The Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce
Please also visit Greenrock, another Bermuda organisation dedicated to the preservation of the environment.
Enough already at Grand Atlantic
BEST Media Release - 9 June, 2013
The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) has become aware of an application to further develop the site known as the Grand Atlantic on South Road in Warwick. The plan calls for 52 one-bedroom units in three 2-storey buildings with parking for 71 cars and 53 bikes.
Residents in the area and just about everyone who has passed by the the newly-built housing development on the Grand Atlantic site are still shocked by the assault on the senses from the unfortunate construction. The government indicated through the BHC that it would not be buying any more than the 78 units built so far, so any more development will be private and subjected to the regular planning process. That means that unlike the SDO that allowed the GA condos (and a hotel that never materialized), the current application can be viewed and objected to by any citizen. We encourage anyone who feels there has been enough already built at that site to submit an objection to the Department of Planning.
As we understand it, this application is, like so many others these days, incomplete which makes it difficult for Planners and the public to know exactly what is planned, and where. But the deadline for objecting is Friday 14 June, 2013 at 5pm.
There are several reasons to object to more development at that site:
1. This area was supposed to contain a hotel. Instead it is yet another case in which an SDO granted for a hotel/housing combination where the hotel has never been built. The Grand Atlantic now joins the infamous examples of Palmetto Bay and Tucker’s Point.
2. There is still the very real concern about potential for erosion of the cliff-face that has not been adequately addressed, particularly related to heavy weather erosion. All the questionable issues of traffic, density, noise, erosion, setbacks, aesthetics and the overall impact of this development on an already dense neighbourhood points to the necessity for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) — which should have been done before the first phase of development was approved.
3. Is there even a need for this additional stock of housing?
4. The zoning of this land is Tourism. While the Grand Atlantic SDO lifted that zoning for the condos, that SDO cannot unless amended be used for this development because, for one thing, the SDO stipulated 2-and 3-bedroom units while this development is for 1-bedroom units.
5. A traffic study is needed. Already the access/exit to the gas station is considered dangerous and ‘a serious accident waiting to happen’. Planners should know what impact can be expected from the maximum combined traffic of the existing development plus this new development plus the gas station and the row of commercial establishments across the road.
6. The development appears very dense for the lot size. Density-related issues such as noise, stress and crime ought to be examined and understood first.
7. ENOUGH ALREADY! The existing development is an eyesore, a blight on that entire section of South Shore. What once was the gateway to the South Shore has been ruined. No additions should be permitted.
The deadline for objections is 5pm Friday 14 June, 2013.
[Your address and email]
Department of Planning
Re: Application P0164/13 - Atlantic Development (BDA) Ltd.
I am submitting an objection to the above application for the following reasons:
[List your reasons. You can copy any or all of reasons 1 through 7 from the press release above and/or include your own:
1. reason #1
2. reason #2
3. and so on]
Please keep me informed of any further developments with this application.
Where does food come from?
A second great opinion piece by our junior member was published in the Royal Gazette on April 23rd and can be found at http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20130423/COMMENT/704239969
Warwick Long Bay Rating
Warwick Long Bay rated in CNN's top 100 beaches more at http://bernews.com/2013/05/warwick-long-bay-makes-cnns-top-100-list/
BEST responds to suggested establishment of Marine Protected Reserve
Government Ministers met with representatives of the Pew Environment Groups' Ocean Legacy Fund to discuss a proposal to establish a Marine Protected Area within Bermuda's Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) is pleased to endorse the establishment of protected marine area within Bermuda's EEZ. The Pew Environment Group and Bermuda's Government Ministers are to be congratulated for moving in this direction. This step presents a wonderful opportunity that would be good for Bermuda — putting us on the map internationally as a leader in ocean conservation with what could be the third largest marine park in the world. There is the potential such a Marine area would be attractive to tourists and scientists who could take †3-5 day boating excursions for diving, bird watching, marine research and so on, accompanied by local experts. This could open up new business opportunities† for Bermudians that would tie in with the Blue Economy concept as well as be sustainable.
The protected marine area should be beneficial to local fishing industry by protecting spawning† and juvenile development areas. It should also offer increased collaboration with international bodies and other jurisdictions.†
We would have liked for the Minister of the Environment to have emphasised the intrinsic value of the physical environment as the basis for any sustainability in the social and economic environments — both of which have other Ministers to promote them. Far too often Bermuda's unique physical environment† is taken for granted.
