The Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce
Please also visit Greenrock, another Bermuda organisation dedicated to the preservation of the environment.
Voices of BEST
March 2013 Bulletin
BEST (Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce)
Charity Reg. # 858
BULLETIN - March 2013
Spice Hill Farm: BEST initiated a successful Judicial Review to which government offered no defense. This was a major - and costly - undertaking and one that underlines the need to reform the Planning Appeal process. (Available in detail at http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20130401/NEWS/704019968/judicial-review-rejects-spice-hill-orphanage&utm_source=newsletter20130401&utm_medium=email&utm_content=toparticle_morelink&utm_campaign=newsletter)
Heritage Wharf: Thanks to the in-depth research and consultation with a qualified scientist, we were able to influence the extent and quality of the Conditions of Approval, primarily in respect of the establishment of a monitoring protocol for the site.
Planning: BEST is actively working to have certain aspects of the planning application process reviewed in an effort to make it clearer and more accessible to all.
For example BEST would like:
(i) the application documentation to be more easily accessible;
(ii) there to be greater transparency around the advertising of proposed development applications so that neighbours likely to be affected will have a greater chance of having their views considered;
(iii) both the Applicant and the location of any proposed development to be clearly stated in the Official Gazette (so that someone can be contactable and so that the site of any proposed development can be visited and assessed).
Our congratulations go out to:
(i) Stuart Hayward recipient of the Caver Cedar Chair awarded by the English Speaking Union to a philanthropist who has yet to be recognised for their community work in Bermuda.
(ii) our Junior Member, Megan Sutcliffe for her first published newspaper article, “Does the Environment have a place in Politics? http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20130319/COMMENT/703199973/does-the-environment-have-a-place-in-politics&utm_source=newsletter20130319&utm_medium=email&utm_content=toparticle_morelink&utm_campaign=newsletter
(iii) Greenrock for their most successful Earth Hour event yet, as Bermuda joined with millions around the world to bring awareness to the need to protect our one and only home, Earth.
Visiting Researchers: Michelle and Justin of 70 Degrees West will be on island April 9-22 with an interesting and important project that “focuses on the uniqueness of sargassum and the garbage patch, or plastic soup patch, that inhabits the Sargasso Sea. We are hopeful to explore the island where plastic build-up may be prevalent, spend as much as possible out at sea, and attempt to capture this complicated and important topic. Our shoot list includes Humpback whales, sargassum fish, plastic beaches, interviews, sargassum and it's various inhabitants, pelagic fish, and pretty much anything else that comes up.” More about their work can be found at www.70degreeswest.com The Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce, (https://www.facebook.com/bermudataskforce?fref=ts) with which BEST is affiliated, is assisting with various aspects of their visit.
The Department of Conservation Services has some useful and interesting documents available on their website including “Economic Value of Bermuda’s Coral Reefs”, “Whale Watching Guidelines” and a plant finder guide.
As always, we would like to thank 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 or by direct deposit to our Bank of Butterfield account, number 20-006-060-625713-100.
Does the Environment have a place in Politics?
Junior Member, Megan Sutcliffe's opinion piece, "Does the Environment have a place in Politics?" available here.
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!
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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