Warwick Long Bay Beach Bar Refused Again

January 9, 2011

A businessman’s plans to build a bar and restaurant at Warwick Long Bay have been turned down by the Development Applications Board again.

Environmental group BEST released a statement this morning [Jan. 9] saying “BEST has received formal notice that the application from Belcario Thomas to construct a beach bar at Warwick Long Bay has been refused.”

This proposed development has been a subject of controversy since the plans were announced in 2008.

Area residents petitioned Government to block Mr. Thomas’ proposal for an upscale, Mediterranean-style, oceanfront bar and restaurant at one of Bermuda’s most iconic beaches. Environmentalists led by BEST also mounted a vigorous campaign against the plan.

On August 4, 2010, Justice Ian Kawaley quashed then-Environment Minister Glen Blakeney’s decision allow a beach bar to be built on Warwick Long Bay. The Minister’s decision came after the Development Applications Board refused the application.

In October 2010, BEST released a statement saying “The Bermuda Environmental & Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) has become aware that Mr. Belcario Thomas has re-submitted his application for a beach bar and restaurant at Warwick Long Bay,” contuining on to say that “BEST has already received calls and visits from area residents and interested parties who are utterly astonished that this scheme is resurfacing.”

The full statement  released by BEST today follows below:

Warwick Long Bay Beach Bar refused again

BEST has received formal notice that the application from Belcario Thomas to construct a beach bar at Warwick Long Bay has been refused. This application has been made and refused before. The Development Applications Board (DAB) listed the following reasons for the repeat refusal.

  • The application was incomplete. For example, no details were submitted about the design and appearance of the buildings and canopies, and no construction methodology was submitted for installation or removal (remember, the structure was promoted as being “temporary”).
  • Parking was limited and consequently patrons would create congestion and interfere with public access to the beach. Insufficient parking and maneuvering space has been provided for vehicles.
  • The development is incompatible with the quality, character and function of Warwick Long Bay park.
  • The proposal doesn’t meet the objectives and purposes of Bermuda’s National Parks Act and would have a detrimental impact on the natural and visual quality of the area.
  • The proposal is NOT essential to the maintenance, conservation, enhancement or enjoyment of the park.

The public is probably unaware that this application is not materially different from the one that was rejected in 2008. It was most astonishing that the then Environment Minister allowed an appeal, overturning the considered decision of the DAB and the advice of the Planning Inspector all the while having full knowledge that the application was incomplete and inadequate, and that it a) disregarded the unavoidable harmful environmental impact and b) discounted the legal safeguards put into place to protect parklands from developments like this.

In addition to wasting the time of many members of the public and of Planning and other environmental officers hired for their expertise, this exercise has cost the public upwards of $500,000 in internal legal expenses, and an unknown amount in the hundreds of thousands in yet-to-be-assessed legal costs.

We trust that the DAB’s repeat of its refusal decision will put an end to this misguided attempt to improve Bermuda’s tourism product.

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Comments (40)

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  1. Graeme Outerbridge says:

    Well while everyone has their eyes on Warwick…Horseshoe is in big danger of being badly developed^^

  2. V says:

    Thank you to the DAB! Warwick Long Bay has been saved!

  3. Sarah says:

    Brilliant! Let’s hope this starts a trend.

  4. King D says:

    Saved? Truth be told….Bermuda is boring as hell…and so is Warwick Long Bay….the problem I have with the mindset of some of the older Bermudians is that in their mind its still 1960..the tourist has changed, and the product we have to offer is STALE. Let me say it again- the product we have is STALE and has been stagnant for years. Besides beaches what else do we really have?

    • Eye in the sky ... says:

      *Besides beaches what else do we really have?*

      We have an overdeveloped,overpopulated rock that we’ve concretized and covered with tarmac and cars and trucks. Add a rapidly spreading reputation for crime and you end up with a place that isn’t going to be saved by some ‘beach concession’.
      No matter how ‘boring’ it’s precieved to be by certain locals.
      Those days of exploring our peacefull lanes and places of interest followed by a relaxing, enchanting night on the hotel terrace listening to a local band without the sounds of traffic and sirens are long gone , and so are the tourists in the numbers we need.