Bermuda's ability to grow the economy and increase jobs is dependent on maintaining a healthy environment, both on land and in our oceans.
We are grateful that the Pew Charitable Trust has Bermuda in its sights. There is much good they can do here. We at BEST look forward engaging in the public consultation process.
Note: more about PEW can be found at http://www.pewenvironment.org/
April 2013 Bulletin
BEST (Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce)
Charity Reg. # 858
BULLETIN - April 2013
Southlands: Turning Southlands into a viable public park is challenging in the current
economic times and, unbelievably, it has been reported that illegal dumping is taking
place on that beautiful site! A group of determined citizens are working to ensure the
park will become a valuable public amenity.
Grand Atlantic: We are very pleased to report that the developer will no longer be
able to use the site for unlicensed sand-sifting and rock-crushing operations.
Tucker’s Point: Serious concerns remain regarding the revamped planning
applications and BEST will continue to monitor, research and present objections as and
“No Thanks”: Greenrock and the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce initiated the “No
Thanks” Campaign against one-use, plastic bags. There has been lively debate in the
media, and we encourage you to visit http://www.greenrock.org/ to look at the pros &
cons of plastic-vs-paper, one-use-vs-reusable bags. While you are on the site, sign the
petition asking government to impose a small retail charge on one-use, plastic bags.
DOES/SWAC (Deep Ocean Energy System/Sea Water Air Conditioning:
Representatives from BEST, along with other business and environmental reps,
attended a presentation outlining an ambitious, renewable-energy initiative for Hamilton
and the environs. Still in its early stages, BEST looks forward to receiving more details
through a comprehensive EIA.
Protecting BEST’s good name: We are waiting for the transcript from a recent radio
show on which it is reported that a former Cabinet Minister made disparaging remarks
about BEST and its members. We work hard to give BEST a good name and to keep it;
damaging portrayals of BEST and its work won’t be tolerated.
Where does food come from? A second great opinion piece by our junior member
was published in the Royal Gazette on April 23rd and can be found at http://
For more information on Agriculture in Bermuda visit http://www.best.org.bm/index.php?
Last, but by no means, least: CONGRATULATIONS to Stuart Hayward on being
awarded Best Community Activist 2013 in this year’s Best of Bermuda Awards.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our friends and supporters for
their encouragement and varied contributions. Donations to BEST can be made
online through the BEST website www.best.org.bm or by direct deposit to our Bank of
Butterfield account, number 20-006-060-625713-100.
Communications CoordinatorBEST (Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce)
Congratulations to Stuart Hayward - recipient of the English Speaking Union's 2013 Caver Cedar Chair Award, presentd to a philanthropist who has yet to be recognised for their community work in Bermuda.
BEST was alerted to the projected development of an arable area on Spice Hill by area residents. Extensive research into the planning process and the Minister's granting permission on appeal, led to the decision to initiate a Judicial Review. This was not lightly entered into being a costly undertaking, requiring considerable legal expertise. However, in the interests of the Bermudian community and the need for Government Ministers to be fully accountable for their actions, it was the only recourse available. The full story can be found here.
BEST media release: BEST contends Minister's appeal decision is flawed 7 December 2012
February 2013 Bulletin
BEST (Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce)
Charity Reg. # 858
BULLETIN - February 2013
Grand Atlantic: Local residents have been subjected to additional noise from the use of heavy machinery, extra traffic as lorries loaded with gravel/sand visited the site, and fires being lit. BEST continues to watch and to consult with neighbours and the Department of Planning. Photos and more details at www.best.org.bm.
Environmental Authority: We are delighted that Stuart has accepted the invitation to Chair the Environmental Authority. This Board is tasked with responsibility for overseeing the Water Resources Act of 1971 and the Clean Air Act of 1991.
New Volunteer: BEST welcomes new volunteer Stephanie Bothello, who brings a wealth of experience in Environmental Research.
