Minister: Update On America’s Cup Preparations

May 19, 2017 | 2 Comments

Noting that we are one week away from the start of the America’s Cup which commences on May 26th, Minister of Economic Development Grant Gibbons provided an update on the event preparations.

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [May 19], Dr Gibbons said the AC event village is almost complete, ACEA sponsor hospitality facilities and a Kids Zone area are in the final stages of completion, and over the next week structures and facilities for ACEA partners and vendors will be finished.

“Significant investments have also been made by local telecom providers, as well as the ACBDA, to upgrade the Wi-Fi and telecommunications infrastructure for the event, both over land and water in the Royal Naval Dockyard area in order to better serve the thousands of anticipated spectators,” Dr Gibbons added.

“These enhancements include: Free wi-fi for the Cross Island event village, the launch of LTE service by both major telecom providers with significantly increased bandwidth for cellular communication as well as additional temporary antennas, fibre and microwave links, a fibre network on Cross Island, and a new submarine cable between Spanish Point and Dockyard.”

“In addition, a unique ‘Wi-Fi on water’ proposal in the Great Sound, using boats to support access points, is currently being reviewed,” Dr Gibbons added.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr Speaker, as we are only one week away from the start of the America’s Cup [AC] which commences on the 26th of May, I would like to update this Honourable House on the status of our preparations for the event.

Since my last update on 3rd February 2017, the AC event village on Cross Island is almost complete. Bases for Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup have been established and the America’s Cup Event Authority’s [ACEA] sponsor hospitality facilities and a Kids Zone area in the center of the village are in the final stages of completion. Over the next week structures and facilities for ACEA partners and vendors will be finished, as well as amenities in the public areas. For spectators in the event village there will be large video screens that will feature the races and commentary.

Significant investments have also been made by local telecom providers, as well as the ACBDA, to upgrade the Wi-Fi and telecommunications infrastructure for the event, both over land and water in the Royal Naval Dockyard area in order to better serve the thousands of anticipated spectators. These enhancements include:

  • Free Wi-Fi for the Cross Island event village
  • The launch of LTE service by both major telecom providers with significantly increased bandwidth for cellular communication as well as additional temporary antennas, fibre and microwave links
  • A fibre network on Cross Island
  • A new submarine cable between Spanish Point and Dockyard

In addition, a unique “Wi-Fi on water” proposal in the Great Sound, using boats to support access points, is currently being reviewed.

Honourable Members who have recently visited Dockyard will have seen the remarkable work done by The West End Development Corporation and their construction partners in renewing and refreshing the whole area. WEDCO is in the final stages of their construction program which includes renovating Moresby House, Prince Alfred Terrace and many other historic buildings. The entire area has been renewed and the Cross Island build-out adds to the overall attraction of Dockyard as a superb site for the AC events.

Work also continues on the Hamilton waterfront to prepare the area for the arrival of the Tall Ships and super yachts over the AC period.

Mr Speaker, local middle school aged students between 9-12 years old continue to benefit from the America’s Cup Endeavour Program. To date over 1550 students have been exposed to sailing and learning opportunities through the STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics] curriculum.

Team Bermuda will be participating in the Red Bull Youth AC Qualifier races which commence 12th June. The ACEA has scheduled races on 12th and 13th June from 5pm to 7pm in the evening to encourage residents to come out and support the Bermuda team.

Mr Speaker, given the range of events and AC-related activities occurring over the next few weeks there is an abundance of information that needs to be shared with the public leading up to and during AC35. This week the ACBDA held Town Hall Meetings at St Paul’s Centennial Hall on Tuesday, Dalton E. Tucker School on Wednesday and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences [BIOS] on Thursday. The ACBDA will continue to inform the general public via press releases, on the radio and on their website.

Mr Speaker, information about the race schedule, access tickets to on-land and on-water spectator experiences and general information about the AC event is available on the ACEA website at www.americascup.com. The ACEA has generously offered general administration tickets to the event village at a rate of up to 50% discounted for local residents. There is no doubt that the event village with its exhilarating and exciting atmosphere will be the prime location to experience the event and view the races.