    • Yawn says:

      Exactly Bermuda needs to step it up and act likes it 2011. This pretty beach thing can only take tourism so far

    • mixitup says:

      I so agree with you! You wouldn’t need a redevelopment of Horseshoe Bay if you had another option for tourist. I mean c’mon are we serious about this tourism thing or not? This Island has got to be the most Boring destination in the world!

  5. chelle says:

    The ex Freddies/ George and Dragon in St. George’s is in a key location in St. George’s on King’s Square. This year we saw in the New Year without this key establishment being open. Whitehorse was also closed on that day but thankfully both the Wharf and Tavern did their bit for those who chose to be in St. George’s.

    The ex Freddies/ George and the Dragon needs the talents of a great entrepreneur to bring it back to life again. St. George’s should be a key aspect in Bermuda’s tourism package but in recent years it appears to be the last thing on anyone’s mind. The powers that be have either not noticed or simply just don’t care that this great little place is slowly closing down. The die-hards such as Chrisy at the Whistling Frog stay open, simply so that people can’t say every store is closed. The stable stores such as Somers and Robertson’s of course continue to their bit.

    The town has empty stores sitting and WAITING for entrepreneurs to step in. Why build more when what is available is not being utilized? If Bermudians don’t want to take the opportunity to develop what is here, perhaps St. George’s needs to be opened up to outside investors. It is a crying shame to allow this to happen! Use what you’ve already got!

  6. Observant says:

    To King D, a bar ona beach will nott attract more tourists to Bermuda. Why destroy the natural beauty and serenity of Warwick Long Bay?? For tourists who want parties at beach bars, there is Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the entire Dominican Republic – let them go there!! We dont need to turn our beach into a copy of those further south…..that difference is what has always attracted people to Bermuda. As far as providing entertainment for locals, a beach bar ain’t gonna cut it either!

    As someone with ‘inside knowledge’ of our tourism product, I agree that it is indeed stale, but a bar on a beach IS NOT going to save it. We need improved customer service, better hotels that don’t overcharge, but do provide the amenities and services that discerning travellers have come to expect.

  7. Crazy says:

    I would like the tree huggers at BEST to put together sustainable proposals on how to better Bermuda’s tourism product for the public to scrutinize.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Crazy, it is quite obvious that you & the likes of King D have never spent time actually talking to a visitor. Sorry but a 20 minute cab ride or a few comments across a bar do not count.

      Yes I have. Eighteen years of one on one conversations in time slugs of 3 or 4 hours talking about all kinds of things. Surprise surprise one of the biggest attractions Bermuda has is what it does NOT have. It does NOT have annoying vendors on the beaches selling sunscreen, sunshades & hairbraiding. Bermuda does NOT have McDonalds, Subway & the rest of the American fast this or that. Bermuda does NOT have what everywhere else has. They don’t come to Bermuda to get what they can get for 1/4 of the price on the Jersey Shore. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been asked where to go besides Horseshoe Bay for some tranquility.

      These days Bermuda is smothered & covered with concrete & traffic. Want a good example? get on Google Earth & take a look at the former Premiers compound on the S Shore. You could do the lawn with nail clippers. Imagine if everywhere looked like that. Look at all the ‘almost legal’ big cares clogging the roads, sound systems blasting away. All in a big hurry to get nowhere fast.

      Bermuda tourism is in sad sad shape. The last thing needed is more development on the few natural areas left.

      Whatever happened to the lunchcarts that operated in the summer at various beaches? You could get some good food & more than likely a conversation with a real live Bermudian while you waited for your fish sandwich with mayonaise.