We also provide guidance to any individuals or groups who are concerned with proposed development in their own neighbourhoods. Note that applications for proposed development are advertised only once in The Royal Gazette (the Official Gazette for Government Notices) and indications from the Planning Department are that they are working to improve the likelihood that properties affected by a proposed development have an opportunity to represent their views
Walk the Walk: What a great day for a walk! The 2013 ‘Argus Walks the Walk’ event was a huge success. Participants are able to represent their charity of choice who benefit from the lion’s share of the registration fee. The BEST contingency did not go unnoticed: twelve people chose BEST as their preferred charity and that does not include the two dogs who, very happily, wore BEST T-shirts to show their solidarity! The 5K walk started bright and early at 8:15 am, with a warm-up and then we were off. A pleasant breeze helped us to stay cool and halfway through there was a water stop that hydrated us and the dogs to go the remaining distance. We gave a BEST shout-out as we crossed the finish line and felt great for having a brisk walk, which invigorated us physically and mentally! A big thank you to all those who chose us as their BEST charity!!
Earth Hour 2013, 8.30 pm Saturday 23 March Earth Hour is rapidly approaching and we urge everyone to be part of the solution. There is more information available at http://www.facebook.com/greenrock?group_id=0). Let’s support Greenrock again this year as they lead Earth Hour, Bermuda. Visit the Earth Hour web site at www.earthhour.org
Many thanks to all our friends and supporters for their encouragement and varied contributions. Donations to BEST can be made online through the BEST website www.best.org.bm.
Wishing you a joyous Easter and the BEST kite flying ever!
2012 Winter Newsletter
Lost Opportunity -- 31st December, 2012
The end of the year has come and still there is no movement on the Park Hyatt site in St. George’s. Further to the concerns expressed in our December 13th press release (Media release Park Hyatt-Bazarian - Dec 13 2012 - corrected.docx), Mr. Carl Bazarian has failed once again to meet the terms of the development agreement and BEST is appealing to the new Government to terminate the agreement and so put us on the right footing as regards this lost opportunity. Regaining control of one of our scarce and precious assets will mean that we won’t just let the fates lead us where they will. We will begin a new year and a new era in our history by truly stepping-up to the responsibility of charting our own course in securing a development partnership that is more suitable to our small island home.
Mr. Bazarian has not shown the level of commitment to Bermuda that we would have expected and it is wholly unacceptable for such a treasure to be tied up once again in this type of gridlock.
What can happen right now is for the golf course to be reopened, with a new clubhouse if possible, so that St. Georgians can once again derive the benefit from an amenity that has been denied to them and other Bermudians over the past 5 years.
BEST responds to St George's mega-ship wharf announcement -- 14 December 2012
With reference to the article in today’s Royal Gazette titled “Mega ship wharf announced for St George’s” The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) cautions against poorly-thought-out policies, particularly those involving major disruptions to the environment. In our position paper on this issue “Bermuda Shipping Channel Study: BEST Analysis and Response, published in the Royal Gazette on 20 December 2011 (see: http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111220/COMMENT05/712209945), we stated the following:
While suggestions have been made to consider alternative docking locations (notably the proposal to build a cruise ship berth off the north shore in St George's), such proposals would also require large-scale dredging and construction with a similar price tag (an estimated $53m in the case of the proposed cruise ship berth off the north shore compared to $54.7m to $56.7m to widen Town Cut to 155m). For many of the same reasons discussed in the preceding sections, it would seem that exploring such avenues, at least in the near- to midterm, would be misguided.
Instead, the Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) strongly believes that efforts and expenditure to improve our tourism sector would be far better spent on less capital-intensive, smaller-scale, cost-effective initiatives aimed at:
· Increasing land-based visitor arrivals to better diffuse the impacts of tourism throughout the Island and to take advantage of their significantly higher expenditure per head
· Improving our transportation network to better service current cruise passengers (as well as land-based visitors and locals) and to diffuse their impacts across the Island
· Developing initiatives to increase per capita cruise ship passenger spending onshore
· Proactively approaching all cruise lines with ships that do meet current size restrictions, encouraging them to give Bermuda a prominent place on their itineraries, and working with them to ensure that Bermuda remains a profitable destination for both the cruise line and the Island alike.
Decisions made without adequate forethought and unsupported by an Environmental Impact Assessment are not in Bermuda’s best interest. And policy statements without solid evidence to support the decisions tend to be fraught with problems. We would urge policy-makers to look well, via the Environmental Impact Assessments they pledged to conduct, before making this kind of leap.
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