Video: Minister On Slate, Planning & Quarries

November 5, 2014

“Over the last few days there has been much misinformation spread about the role of the Department of Planning in respect of approving the opening of quarries to meet the high demand for slate following the recent passing of Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo,” Minister Michael Fahy said today.

The Minister said, “Rumors that the Department of Planning is waiting for overseas slate to arrive to please importers are completely false. It is also wrong to say that the Department of Planning is holding up applications in any way.

“The Department of Planning and the Government as a whole are very sympathetic to those persons without a roof over their head as a result of the said storms. Our technical officers wasted no time in identifying potential quarry sites and spoke with those land owners who could potentially assist. This included site visits and assessments.

“It is important to remember that the quarries that I am making reference to are on private land, as such it is up to private land owners to decide whether they wish to quarry following approval from the Department of Planning.

“Planning rules and laws are very clear indeed about what must be done in respect of quarrying operations and other operations that require planning approval. It is irresponsible indeed to suggest that individuals should just commence operations without approval from the Department of Planning.

“Let me take a moment to explain the process so there is no doubt about what is normally required for any planning application. Plans must be submitted which must include a site plan to show where the proposed operations will occur, to understand the depth of the quarry and the distance from adjacent properties.

“Such applications are reviewed by technical officers who then make recommendations to the Development Applications Board with approval and with conditions attached. There is normally a two week advertising process where objections can be lodged. If objections are received the length of time to resolve applications can become substantial. Normally the process would take approximately five to six weeks. That is the normal process.

“Such time periods are obviously not appropriate in the circumstances we currently face. I have stated repeatedly however that for a process to be expedited, applications must still be made.

“So rather than follow the usual process and for the sake of absolute clarity the Board has established guidelines, with my approval, to waive the advertisement period for thirty days only for planning applications involving proposals for quarrying operations. This is effective tomorrow morning

“To date, the Department of Planning has received three complete submissions for quarrying and are actively reviewing with the intent of resolving by noon tomorrow.

“This means the application will have been given approval within two days rather than the normal six weeks. Relevant conditions will be attached by the Departments of Planning and Environmental Protection such as operating hours, the length of time the quarry can remain open, the depth the quarry may cut to and finally mitigation for dust and noise.

“It is anticipated that approval will be granted for three months upon which time an extension may be applied for provided that there is a demonstrated need for slate. Such extensions will require a new application.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon,
Thank you for coming today.

Over the last few days there has been much misinformation spread about the role of the Department of Planning in respect of approving the opening of quarries to meet the high demand for slate following the recent passing of Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo.

Rumors that the Department of Planning is waiting for overseas slate to arrive to please importers are completely false. It is also wrong to say that the Department of Planning is holding up applications in any way.

The Department of Planning and the Government as a whole are very sympathetic to those persons without a roof over their head as a result of the said storms. Our technical officers wasted no time in identifying potential quarry sites and spoke with those land owners who could potentially assist. This included site visits and assessments.

It is important to remember that the quarries that I am making reference to are on private land, as such it is up to private land owners to decide whether they wish to quarry following approval from the Department of Planning.

Planning rules and laws are very clear indeed about what must be done in respect of quarrying operations and other operations that require planning approval. It is irresponsible indeed to suggest that individuals should just commence operations without approval from the Department of Planning.

Let me take a moment to explain the process so there is no doubt about what is normally required for any planning application. Plans must be submitted which must include a site plan to show where the proposed operations will occur, to understand the depth of the quarry and the distance from adjacent properties.

Such applications are reviewed by technical officers who then make recommendations to the Development Applications Board with approval and with conditions attached. There is normally a two week advertising process where objections can be lodged. If objections are received the length of time to resolve applications can become substantial. Normally the process would take approximately five to six weeks. That is the normal process.

Such time periods are obviously not appropriate in the circumstances we currently face. I have stated repeatedly however that for a process to be expedited, applications must still be made. So rather than follow the usual process and for the sake of absolute clarity the Board has established guidelines, with my approval, to waive the advertisement period for thirty days only for planning applications involving proposals for quarrying operations. This is effective tomorrow morning

Why does planning need to assess quarry proposals?

  • • To understand the full scope of required excavation with respect to depth and proximity to adjoining properties.
  • • The depth of the quarry is important given the potential proximity to the water table.
  • • Proximity to adjoining parcels of land is important in order to ensure that adjoining properties are not compromised, such as undermining foundations of homes and property.
  • • In addition, the related impacts from quarrying such as dust which has the ability to contaminate water tanks due to wash off from roofs must be avoided.
  • • Finally, it is important that conditions are placed on quarries in residential neighbourhoods due to the noise factors of quarrying operations.

The Ministry has said all along that applications need to be made before anyone can start quarrying for slate. That has been made very clear. At present, there is only one quarry, located at Emily’s Bay in St. David’s, with valid permissions in place.

To date, the Department of Planning has received three complete submissions for quarrying and are actively reviewing with the intent of resolving by noon tomorrow. These applications involve the following sites:

• Rocky Heights Quarry at Lot C, Lolly’s Well Road, Smiths
• 126 Harrington Sound Road, Smiths
• 15 Farmers Lane, Warwick

This means the application will have been given approval within two days rather than the normal six weeks. Relevant conditions will be attached by the Departments of Planning and Environmental Protection such as operating hours, the length of time the quarry can remain open, the depth the quarry may cut to and finally mitigation for dust and noise.

It is anticipated that approval will be granted for three months upon which time an extension may be applied for provided that there is a demonstrated need for slate. Such extensions will require a new application.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the Department of Planning on 297-7756 with any queries.

