Minister Responds To PC, Airport Model Unveiled

August 2, 2016

Finance Minister Bob Richards responded to a new report on the airport redevelopment on the People’s Campaign, and on a related note, the Department of Airport Operations unveiled a scale-model of the proposed redevelopment which is located in the Departure Lounge.

Scale-model of Proposed Redevelopment of Bermuda’s Airport

The Department of Airport Operations [DAO] recently unveiled a scale-model of the proposed redevelopment of Bermuda’s airport.

“The model is currently located in the Departure Lounge near the United Airlines check in at the L. F. Wade International Airport and includes renderings of the proposed new airport terminal,” a spokesperson said.

bermuda airport model aug 2016 (2)

“The airport model was commissioned by the Aecon Group and built to scale by RJ Models [Global] Inc, a world renowned A-list model making company in Hong Kong, and features an intricate design with a high level of detail throughout. It is 6 ft long x 5 ft wide x 3ft high.

“The 1:200 scale replica of the exterior of the terminal includes life like images of people, automobile, aircrafts and the lush landscaping.”

bermuda airport model aug 2016 (1)

“This model is designed to help everyone have a visual of what the new airport will look like when finished,” said Minister of Finance Bob Richards. “It really shows the concepts for our much-needed new airport terminal building and it is designed for maximum realism with astonishing precision.”

Minister Responds To People’s Campaign

The People’s Campaign recently released a report — entitled ‘A Bad Deal For Bermuda’ — on the airport redevelopment project, saying the purpose of the report is to “keep the critical, unanswered questions” in the public domain.

The report says, “The proposed redevelopment of the LF Wade International Airport by the OBA Government continues to be a source of concern in Bermuda with a growing number of people voicing their view that this deal is not in the best interest of the country.

“Most notably, the taxpayer will be required to guarantee any shortfalls on the debt repayment for this project and will be liable for the cost of other facets of operations connected to the airport,” the report said.

In response, Minister Richards said, “I was pleased to hear that People’s Campaign have finally acknowledged that Bermuda really does need a new airport.

“However, placing an infrastructure project that will benefit all Bermudians plus our leisure and business visitors in the context of slavery is unfortunate, misplaced and deliberately inflammatory.

“I wonder if those Bermudians who will leave the ranks of the unemployed to return to the dignity of honest work will consider themselves enslaved. I wonder if those Bermudians working at the airport, whose working conditions will be vastly improved, will consider themselves enslaved.

15-minute video of the Minister’s statement and the Q&A:

“I wonder if those Bermudians who are relieved that their government has found a way to stimulate the economy, and create jobs without increasing the national debt, will consider themselves enslaved.

“The issue of having the management of the airport under ‘foreign control’ is misleading. This is a deliberately misleading statement and an indication of the People’s Campaign’s carelessness with truth and facts.

“As I have explained in my many presentations around the island, the Government of Bermuda will set up a wholly owned Quango to manage the manager. So there will be no unfettered foreign control of our airport. In any event, the agreement calls for the Government of Bermuda to have a profit sharing agreement with the management company.

There was a question about the cost of the project and the value for money, referencing $1000/sqft as “outrageous.” Let’s deal with facts:

  • Fact: 23% of the cost is for aprons, taxiways and so called Airside Civil Works, which contain complex underground structures – so comparing the cost of the facility using a calculation based on a simple square footage of the building is faulty analysis.
  • Fact: the terminal the PLP proposed in 2008 was expected to cost $514mn versus our $250mn – less than half the price.
  • Fact: their terminal was unnecessarily much bigger – 33,000m2 versus our more modest 25,000m2.
  • Fact: in spite of the bigger scale, their terminal would have cost $11,500/m2 compared to our $7,500/m2.
  • Fact: compared to the PLP proposed solution in 2008, Bermuda is definitely getting much better value for money under this government.

“There was a question about transparency. Here are the facts:

  • Fact: we have been much more transparent on this project than any other major project in Bermuda’s history,
  • Fact: compared to the new Acute Care wing at KEMH, where virtually all the negotiations were held in secret [in Toronto to keep it that way] key covenants as to the duties and obligations of the Government of Bermuda are still, to this day, redacted [blacked out] in the version that’s available to the public. So the charge of lack of transparency either holds no water, or is hypocritical.

“The Government of Bermuda has been accused of ‘snubbing demands to basic questions…”

  • Fact: I, along with other members of the airport redevelopment team, have made many, many presentations around Bermuda to various clubs, associations and groups in an effort to explain the project and answer people’s questions.
  • Fact: I am also committed to continue to have such meetings to expand the understanding of what the GOB is doing as it relates to this project.

