High rise decisions for elected government says governor
Published on September 18, 2012 in TCI News Now.

Changes in legislation to permit high rise developments in the Turks and Caicos Islands will be the decision of a democratically elected House of Assembly and Government, Governor Ric Todd announced on Monday.

Explaining his decision, Todd stated: “The Skyline proposal for a mixed use, 28-storey high rise development on Providenciales has been widely debated across TCI for some weeks.

“I would like to note that before this development, or any development, can take place a procedure set out in law must be followed. It is an over-simplification to say that TCIG or the Governor can just ‘approve’ this or any development.

“This case is unusual because the proposed development is of a height contrary to existing legislation. But even if that legislation were to change, the proposal would still have to go through a full and normal planning process, including impact assessments and consultation.

“In the event the developer sought any investment incentives, there would also have to be a Development Agreement between the developer and TCIG prior to the planning process being initiated.

“I launched a public consultation on the Skyline proposal because such a development, while of considerable potential value to TCI, would clearly be both new to TCI and controversial.

“I published the report written at my request by the Investment Unit of TCIG on that consultation (on 10 Sep). I then held a meeting on Grand Turk, on 13 September, with the representatives of the development, Mr Hugh McLean and Mr Mark Mungo, and the leaders of the political parties on TCI, Mr Oswald Skippings, Dr Rufus Ewing and Mr Harold Charles. At this meeting we had a full and valuable discussion of all the issues. I am grateful to all the participants.

“I have given careful consideration to all the issues concerning and surrounding this development; had discussions with those involved; and taken account of advice, formal and informal representations and the results of the public consultation. I have given weight to the arguments put to me by the political parties that decisions on this development should, given the timing of this proposal, be made the responsibility of an elected House of Assembly and Government. The party leaders also stressed their willingness to assume this responsibility and to take the necessary decisions about the proposal.

“Taking account of all the circumstances, I have concluded that there should not be any change to the legislation relating to the height of the buildings on TCI before 15 October and that a decision on this legislation should be taken by an elected House of Assembly.

“I am asking the Attorney General to consider options for amendments to legislation which would permit higher rise developments than those currently envisaged by existing law. I have also asked the TCIG Chief Executive Officer to instruct the Planning Department to consider options for updating the zoning, planning and development rules as a basis for work the elected government can continue in November.

“In conclusion I would like to thank the developer for presenting this bold and imaginative proposal, with such potential, and for their interest in investing in TCI.

“Their willingness to invest $200 million is of course a major vote of confidence in TCI, illustrating both the strong economic position which TCI currently has and the potential of the islands.”