|caymannewsservice.com-Work has finally begun on the much anticipated first phase of Dr. Devi Shetty’s medical tourism project in East End. According to the local partners, some 40 workers, most of whom are said to be Caymanian, are now on the Health City Cayman Islands construction site, where the 140-bed hospital is expected to open in early 2014. Concrete is being poured and the first part of the work by general contractor Cayman Healthcare Construction Group is now well underway. The number of jobs is expected to increase to as many as 300 over the next two months.
The project director said the work going to local people as opportunities for Caymanians, both during the construction phase and on an ongoing basis once the facility is operational, is a priority for the development.
The first-ever Planned Area Development (PAD) approval in the history of the Cayman Islands for the project was granted in January and planning approval for the 107,000 sq. ft. hospital building was given the go-ahead earlier this month. The ‘first pour’ of cement took place last week.
Officials said that innovative technologies would be used at the Health City to mitigate the infrastructure impact of the project; waste from the hospital would be reduced and managed through recycling, reduced use, on-site sterilization of medical waste, incineration, and shredding.
Rainwater will be used for non-potable purposes and sewage, which will be treated on site, will be used for the drought-resistant local flora and fauna that will make up the surrounding landscape.
A non-commercial onsite nursery is in the process of being set up to propagate local plants and trees and to recycle felled trees into peat. A road infrastructure plan has also been designed to address phase one and future phases of the development. In addition, officials claimed that the electrical load will be minimized through Salt Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) and high-efficiency building design using insulated concrete forms (ICF).
Despite claiming green credentials, however, there has been no environmental impact assessment on the project, even though it will have a significant impact on the surrounding area and in particular what had been, until the project began, undisturbed habitat and home to a significant amount of locally endangered flora.
Nevertheless, both government and the officials on the project have pointed to the significant benefits the project is expected to bring to the Cayman Islands. From the fees paid to the government during the planning process of more than CI$300,000 to the purchase of building materials bought locally, officials said the benefits were already apparent.
“Construction workers, attorneys, accountants, architects, consultants, hoteliers, restaurants, and other providers of essential products and services have already begun to benefit,” a release about the start of construction stated.
Recruitment gatherings in several districts have taken place and applications for both the construction trades and the eventual hospital operations have been accepted.
The project is said to be valued at around US$2 billion and will be built in phases over 15 years. Eventually it will include 2,000 beds across a multi-specialty health city, providing services not currently widely available in the region, such as open-heart and bypass surgery, angioplasty, heart-valve replacement, cancer treatment, and organ transplants.
For more information go to www.healthcitycaymanislands.com.