Action Group ‘Disappointed’ Over Meeting

November 18, 2016

An action group has labelled a public consultation meeting about plans to build a new Parks Department HQ in the heart of the Botanical Gardens as “disappointing”.

Last week Government held a meeting at the Berkeley Institute cafetorium over its plans to develop the old maintenance yard at the Gardens into a centre for 120 Parks staff, new staff parking, two new buildings, a water tower and a throughway.

A spokesperson for Take Back Our Park [TBOP] said: “The presentation consisted of a short power point presentation, that was on a loop, and plans laid out on a table.

“Considering planning approval was given four years ago – when the scheme was advertised as 169 South Road and not the Botanical Gardens – and considering that the water tower is already there, and the site has been completely excavated, it is a bit late to be calling this meeting public consultation.

TBOP

“Only a handful of Government people were present and they appeared to have very limited knowledge of the scheme and no-one directly involved in the project, or any decision-makers, were there. It could not be described as true consultation. It was very disappointing.”

Work on the new maintenance yard was stopped earlier this year when the Chief Justice granted a temporary injunction halting Government from proceeding with its plans.

TBOP believes staff need a new headquarters, but say the Botanical Gardens is the wrong place for a two-story water tower, a 30-foot high ‘L’ shaped prefabricated metal warehouse and one 100-foot long and 18-feet high building, all of which will be higher than the water tower.

The spokesperson added: “The people who attended the meeting were asked to put their questions into a ‘questions box’, and the advert for the event was, itself, misleading as it talked of the ‘refurbishment’ of the Parks maintenance yard, when everything has been knocked down.

“This area is zoned as protected parkland and we feel that having an industrial yard, particularly something as large as what’s being proposed, will be detrimental to the long-term character of the Gardens and the area should be returned to the park and a new site found for the long-suffering Parks staff.”

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Category: All, Environment, News, Politics

Comments (18)

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  1. Athena says:

    This is a fiasco.

    There is no rhyme or reason why an industrial area should be in green parkland termed “Botanical Gardens”.

    Some common sense needs to come into play here.

  2. Hambone says:

    Greenspace be damned. Wait until they re-zone Riddell’s Bay golf course to residential and allow the developer to make millions…

    • joly says:

      Riddell’s Bay is private – this IS a park and supposedly protected

  3. Terry says:

    It all goes back to Bermudians being lazy. Yet they bitch and moan when others are brought here to help maintain some level of progress in all fields.
    My Grandfather walked to work from Spice Hill to Botanical Gardens 90 years ago until his death in the 60′s.

    Build what they need at the Pembroke Dump area or use Baileys Bay Quarry area. It’s already there.

    OBA. You better buck up and not just take the last “Buck”.

    Shalom.

    • Whistling Frog says:

      @ Terry: I was thinking on the same level… And while things are still on the negotiating table, see how much they can save by using those pre-fab slabs laying around in Dockyard. There been there for some time now. IJS

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    Oh you can see where this is going. Remember the Southlands protest? How about the protest over building the hospital on Botanical Gardens property?

    There is the easy way, drop the plans & move the facility to Marsh Folly, or be bull headed & try to follow through with it.

    I’m thinking the bullheaded route will prevail. The Minister does not have what it takes to stop it.

  5. joly says:

    This is indeed a fiasco – there is no way this industrial yard should be placed in the heart of the park. They are just not thinking – and are ignoring the public’s disapproval of it. Arrogant and stubborn.

  6. Cedar tree says:

    This is nothing but a political pawn and realistically there is no hope of another maintenance facility being built before the next election. If the facility was outsourced completely our part off and brought up to a real Botanical garden standard along with the shabby Arboretum yes Arboretum its nothing but a park not what the name implies. Then maybe it can make money like other botanical gardens around the world. I do know that was the desire of one former minister.

  7. Izzypop says:

    Who cares. Always fussin about something. What was down there to start was already an eye saw. Plant some tall trees around it. Was walking threw the gardens yesterday. Didn’t even notice it.

    • Facts says:

      Clearly you are blind.

    • joly says:

      It’s already an eyesore – and the largest buildings have not yet been built

    • WHY?WHY?WHY? says:

      You had to have been in the wrong part of the Botanical Gardens not to notice what they’ve done to thst area. It looks like a bomb crater beside a hideous metal water tower. You couldn’t make this up if you wanted to. So much for promoting tourism

  8. Terry says:

    Apparently the trump syndrome has taken over.

    OBA, oba….oba light come and me wan go home…..Oh…Oh …Oh…Oh…Oh….

  9. mmm says:

    In every community there is a need for a power plant, i.e. Belco there is a need for a refuse plant/incinerator i.e. Tyne,s Bay, a prison, i.e. westgate, a hospital, i.e. Mawi n King Edward, a rehabiliation center. so on and so on Agape House,The Lighthouse some things we don,t want in our back-yard…the sight, the sound, the smell. Perhaps that can have three depots east, west n central and use schools that are not fully used. All major equipment can be serviced at the “Quarry” or the Port RoyaL Golf Course location. There can be some compromise in regard to the proposal.

  10. adam says:

    Bermuda is running out of open green spaces. The island is dangerously overdeveloped leaving less and less open spaces for our children. These are important as oases of quiet, especially for those not able to have their own garden and quiet space. Noise pollution is all around us on this island. Having this industrial site in the botanical gardens takes away the tranquil aspect of the gardens, so completely undermines its value. Another location MUST be found, for the good of the Botanical Gardens and in the best interest of everyday Bermudians who enjoy it for its peace and quiet.

  11. Y-Gurl says:

    Yet another OBA project getting rammed down our throats, despite the environmental and voter impact and where’s the money coming for since the Government is crying poverty the wasteful projects primarily done by the snail paced works and engineering blows my mind

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Inconvenient facts get in the way sometimes don’t they. This project was concieved & begun under the PLP administration. The PLP were never ones for preserving green space or taking care of what already existed. Who was it that wanted to build the hospital over a good portion of Botanical Gardens? Protest put that to a stop.

      The OBA has been sitting on this one since 2012. They should have cancelled it long ago & repaired the damage done. The Minister needs to grow a pair & stop it.

  12. mmm says:

    The park department have various needs in order to function, an area to park company trucks and personal vehicles, a maintenance building to carry out repairs to vehicles and service equipment as well as storage of this equipment, a staff room/meeting room. I am not a parks worker, so I don,t know if there is a storage /maintenance building at either end of the Island for lawn mowers, trucks etc. …Perhaps they do or it is not feasible. Um hearing this word ” INDUSTRIAL ” . some-one needs to say they are like a belco or cement block building block situation with chemicals in the air, someone needs to explain the word industrial in relation to the activities of the parks depark.. What looks like a huge water tank maybe necessary, I don,t know..parks need water, gardens need water. Is Government replacing old buildings, some which were experienced extensive hurricane damage. At one time there was some consideration given to closing a few schools due to low enrollments, they have already closed at least 4 post offices…so between these public buildings perhaps sections of the parks department can be located, thus reducing the size of maintenance buildings at the Botanical Garden site. How about the Government Quarry, is that ideal for maintenance of parks vehicles? or is it already over used. Perhaps I missed a lot of information, why other sites were deemed impractical and expensive to convert.