I would like to thank those persons who have heard our call to operate private quarries in light of Fay and Gonzalo.

Thank You.

-

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, Business, News, Politics, Videos

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Thank you Minister Fahy for by-passing the normal waiting period of x amount of weeks. We’ll now be seeing (real soon) slate being cut and hopefully people working together as oppose to making ridiculous threats and innuendos :-(

  2. Kunta says:

    So what is de Fast-Track initiative for, oh I forgot that’s a selective option.

  3. Shag says:

    Good explanation. Quarrying still needs to be regulated.

  4. Common Sense says:

    Must say that everything said by the Minister makes”common sense” to me. It will be interesting to see, and we would no doubt hear very loud noises, if any of these applications are either delayed unnecessarily or denied without good reason. It was very interesting to read that roof slate cannot be stored long term because it degrades, so any suggestion that either Government or private enterprise should keep a huge stock for emergencies would be a complete waste of time and money.

    • Jadon says:

      I have had about 100 roof slate stored in a shipping container for 12 years. Still I’m perfect condition. You can store it inside and it remains in the same condition as you bought it

  5. yes we do have to be carefull …presidence requires all consideration.

  6. Unbelievable says:

    The Minister didn’t even address the fact that this was the PLP making wrong comments again. He just set the record straight.

    • inna says:

      Maybe a sign of maturity by the OBA? Christ knows the PLP are the farthest from mature!!

      • Unbelievable says:

        Well it’s all the PLP does really……they revise history and then complain as if they are absolved of all the bad management they practiced.

    • Tolerate says:

      Yah, sounds mature but I’m feed up with the PLP mouth pieces constantly LYING and nothing being done. Why do we call for OBA resignations, but these idiots can constantly get away with passing off fictional information to the public?
      OK, so at times you may jump the gun, but to go running to the press on every silly issue (and I am not down grading the slate problem); it gets boring and makes me feel like my intelligence is being insulted. Half the information they are going on is gossip told by the common person on the street. No facts.
      Here we are after a major Hurricane and already we have had the PLP running to the press on an OBA members house apparently being fixed on tax payers money, and now this slate situation.
      I am NOT a member of any Party and actually exercise my right to think for myself and make decisions. YOU ARE BECOMING MORE A PARTY THAT I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR AGAIN.
      Grow up…….

  7. Need Peace says:

    I’m curious! It is anticipated that approval will be granted for three months upon which time an extension maybe applied for provided that there is a demonstrated need for slate. Such extensions will require a new application.

    1. The cost of the application process is a large amount, why is it granted for only 3 months?

    2. With the large amount of homes that suffered damage, is it reasonable to assume that three months is adequate? Also taking bad weather into consideration as a delay?

    3. If an extension is required after 3 months, and applied for, will it cost the same as the application previously approved?

  8. Jim Bean says:

    Well done Minister Faye. PLP/UBP love to lie!

  9. Need Peace says:

    4. Did any Quarriers approach DoP asking for assistance in locating a quarry for them? If not, could the time spent on locating quarries for them been better served expediting the approval of such applications?

    5. Have there been any reports of abuse of quarries in the past?

    6. If the applicants have to register a quarry site, why is DoP looking for other sites? Isn’t it beyond their remit?

    7. Would it be fair to accept that after the 3 month period instead of reapplying, the quarry site may be assessed to ensure that it is within the Planning guidelines that would allow the workers employment?

  10. Christopher James says:

    Note to Zane: Find something even more ridiculous to complain about – cos this time you overdid yourself. And for you that is really saying something.

    List of things you could possibly complain about soon:

    1. The weather seems to be getting cooler which will require grass roots Bermudians to use heating – when they are already hurting from everything OBA has done.

    2. Christmas is coming too quickly this year following our horrible storms and grass roots Bermudians will have to buy presents and drink rum – when they are already hurting from everything OBA has done. OBA should move Christmas to at least February – but they won;t bother I’m sure.

    3. Bermudians (particularly grass roots ones) deserve better. There is no particular reason why grass roots Bermudians really do deserve better – but say it anyway cos it sounds good.

    Keep at it Zane – make us proud.

  11. Cleancut says:

    Thank goodness protocol has been established.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Zane reminds me of that Deputy Sherriff Barney Phife, in the Andy Grifin show from the 1960′s??? Always putting his mouth in gear while leaving his brain in neutral??

  12. Prayerful says:

    I agree that quarrying needs to be regulated, but I still think that even 30 days is too long for houses to go without slate.

    Is it true that a bus shelter in constituency 33 has been slated while houses all over the island are without slate?

  13. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    There are so many laws in this country I am scared to get out of bed.

  14. #33 Area Voter says:

    So when you stated things would be “fast tracked” last week, you were just talking – - as the article above indicates that “This is effective tomorrow morning”? Really?

    Additionally, if you read this article correctly, the Minister throws the following persons “under the bus” for the delay in processing applications:
    1. Private land owners
    2. Departmental staff (technical officers)
    3. The Planning Board, and last but not least,
    4. The actual applicants

    When will we realize that this particular Minister is part of our problem as a country?

    • Kangoocar says:

      Do you really think anyone believes you are an area 33 voter?? You would have been more believable if you had posted under the name ” Alaska hall “

    • jt says:

      Did you want the facts or not?

    • Kunta says:

      Ya like he Fast-Tracked applicant to be hired by employers to help in Hurricane crises.

  15. Appreciated says:

    Great work Minister Fay.
    Bermuda needs more politicians with sense,intelligence and compassion for the people.Do not take what The Opposition has to say to heart,we all know how those 14 yrs panned out!