“Finally, and ironically, I don’t recall the BPSU or BIU ever challenging a public project before – certainly not Berkeley, Heritage Wharf, TCD, Port Royal, or Dame Lois Brown Evans building as ‘bad deals’, deals that we know cost Bermuda taxpayers hundreds of millions of extra dollars that in no small way contributed to the mountain of public debt we now have. The Bermuda public can draw their own conclusions from that. Again for the sake of Bermuda, let’s focus on facts and not divisive language that is FALSE.

“This is about jobs,” concluded the Minister.

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Comments (47)

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  1. archy says:

    I think the PC people think they are more important/influential than they really are. But I will agree on one thing – some of the most important information regarding the airport has yet to be released and although ET says nothing has yet been signed, it is obvious that this is as done a deal as a done deal can be ….

    • sage says:

      Curious how much the Hong Kong based model maker was paid for this.

      • Its me again says:


      • George says:

        If things are being kept to scale……..1:200 of the $250mn projected development cost I would imagine! ; )

      • Factual says:

        Those are expensive and very difficult to manufacture so I am sure the very highly trained and skilled Hong Kong based artist was paid what he deserved. Too bad all of the Bermudian model makers we have here just sitting’ on walls weren’t given the job eh?
        (Yes, for all of the potato heads, that is sarcasm.)

        • Shiny says:

          I would’ve been happy to make one for $500. Of course, that would’ve been with Legos, but still pretty nice.

      • Bermy says:

        you’re worried about a 6ft model in the context of a 1/4 billion infrastructure project?

        Do you want the government to seek your approval for everything they do?

        maybe we should have a referendum on the annual paper clip budget?

        • sage says:

          Oh sorry, I forgot we can’t ask simple questions of our “government”, we wouldn’t understand anyway.

      • Zevon says:

        Would it have ben less than the overseas sculptor was paid for the DLBE statue?

    • Yup!!
      The oba/U.B.P. does not care who is adversely affected by anything tha they have done , since they came into power in 2012.
      They truly are the worst “government” of all.

      • Shiny says:

        That is so not true. They are the most wonderful party ever, and so good looking.

  2. justin says:

    For these reasons I don’t understand why the OBA continues to try to work with the People’s Campaign, BIU, BPSU, etc… You’re never going to get their support so you should have pushed through immigration reform and the new rental car legislation .

    • Rock Paper Scissors says:

      Yes push and push that will go well with the voters. Do you understand we have a election next year? The OBA is well aware which segment of the population they need to please!

      Trust me Justin you’re not included in the votes they need for a win.

      • justin says:

        Can you envisage a day when Chris Furburt votes OBA? I can’t…

  3. Lady Bug says:

    The last paragraph says it all. For all the other projects the PLP put on there was never this hoo-rah to challenge funds and transparency of any sort!

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    Never mind the noise from those who have no idea of bringing a project from idea to reality. Get on with the job. It is long overdue.

  5. Pure Madness!!!!!!! says:

    If the new airport is going to be built like the model they have put on display, I will be saddened. That model is a joke and a whole lot of it is truly unnecessary and a total waste of money. Who has a departure and arrival area all in the same place (thinking). Why is it necessary to have to ponds and pools? Who has an open patio facing the ramp side? LIKE WHY?????

    • Factual says:

      Tell me, what school was your airport development advanced degree from again?

    • mawiworker says:

      Rio Di Janeiro, Dubai, Washington DC..denver colorado.. to name a few have departure arrival area in the same place

    • hmmm says:

      Most modern airport terminals have the departure and arivals in the same place….usually one is upstairs and the other is downstairs.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Had you been paying attention you would know that fill created from digging the ponds is to be used to raise the level of the build so that it is higher & less prone to flooding like the current one.

      The all in one, usually departures upstairs & arrivals downstairs, is pretty much the proven practical standard getting everything under one roof. Of course, had you done even a little traveling beyond JFK you would know this also.

  6. Four says:

    St Georges be slamming. New airport,hotel and the golf course put back that for whatever reason someone had to knock it down and add to the unemployment..
    Amazing there objecting to a project they talked about,and there price was higher,
    Turn it up a notch. Bamb

  7. Warlord says:

    Minister lets get it built,and don’t worry about Tweedy and Furbs, they are looking out for their own well being.