      • Eye in the sky ... says:

        Your reference to Google Earth is extremely relevant.
        Want the scare of your life ..? Try it out . The satellite view of the island shows we are about 90% concrete.
        Just what the discerning tourist wants nowadays …. NOT

        • mixitup says:

          The scare of your life is a shot from above of Port-au-Price, Haiti. Or maybe Buenos Aires, Argentinia and Caracas Venuzela.

      • Robert Bryce says:

        Totally agree. Bermuda cannot compete with the mass market but can, if the will is there, offer what the upmarket visitor will seek. Many peopple come here to get away from the modern world but this has been lost on the Tourism Ministry over the years. Learn, listen and provide a product no one else has! This has been lost because of the personal needs, egos and ambitions of successive Ministers.

  8. Terry says:

    A shortage of Ganja. Plenty ‘seaweed’…oops that did’nt make it either. Back to the airport.

  9. Triangle Drifter says:

    Thankyou DAB & BEST for your persistance. The sad thing is that hundreds of thousands have been spent on an issue that should have never appeared in the first place.

    Send the bill to Mr Thomas & partners, if any.

  10. mixitup says:

    Where was BEST when they decided to tare down all that woodland across Riddles Bay entrance to build a bunch of condo’s prally for more foreigners? That’s where B.E.S.T looses credibility! Here you have a Bermudian wanting to contribute to tourism with a non-permanent structure that can only do good for the industry, and he gets shot down! You all have an secrect agenda that leaves people wondering!

    • Eye in the sky ... says:

      Duuuh , as much as I hate that new concrete mini-village it was zoned for res development and privately owned.
      Stop trying to cloud/confuse BEST’s intentions …. apples and oranges

      • mixitup says:

        Excuse you! Wasn’t southlands privatley owned? Don’t piss on my leg then tell me its raining!

        • Eye in the sky ... says:

          Valid point , but Southlands was far too significant a piece of property to be lost forever in what would have become a concrete covered failure.

          As far as pissin’ on your leg etc , I presume you’ve been able to see through our current government’s performance/promises and BS for the last 12 years. Aint never been no better pissers than them.

          The concerns of BEST must be applauded otherwise our children/grandchildren will only have a few remaining school fields to look to as ‘green space’.

        • LOL (original) says:

          Dude it is raining……….

          LOL

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Mixitup, it appears that you are an honor graduate of the Brown School of Misdirection & Deception. You can fool the Kool Aide drinkers but you cannot fool the rest of us.

      Look around. Lots of abortions have been built in the past 12 years. There were others before but not so many built right out to the very last possible square foot of site coverage & having no Bermuda architecural character at all. There is another mess on the S Shore, not far from Browns concrete palace. This one happens to belong to, of all people, a former Director of Planning.

      All Bermuda has to offer is/was its beauty. The only things exported are memories. At the rate it went in under the PLP there is very little left.

      Anyone else noticed the mess erected right next to the Southlands proerty? Another eyesore.

      • mixitup says:

        The sooner you get over your anti-PLP campaign the better.. Cause you are begining to sound a bit silly!

        “Lots of abortions have been built in the past 12 years. There were others before but not so many built right out to the very last possible square foot of site coverage”

        “There is another mess on the S Shore, not far from Browns concrete palace. This one happens to belong to, of all people, a former Director of Planning.”

        “The only things exported are memories. At the rate it went in under the PLP there is very little left.”

        You see? GET OVER IT!!

        • mixitup says:

          Now back to the topic at hand…..

          • Triangle Drifter says:

            Exactly. The topic at hand is the protection of the enviroment for future generations. That is something the PLP has failed, & failed miserably at doing, on a personal & as a Government since 1998.

            Mixitup is a very good internet ‘handle’ that you have chosen for yourself. Your reaction to criticisim of anything the PLP has done is always the same. First defence is whine that the PLP is being picked on. Second defence is deflect & redirect off topic to something else. As a footsoldier blindly following & doing what is told you have been well trained.