The ACBDA Ltd has arranged a Park N Ride program for residents who wish to drive their cars to the event. Information is available on the ACBDA website www.acbda.bm. A dedicated ferry service to the event village is also available and can be booked on the ACEA website www.americascup.com.

From the 15th of May until the end of the event there will be a Restricted Marketing Order in operation to ensure the provision of services for Bermuda residents and businesses while preventing unauthorized commercial exploitation at the expense of the ACEA or any of its designated sponsors and commercial partners. This is standard procedure for large international sporting events and follows the guidelines established during the World Series events during October 2015 in Bermuda. There will also be two Marine Notices in operation that set out conditions for mariners in and around the South and North Basins in Dockyard and the race course areas. The ACBDA will explain the contents of these Orders via radio shows and other media, to ensure the general public understands what to expect during the event period.

Mr. Speaker, the ACEA has engaged local entrepreneurs and businesses in several areas around the AC35 village. Docksiders, Smokin’ Barrel, J&B’s Wood Fired Pizza, Rosas Cantina, Bermuda Pie Company, Devils Isle, Scoops n Cones Ice Cream Truck, Sweetstixx, Savory Kernels, and Ashley’s Lemonade will be providing food and beverage offerings in the event village.

In addition, there are a range of business opportunities that local businesses and entrepreneurs are exploiting to accommodate the needs of our visiting guests, whether they arrive by air, or come with visiting yachts by sea. These opportunities range from providing food, entertainment and services for visitors, the AC teams, locals, volunteers and staff within the America’s Cup Village itself, to those who are ensuring that our AC visitors have everything they need to have an enjoyable experience while in Bermuda.

Some of the services our local businesses are prepared to provide include:

  • Marine services
  • Personal services
  • Household services
  • Business services
  • Medical services
  • Security services
  • Waste management services
  • Food
  • Land and water transportation

Several entrepreneurs have also taken the initiative to create relevant apps and concierge websites that will help serve our guests.

Over 100 different types of vendors and other service providers are signed up to participate in the various activities being hosted during the America’s Cup by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, City of Hamilton, the Corporation of St. George’s and WEDCO.

Bermuda’s hosting of the America’s Cup has encouraged some entrepreneurs to develop new business concepts or enhance their current offerings specifically for the AC period, while others have created new businesses that they intend to operate long after AC35. The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation [BEDC] has assisted numerous small businesses with business development guidance, funding advice and financial support. About two dozen businesses have applied for the BEDC’s microloans and guarantees for opportunities arising out of the America’s Cup.

In an effort to help connect local businesses with our visiting guests, the ACBDA has created an online local services directory with local resources for meeting the needs mentioned.

Mr Speaker, the AC opening night on May 26th will feature a host of local entertainers and emcees including Gene Steede, Nadanja Bailey, Glenn Jones, Cindy Smith, John Seymour, Liv MisLu, Desmond “Rivah” Smith, Live Wire, John Seymour, Aimee Bento, Quinn Outerbridge, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, H&H Gombeys, Gombey Evolution, the cast of “Proud to be Bermudian”, and 4-Forty-1 which is also the official band of the 35th America’s Cup.

Mr Speaker, hosting AC35 would not be possible without the extraordinary support of many organizations, businesses, residents and volunteers. I would like to thank the ACBDA and its Board and committee members, the ACEA, the teams, government department representatives, the West End Development Corporation, construction companies and contractors as well as all the volunteers who have so ably assisted in the AC35 preparation and process to date. I encourage everyone to work together in support of Bermuda during AC35 – it’s our time on the world stage – let’s enjoy ourselves and make the most of it.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Students should benefit with scholarships, not with sailing.

  2. Spanky says:

    Why not both? Why do you limit your thinking to an “either or” scenario? And is it even possible, after all of the explainations and discussions on how Bermuda’s economic engine works, that you STILL do not understand? Or could it be that you just don’t want to?

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