Minister: ‘Adopt A Public Building’ Outreach

October 7, 2017 | 30 Comments

Saying that our architecture, old buildings, bridges and forts are “in need of care and attention,” Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch said he “will create an avenue of outreach to the private sector by asking them to Adopt A Public Building.”

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [Oct 6], the Minister said, ”Our architecture, stately old Bermuda Buildings, our bridges, our historically unique forts are all in need of care and attention. We can’t do it all at once – or, even, by ourselves.

“There is nothing like having a challenge to respond to. So, I have been considering what ‘other way’ could we use to take care of our aging infrastructure?

“While the Ministry of Public Works will continue to take care of the more urgent items, I will create an avenue of outreach to the private sector by asking them to Adopt A Public Building. Architecture, like everything else that attests to our history, has a place in our lives.

“Who among you is willing to ‘Adopt a Public Building’? We will have a list of such properties, available for your information, on the Government website.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask the House to take note that Bermuda’s first observation of “Architecture Week” occurred this week from October 2 to today.

Although the Department of Planning and architects do not fall under my Ministry, the most beautiful examples of Bermuda’s architecture are among the buildings held and administered by the Ministry of Public Works.

  • Government House
  • The Sessions House
  • The Cabinet Building, and
  • Camden
  • To name a few.

Mr. Speaker, I do think this is an appropriate time to ask each of us to understand the value of these buildings and their place within our society.

Mr. Speaker, we accepted the challenge of the Progressive Labour Party Government’s plans for a “Better and Fairer Bermuda” and our first fifty-three days in office, were spent working diligently, together with the Ministry of Education, to have public schools ready for our students. And, we did it!

With the help of concerned citizens, parents, neighbours, teachers, school staff and friends; and the hard work of Ministry of Education Facilities and Public Works staff, our schools were cleaned of mold, made fresh and ready for the next generation of Bermudian students.

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying, that we will continue to work to keep our schools in a healthy condition for all of our teachers and students, but there is more….much more…that needs to be done.

I have a list of my own.

Having held this post once before, I am aware that we seem to be largely unaware of the need for refurbishing our infrastructure from Dockyard to St. George’s.

Like our buses, our bridges need attention. And, as a tourist destination in this 21st Century, we must give some thought to what that means.

Mr. Speaker, our architecture, stately old Bermuda Buildings, our bridges, our historically unique forts are all in need of care and attention. We can’t do it all at once – or, even, by ourselves.

But, I think that our seniors would remind us “where there’s a will – there’s a way!”

There is nothing like having a challenge to respond to. So, I have been considering what “other way” could we use to take care of our aging infrastructure?

Mr. Speaker, as a country, we are blessed with a rich history of fortifications built by the British and still standing today and; seventeen [17] years ago, in the year 2000, St. George’s [our living 17th Century town] won the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site! Becoming one of only one thousand and seventy-three [1,073] such sites worldwide.

The St. George’s designation reads as follows: “Historic Town of St. George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda. The Town of St. George, founded in 1612, is an outstanding example of the earliest English urban settlement in the New World. Its associated fortifications graphically illustrate the development of English Military engineering from the 17th to the 20th century, being adapted to take account of the development of artillery over this period.”

Mr. Speaker, this designation while recognizing “related fortifications” – recognized only those fortifications in the Parish of St. George’s. However, in this island country, all fortifications – from St. George to Somerset – are related. Together, these unparalleled groups of fortifications graphically illustrate English Military Engineering from the 17th to the 20th Century.

All such fortifications, especially the largest at the old Royal Naval Dockyard, are related to St. George’s and thus, within the terms of the original designation of our World Heritage Site.

Mr. Speaker, I will bring forward a Motion that proposes that this omission be rectified with the inclusion of all remaining fortifications from Hamilton Parish to Sandy’s Parish by way of a Supplemental Application to UNESCO, as the proposed additions fall with the terms of the original designation.

This addition will help foster Bermuda’s Heritage tourism and underscore the cultural legacy and value of these built monuments to Bermuda and the world.

Mr. Speaker, Bermuda is unique in many ways – we often think that spending money on Parliament is actually spending money on the Members of Parliament – not so! We seldom think of such spending as maintaining our own architectural heritage. [I must admit - some changes are for matters of health, and therefore may benefit our MP’s.]

Recently, the Cabinet Building was renovated. To say that the work was needed would be an understatement; but, it is not the only public building in need of attention.

Located in the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Paget, is Camden – the Premier’s Official residence. While the Parks Department does a wonderful job of keeping the natural beauty of the plants and flowers, Camden itself stands as an example of neglect.

Mr. Speaker, this house, with its wooden upper verandah and beautiful vistas is a prime example of Bermuda’s built heritage. The building, like the Sessions House, used to be a part of our visitors’ heritage tours.

And, the Sessions House, with its beautiful Florentine finish, should not be left to fall apart bit by bit.

Located on the highest point in the City of Hamilton, and built in 1826 after the move of the Capital from St. George’s to Hamilton in 1815 made its construction necessary.

Mr. Speaker, these buildings could increase our Heritage Tourism. Tourists would come to see the Jubilee Clock built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 and installed in 1893.

While the Ministry of Public Works will continue to take care of the more urgent items, I will create an avenue of outreach to the private sector by asking them to Adopt A Public Building.

Architecture, like everything else that attests to our history, has a place in our lives.

Mr. Speaker, like our children, they are a Bermuda treasure too, in need of care and attention.