  8. David says:

    Check Minister Richards straight calling out the hypocrites! :)

    “Finally, and ironically, I don’t recall the BPSU or BIU ever challenging a public project before – certainly not Berkeley, Heritage Wharf, TCD, Port Royal, or Dame Lois Brown Evans building as ‘bad deals’, deals that we know cost Bermuda taxpayers hundreds of millions of extra dollars that in no small way contributed to the mountain of public debt we now have. The Bermuda public can draw their own conclusions from that. Again for the sake of Bermuda, let’s focus on facts and not divisive language that is FALSE.”

  9. John says:

    You can always tell when a sitting government will soon go out of power as they away build a monstrosity prior to the end this is all just game playing from the opposition as they then whine about it , same like the new hospital we needed it kinda sorta, it is also a way to create jobs in the short term, imagine if we argued about every over the top church we built back in the day ? Let’s face it a regular hall would work fine but we gotta do them big . Call it the Tweed/ Furbert International and all will be happy .

  10. Micro says:

    Still don’t think it’s a good move to downsize to 6 gates. Looks like only 5 in the model.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      No problem there.Future expansion, if needed, could first be a concourse off the south end, possibly with room for gates either side.

      The basic design is common & practical. The problem is the separation of US bound passengers from others & all arriving passengers between plane & immigration from departing passengers.

  11. Vote for Me says:

    The constant reference to what the former PLP government planned to build is completely irrelevant. If they had build a $500m airport, it too would have been unnecessary!!

    At present, the government has extremely limited financing and embarking on the present rebuild is not sustainable.

    To all bloggers, do you know that government has guaranteed minimum annual cash flows for the project for the next 30 years?. On that basis alone, there will be an impact on government cash flows, meaning there will be an impact on the National Debt (despite the fervent claims by MP Richards to the contrary).

    When you add the guarantee to the other information used by the ratings agencies for the annual review, it is almost inevitable that there will be a downgrade in Bermuda’s rating as a result of the airport redevelopment.

    Bermuda also has to consider the arrogance of government with the project. Despite the misgivings of the general public, the review by the new Commission of Enquiry on government finances and the continued opposition from the existing Accountant General (the final authority to grant permission under Financial Instructions for government expenditures), the OBA have allowed Aecon to continue as if everything has been properly approved. Adding insult to injury, Aecon try to publicly tell Bermuda why we need a new airport – the proverbial fox guarding the hen house!!!

    What will happen if the OBA cannot get final approval via the Legislature for the airport – for example if MP Crockwell or one of the OBA MPs do not support it? What if the Commission indicates that there is some impropriety in awarding the contract to Aecon/CCC and what if the UK government does not give final consent!!

    From an economic perspective and based on what is publicly known, Aecon are in a no lose situation. They only have to proceed as they are doing because they will be able to recoup all funds spent, plus an administration fee if the project is cancelled. In laymen’s terms, Bermuda will pay either way.

    If the political reality is that the airport is really about creating jobs to help the OBA meet its pre election mandate for 2,000 jobs we can understand the all out push… but even then there will not be the amount of permanent jobs that many expect.

    Finally, it looks like the new OBA PR team is in overdrive. The public should see the impact if you carefully review the tone and content of several of the recent public statements by MP Richards and several of the other OBA MPs… too little too late?

    • Justin says:

      What part of WE NEED A NEW AIRPORT don’t you understand? If we borrowed $250m to build an airport how much interest do you think we’d pay? I’ll bet it’ll end up costing $500m by the time we factor in interest on $250m loan AND that’s if it comes in on time and on budget which we all know is a MASSIVE stretch given our track record. You also fail to mention the profit sharing agreement that will be in place, but instead you choose to be so doom and gloom because it suits your narrative. Fact, the BTA is starting to bear fruit and tourism is on the up so it does make sense we have an airport that brings us into the twentieth century to complement the uptick in tourism!

      • Shiny says:

        But, we’re Bermuda. we DESERVE a brand-y new airport because we are so generally awesome and sooooo important to the world. We have white roofs, pink sand and a blue halo. This is our birthright. To heck with the cost, the interest.

    • Northshore says:

      You are wrong on all fronts of your complete BS!! Your one of those who is not at the forefront therefor vomit garbage from your mouth very much like “I would imagine” your good friend Tweed! Yawn yawn yawn !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Bermy says:

      There’s a difference between providing a guarantee and being committed to the expenditure. Despite the fact that we don’t know all the facts, a guarantee typically means that taxpayers will have to make up the difference if and only if cashflows from the airport do no meet the stipulated threshold. Provided those cashflows meet the threshold the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay anything. If revenue projections are such that there’s a high degree of probability that cashflow thresholds will be met then this guarantee is an interesting fact, and a 30 year risk, but potentially of no financial consequence to taxpayers.

