is nothing specific about dealing with holes, the law does deal with what are known as prescriptive rights of way for beaches. Without getting too technical, the law sets out that if access has been enjoyed for 20 years, it can be considered absolute.

Your question did not specify any exact locations for the holes; the PLC needs to determine if the area is on public or private land and, if the latter, if it falls within the prescriptive right of way, an official with the commission explained. There must be a clear path along the beachline over the public or private land that the community has access to.

The factors to address when accessing a specific instance would include if the land owner is a private person or the government, if the holes impede access to the beach along the right of way, and if they were caused by people or by nature.

“As it relates to the holes in question, any person leaving holes within the prescriptive right of passage on the beach is a matter for the PLC,” the official said. “If the holes are on private beach land, then I believe the owner of the property should be notified. Nevertheless, any person leaving holes on any beach is a danger to persons using same whether it is a private or public beach.” Again, it is simple common sense.

Anyone who comes upon a hole in the beach that poses a danger can complain to the PLC, stating the exact location it was found. I think it would also be helpful to include a photo. Once the complaint is made, the PLC will visit the site, determine whether public or private and decide what action needs to be taken.

To make a complaint, call the PLC at 244 – 2417

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

Send questions to auntie@caymannewsservice.com

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    a-holes at the beach? I thought Kaaboo was last month?

  2. Beth says:

    Thank you!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Very interesting. One condo on the north end of the beach dug a huge hole below HWM endangering passes by. I complained about it and diddly squat took place. This particular condominium has no respect of the law and just built another five cabanas without planning permission all of which breached the setback provisions of the law.

      Do enforcement divisions actually enforce?

      • Anonymous says:

        There was planning premission for the cabanas. As for the hole, why not fill it in yourself instead of complaining on CNS?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah – its other peoples responsibility to tidy up after you. Hell, whilst you are about it why don’t you ask Chris to come around and take out your garbage as well?

    • Anonymous says:

      So is it all right for a condo to get a machine to dig a hole below high water mark, like one condo did? Surely they needed permission from someone?