Who among you is willing to ‘Adopt a Public Building’? We will have a list of such properties, available for your information, on the Government website.

Mr. Speaker, we can do anything if we all work together!

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Comments (30)

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  1. Justin says:

    Doesn’t the PLP want independence? Then why preserve things that represent colonialism? You’re boring!

  2. Zevon says:

    FFS. THIS is how they think they can balance the budget?

    • Bermudian Patriot says:

      Once it was realized that balancing the budget cannot be achieved and fund friends and family it was abandoned. Now the play is to fool IB into picking up the overflow, until an economic miracle arrives. For every action, there is a reaction, IB won’t stick around, waiting to be stuck by some deluded, deranged, destitute matador.

  3. Skeptic says:

    In other circumstances this might be a laudable idea, but elsewhere your party platform is hurriedly introducing legislation to eliminate any opportunity for long standing residents to achieve status in Bermuda and there seems little likelihood of a meaningful pathway to status for future long term residents. The majority of our business capital which might support this type of initiative comes from overseas, if the principals behind this capital see no long term opportunity for their organizations and their staff, they are highly unlikely to even consider this. We should be adopting a model similar to Cayman where there is a clear graduated path to different levels which attracts talent and capital to the benefit of all.

    • Bermudian Patriot says:

      The tone of the New Government has been set. Things said, and planned behind closed doors are becoming policy, legislated and law. Current and future identities and individuals looking to invest in us, will take that on, when making those decisions. It will take a while for the economy to feel the effect of that affect. And when it does it will become as historical a fact, as the historical forts, are now.

    • mixitup says:

      Adopt a model similar to who? Cayman? Their populace (Born Caymanians) would tell us otherwise.

  4. Real Onion says:

    so long as he dosnt want adopting!

  5. What? says:

    This is a joke right? Run on a campaign seeming anti-foreigner and then ask public i.e. IB to adopt a building? Wow.

    • jammel says:

      We are becoming a charity case.

      • Bermudian Patriot says:

        At over half a million US dollars a day due in interest, we’re past charity, we broke.

        • wahoo says:

          You are right and to put that into perspective for the plper’s (whos Govt. caused this) $500,000.00 would by by 1 nice house everyday for every little socialist.

    • jt says:

      And if IB has little interest how will that be spun?

      • Bermudian Patriot says:

        It will be spun through the last dollars from IB churning through the fuel used by jet turbines to get their people the hell outta here.

    • Sherbet man says:

      Not a joke sadly :( dummies…

  6. Truths says:

    Let me get this straight: you want International Business (let’s call it what it is) to give money for upkeep of buildings we have let go, you want IB to continue donating and volunteering in our charities, you want IB to give Bermudians jobs, train Bermudians for their own jobs, AND you want to impose new taxes on them and make them feel like 4th class citizens?

    You’ve got some ballz and no brain.

    If all Expats stopped spending money for 1 week, I think we would see just how much they already give us.

  7. sage says:

    Is the Grand Atlantic up for adoption too?

  8. aceboy says:

    I think Westgate prisoners should “adopt” a public building or two.

  9. Sell the building, sell the land… if it doesn’t make money it is not an investment. Invest the money. Or… Take care of them ypurselves with revinue derived from them.
    Which buildings?
    Where are their parents?
    Has social setvices been notified?
    Like a child if you have them be prepared to take care of them.
    You wanted to be govt…. As govt. You are given tasks to do… this is the thing, pave roads, upkeep infestructure, buildings have to have a revinue to have upkeep, trim roadsides, keep buses on the road or cut them in half, store all interchangable parts and engines, keep farries and vessels maintained.
    Failure is poor governance… In which case OBA would be happy to adopt all govt.
    I formally request OBA be given the adoption papers to not just the buildings… BUT SLL responsibility of govt.

  10. Typical…. You want sombody else take care of yours

  11. Spit Bouy says:

    If we didn’t waste so much money in most govt departments like parks, w & e etc we likely wouldn’t need to ask people or businesses to adopt a building. How long is it taking to build the new bust stop on Palmetto Road and how much will it eventually cast? I bet a private contractor would do it in quarter the time and cost.

    Fix that first Mr. Minister, start getting better value for money within govt and I would bet people and businesses would be willing to help. We’ve all seen parks, w & e crews and the lack of application displayed while they carry out their tasks, it’s in your face daily. SMDH

  12. jammel says:

    Could you put Clayhouse on de list please?

    • Bermudian Patriot says:

      Ok, Clayhouse is on the list. It’s to be adopted by friends and family minibus services Ltd. It’s going to be the new privatized and subsidized, historic minibus depot.

  13. Sage says:

    Why can’t they just pick what they need from the money tree?

  14. Triangle Drifter says:

    Nothing short of hilarious. Oh well, the voters got what they asked for. More of the same old PLP. No ideas. Just talk.

  15. It's only just begun says:

    Do you have to do a back ground check to see if the business is fit to adopt.
    Jokers!

  16. Real Deal says:

    well if i had money i would adopt the grass in south side and ST davids it hurts me when i see tourist coming down here and the grass is not cut.the grass going to the beach or forts hurts me the most

  17. Mrs Brady says:

    Bermuda is doomed with fools like this running things.

  18. cpm says:

    Plp had their supporters cleaning schools [not much difference]but Charles decreed no complaints, a few months ago the sheepies would be marching about mold in schools
    So now Burch who has little time for expat workers wants them to adopt a building
    I think Disney cruises [Mickey Mouse] are soon to appear

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