      Therefore to “guarantee” it will cost the tax payers is misleading.

  12. Mumbojumbo says:

    That most notable part ,whereas the taxpayer will have to guarantee….that being the case…let us look at first building a causeway with hydro electric power generated by the tidal surge through each aperture sluicing at each aperture from wide to narrow on both sides.
    Its’ design should be concerned with provision to electricity firstly sold to pay for itself ,then to supply electricity to airport (191,000$ a year) or per anum.
    Incidentally…. What is the estimated cost of electricity for the footprint of this new structure ?
    Will it deploy solar array panels and led lighting?
    Lastly was this even considered?

    • Justin says:

      When the price of fuel is so cheap at the moment solar technology is less appealing. I don’t know the answer to these questions, but how much is it going to cost to insure a solar panel farm every year? How long do the solar panels last compared to how much they save, and the cost to install and maintain? You talk about saving $190k per year but it really isn’t that simple because all these expenses have to be considered.

    • hmmm says:

      there is no tidal surge with the causeway. Perhaps you are thinking of Flatts bridge.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      “Mumbojumbo”. Very fitting screen name. Generation of power from the tide in Castle Harbour. Suuurrrrre we can. Where do you think we are? Bay of Fundy where the tides run over 25feet? Have you any idea of what it takes to make tidal generation viable?

      Even solar power will only subsidise the huge amounts of power required to run a terminal with all of its equipment. What can be put out on the finger is tiny. Drove past a solar farm just last week that powers a small community college. The area covered with panels had to be 10 times the size of what we have available on the finger.

  13. Mumbojumbo says:

    Any project Bermuda attempts now should (in my humble opinion) be designed to see profit at onset .
    Electricity is a cost that can be eliminated…if removed then that same money can be utilised to pay down on cost…and in turn…profit at end view …on the other side…postumately or perceived….uma luz no cominho?

  14. sage says:

    Couldn’t the roof be used for solar self sufficiency? (I know they’re going to use “the finger”)

  15. Kathy says:

    TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY! Our airport is fine.

    FACT: Fix the infrastructure that needs fixing and STOP!

    FACT: We have DEBT to pay! Pay down the DEBT!

    FACT: Never build something at the END of the runway – if the brakes fail on the plane?

    FACT: Create jobs via building renewable energy infrastructure!

    FACT: We don’t need pools at the airport! WASTE OF MONEY!!

    • Just the Tip says:

      Fact: the building is at the end of it’s life

      Fact: There are features on newer airports that we need and can’t ‘simple add” to the structure as it now

      Fact: This is a model subject to change now that it is exposed to the public (so the pools might not be part of the finished product)

      Fact: Need money to pay debt, better facilities should help with bring in more clients

    • sialar says:

      The current airport terminal is not fine, and the new terminal plan’s are not at the end of the runway.

    • Frustrated says:

      Sorry Kathy but you are just wrong.
      1. This is infrastructure that needs fixing and has done for some time as evidenced by three previous PLP plans.
      2. It is essential to maintain / develop income so that the debt can e paid down. You can’t pay down debt with grains of pink sand!
      3. Not at the end of the runway my dear, please think before you type nonsense.
      4. This is infrastructure and renewable plans are being considered but this is essential and an imminent threat to income for BDA.
      5. The pools are part of the renewable / green development approach and reduce running costs check the facts or listen to the information provided rather than lies and propaganda. Not only this but they are a first and last impression for visitors.
      FACT: This is a sensible low cost investment in essential infrastructure that creates jobs without increasing the debt burden.

  16. BEST Idea says:

    I’m surprised Stuart and BEST have not objected and threatened court action yet! Probably in the pipe line!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Stuart & BEST need to be very careful on the fights they pick. Somebody might jog the public memory on how many hundreds of thousands extra he & his group cost the taxpayer through interference, along with the PLP, in the Tynes Bay project.

      That was back in the day when Bermuda did not have a debt to service. We paid for things as we needed them & could afford them without any debt worth speaking of.

  17. C James says:

    The more the better I’d say.

  18. 21st Century says:

    two years of current debt service would pay for this airport. Think about it. If we hadn’t built up this pile of debt we could pay for this outright in 2 years!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      That is a frightening reality. $3.5M paid in interest on the PLP debt every single week.