          • LOL (original) says:

            You do look pretty stupid right about now. Tell the PLP to get over themselves as they have been governing for 12 years. When are they going to start doing what is best for the country as a whole.

  11. Terry says:

    Mixitup, the irony here is the fact that you should ask “why are you pissin on my leg”.

    Uou’ll understand that one day when the sun is out.

  12. Stuart Hayward says:

    Mixitup, for the record, BEST wasn’t in existence when the site you refer to applied for development approval.

    • LOL (original) says:

      And Mixitup is a teacher and did not research this fact God help the children.

      LOL

      • LOL (original) says:

        Mixitup I conced I have made an error and “mixyou up” sorry you aren’t the person I thought you were.

  13. just joking says:

    Maybe if they want to improve things for tourism..this year they will actually clean the beaches of trash and seaweed because the last few years have been disgusting. I went to the beach last year about 3 times and that was enough. They were just covered in seaweed and the excuse…our one tractor was not working…Get real..the beaches are all we have and we can’t even keep them up to standard,

  14. WELL WHAT GREAT NEWS BERMUDA IM IN BARBADOS WERE THERE ARE LOTS OF TOURISM HERE BEACHES ARE GREAT NO STEELING OF BAGS???

    • Andrew says:

      Dear God

      If Bermuda EVER ends up like Barbados, I will never come back.

      Regards

      Andrew

  15. LOL (original) says:

    This maybe an old thread but I thought I would mention that trees have a calming effect on people due to the oxygen they produce and take the carbon-dioxide out of the atmosphere which can contribute to peoples agitation in the forms of heat and added difficulty with breathing. “Southlands” being the most densely populated tree area on the island it would have been a terrible loss to our ie. yours and mine environment.

    LOL

  16. Sara says:

    The planning department is in place for a reason. If they don’t find your project in compliance with the planning, it will be denied, simple as that. These people applying for permission know this.

    • Truth says:

      Sara, that view is idealistic and naive. If you have ever tried to build something (as I have) and follow all of the planning rules, the process, for the most part, is very difficult, expensive and drawn out. Whilst you are being oppressed on your little job, massive projects are allowed to proceed whilst flouting all sorts of serious planning laws without issue. By way of example, have a look at the project by White’s in Warwick. From the number of units there to the size of the rock cut, you can see that it is clearly over excavated but it proceeds nontheless. This is one of many examples to be seen on the island. It depends on who you are, sadly to say.

      • Sara says:

        Truth are you familiar with land being put in categories o zones as they are called? IF LAND IS ZONED AS PARKLAND IT CAN’T BE DEVELOPED. IF LAND IS ZONED AS FARMLAND IT CAN’T BE DEVELOPED. Was zone was the land you are speaking of?

        • Truth says:

          Hi Sara

          I am familiar with zoning restrications and to answer your question, it is zoned residential. My comment however, has absolutely nothing to do with zoning restrictions. I am talking about the over excavation of the site (zoning irrelavent) and how everyone has seemingly turned a blind eye to this flagrant disregard to planning rules and regulations, INCLUDING PLANNING. My point is that it matters who you are, when submitting plans to planning for approval. Your view of the Planning Dept is too idealistic and truthfully, naive.

  17. WHAT!!! says:

    Why would tourists get in a very expensive taxi to go to a beach bar nowhere near their hotel (S. Princess excepted)?
    The nightlife in town is dire for such an affluent nation. Get some new clubs going in Hamilton.
    Personally I would not go to Warwick Long Bay to drink at night. I have my suspicions it would become a gang run no- go zone very quickly.
    Above that, call me a tree hugger but Bermuda really doesn’t have much undeveloped land left. Leave the beaches alone!

  18. bill akin says:

    All we realy want is a place to change from swim wear to street wear. A clean loo and a bin for the picnic left overs we bought at the marketplace.
    Billtourist