Minister: WEDCo Housing Change To Save $11M

January 24, 2013

[Updated with video] Minister of Public Works Trevor Moniz addressed the West End Development Corporations [WEDCo] housing project in Dockyard, saying the decision has been made to “immediately stop further production of any new units.”

The Minister said the “project has been modified from its original scope and will now retain the historic Victoria and Albert Row buildings while also meeting the Government’s mandate of reducing Government spending.”

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“You may recall that the cost of the project was originally $36 million,” said Minister Moniz. “However, this recent decision reduces the scope and cost of the project and will achieve a savings to the taxpayer of approximately $11 million.”

The Minister noted that while they were the Opposition, they “vigorously campaigned against the housing project because we believed there was little justification for an additional 100 new housing units to be introduced to a market which already had a surplus of empty apartments.”

“To date there are approximately 32 pre-fabricated units completed by the manufacturer. Of the 32 units, 16 apartments (or 4 new structures) are to be erected on the property near to the front of the Albert Row building. The tenants of Victoria and Albert Row will be relocated between the 16 new units as well as at other WEDCo accommodations,” said Minister Moniz.

“As a Government, I just wanted to say that we have listened to the people of Bermuda in taking this decision which now ensures two significant Historical sites will be saved from demolition.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good Afternoon!

Today I am pleased to announce that a decision has been made regarding the West End Development Corporations (WEDCo’s) infrastructure and housing project in Dockyard. The project has been modified from its original scope and will now retain the historic Victoria and Albert Row buildings while also meeting the Government’s mandate of reducing Government spending.

While we were members of the Opposition, we had vigorously campaigned against the housing project because we believed there was little justification for an additional 100 new housing units to be introduced to a market which already had a surplus of empty apartments.

However, taking into consideration that the project was already well advanced – with significant costs and commitments already authorized, the Ministry of Public Works has made the decision to immediately stop further production of any new units.

To date there are approximately 32 pre-fabricated units completed by the manufacturer. Of the 32 units, 16 apartments (or 4 new structures) are to be erected on the property near to the front of the Albert Row building. The tenants of Victoria and Albert Row will be relocated between the 16 new units as well as at other WEDCo accommodations.

As a Government, I just wanted to say that we have listened to the people of Bermuda in taking this decision which now ensures two significant Historical sites will be saved from demolition. The Albert and Victoria Buildings are the last remaining example of housing that were built for Dockyard tradesmen or artisans and their families and is reminiscent of the Dockyards British roots. Although there is no currently defined plan or timeline, it is our intention to restore both Albert and Victoria Row properties in due course.

You may recall that the cost of the project was originally $36 million. However, this recent decision reduces the scope and cost of the project and will achieve a savings to the taxpayer of approximately $11 million.

Regarding the actual construction project, the first barge, which contained the majority of the required infrastructure materials, arrived in Bermuda on Sunday January 6th. The second barge is expected to arrive sometime in mid to late February – with the first home being erected in April and May.

Infrastructure trenching commenced this week with all road works expected to be complete before the start of the Cruise Ship season April 2013.

Again, I would like to re-emphasize that we believe this decision provides the best solution under the present circumstances while also meeting many objectives of key stakeholders.

Thank you.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Argosy says:

    Thank goodness, common sense prevails and the PLP’s wasteful & misdirected public housing schemes are a thing of the past.

    What a disaster they were!

  2. Dear Minister Moniz,

    Great work, please also remove the ENTIRE Board of Directors who made this dreadful decision with Clark Construction.

    The time for change is now.

    Glad I voted OBA

  3. Bobmarlin says:

    Well done Minister Moniz.
    Mr.Charlton deserves credit as well,for his steadfast work for the residents in Dockyard.This unwanted/unneeded development was only going to benefit the contractor.To bring in pre-cast forms,when Bermudian masons are out of work,would have been criminal.
    However,the residents of Dockyard deserve better representation.The state of the rental units need upgrading.Perhaps a well thpught out maintenance schedule can be introduced.Making the area more attractive will benefit the residents and the tourists who travel by.
    Good luck to your entire team.With dwindling revenues and high expectations it will not be easy.All the best!

    • Verbal Kint says:

      I was thinking the same kudos to Ray Charleton as well.

  4. Lookin' good says:

    Well done Minister Moniz and well done to Ray Charlton for all the hard work he put into this.
    Things are starting to move in the right direction, OBA.

  5. Bobmarlin says:

    Good luck also on the units already contracted to be constructed.

  6. Bermydude says:

    Thank you Minister!!

  7. Pay down the debt with the savings... says:

    what would complete this good news is a check written out for 11 million dollars and applied to the principal of the amount that we borrowed. because money saved and still in the pocket will get spent on something else. that way we the tax payers will know whether they are real or paper savings…

  8. navin johnson says:

    shame that Walter Lister, who never did anything for 31 years, pushed to have the historic visiting ship decals removed before he retired….

    • Lookin' good says:

      Thinking just the same thing about the historic decals……mind you there are some
      still there which could be saved.

  9. In Mark's Opinion says:

    Wish that the whole development could have been stop, there is no money, we need to stop borrowing, so we can get back on track.

    • Verbal Kint says:

      I agree, and I hope the new Gov’t. will be able to round up more of these type of savings so that recovery can be sped up. It could still be a long road, but saving 10-15 million a pop on some of these things sure won’t hurt.

  10. Somerset Girl says:

    WELL DONE!!!!!!! Kudos to Ray Charlton!!!!!!! WELL DONE!!!!!

  11. Diockyard Baby says:

    This is great news. Thanks for listening Mr. Charlton. Thanks for continuing to work on our behalf. I agree, a vigorous maintenance schedule will not only reduce Government spending but also provide REAL jobs for Bermudians in the Construction industry and keep the residents in the West End happy.

    THANK YOU!!!!

  12. OMG says:

    Well Thank god we had a change of Govt. to make this savings!!! We would have been further in the dark hole had the election not taken place.
    What were Wedco thinking to build these units – we have an oversupply of homes and Wedco cannot and will not look after the units they have at Boaz Island?

  13. Media says:

    I like the idea of saving 11 million and retaining the Victoria and Albert buildings. The question I have is about the fact that if there are 32 units being built and they are now costing 25 million, that to me make each unit costing out at around $780,000! Hope I have it wrong.

  14. bac2Eden says:

    Hip Hip Hooray…to Carla n the residents that worked together as a team to make it a reality….and those residents who looked the other way….enjoy what you could have been a historic part of…. Bless! Working together gets good results…Peace n Love

  15. bac2Eden says:

    Laverne F. sometimes its good to have a little faith…

  16. Truth (Original) says:

    Great work OBA. Can’t wait to see what you about that hideous development on south shore. I’m not expecting a miracle but if we could stop construction, that would be great.