Video: Minister David Burch Press Conference

March 16, 2022 | 6 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch will be holding a press conference at 12.30pm this afternoon [March 16] regarding the 2022/23 Budget. Will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video should start at around 12.30pm.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 12-minute replay is below

Update 1.40pm: Minister Burch’s remarks:

Good afternoon,

Following the Budget Debate for the Ministry of Public Works that took place on the 9th of March, I would like to highlight the departments that were discussed in the house and provide a forward look to the completion of various ongoing projects.

This year like last had resulted in diminished budgets across government with the position taken to strike a balance between services provided and the maintenance of current staffing levels.

The diverse makeup of the departments within the Ministry are critical to Bermuda’s daily functions and are part of the Government’s commitment to maintain jobs and generate economic activity.

The Ministry of Public Works is responsible for maintaining Bermuda’s critical assets and infrastructure as well as delivering the many services this Island depends on. Some of the assets and infrastructure that the ministry is responsible for building and maintaining include:

  • 617 roads amounting to 225 Kilometers of road surface,
  • 751 buildings maintained by Public Lands and Buildings with an insured value of over 1.5 billion dollars,
  • 85 public docks and purpose-built berths servicing cruise ships, cargo ships and hundreds of private vessels and yachts each year,
  • 5 reservoirs with a capacity of 2.5 million gallons of Bermuda’s precious and very limited freshwater resource,
  • seventy-five [75] amenity parks, beaches and school grounds protected under the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986 and
  • Ocean View and Port Royal Golf Courses

The budget allocation to the Ministry of Public Works for 2022/23 is $69,259,000 which is $2,249,000 greater than last year’s budget.

The increase will primarily be used to cover the five apprentices that will be hired within the Department of Public Lands and Buildings. In addition to the apprentices, the Ministry will look to fill some vacant positions that have been identified as needed in the upcoming year. This will also include a number of solo sweepers who will assist the Ministry with keeping the roadsides clean.

You will note that the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility has been encountering many mechanical challenges over the years – with the most recent being an overall shut down of the plant which resulted in baling of the garbage and temporary landfilling. Thankfully our engineers and technicians at the facility continue to come up with solutions to keep the plant running.

However, we cannot always count on our good fortunes. So to err on the side of caution, we have allocated funding to pay Belco for energy should the plant be out of commission for any reason.

The Tyne’s Bay Drop Off facility is another area that will be covered by the additional funding – which is currently being operated by Hunts Sanitation.

Lastly, the external hiring of equipment will be covered by the additional funding this year for the Marsh Folly and Airport locations.

The anticipated revenue for the Ministry is projected to be $13,011,000. This revenue is primarily derived from Waste Collection & disposal, Water & Sewage Refuse, Electricity Generation and Property Rentals.

The total Capital Budget for the Ministry amounts to $39,634,000. A sizeable amount of this – $7 million dollars will be used for significant maintenance upgrades to the Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility.

Department of Public Lands and Buildings, is responsible for managing the Government estate of over 2,000 acres and some 750 buildings. Our Public Schools continue to be a priority with regard to the expenditure for maintenance and upkeep of these facilities.

We will continue to work closely with the Education Department on aligning school buildings with the longer-term strategic plan for the Bermuda Public School System.

Whilst the Education Plan calls for some schools to be closed, the infrastructure must be maintained so that it is available for future use.

Plans are in place to carry out interior painting for six schools, with five also being painted on the exterior. During the summer vacation period, repairs and improvements to HVAC systems will be made in all schools.

Boundary wall and embankment work will be carried out at three schools, and surveys performed across others to inform long term planning.

In 2021/22, the Department commenced work for the installation of roof- mounted solar panels on four key government properties:

  • The Government Administration Building,
  • General Post Office Building,
  • Transport Control Department Building and,
  • the Department of Public Transportation facility in Devonshire.

The project is advancing apace with the GPO Building being the first to come online shortly. Building on the success of this project, and in support of the Government’s strategy to utilise alternative energy, the Department of Public Lands and Buildings is assessing financing and procurement options for solar systems on the rooftops of approximately thirty Government buildings.

The estimate for new bus shelters, Private Road Street Lighting, Minor Works and Miscellaneous Small Projects is zero due to budget constraints – none of these activities will occur next year.

Finally, and perhaps what most people interact with on a daily basis, is the ongoing infrastructure upgrades affecting roads. The ongoing trenching work across the island that has been led by BELCO is set to be completed next year.

It was two years ago when we announced the joint venture with Belco and the Ministry of Public Works to launch a 3 year plan to upgrade their underground cable network. The work is progressing across the island – I must comment on the state of the reinstated roads. The roads cannot be fully reinstated until a year has passed to allow the trench material to settle. We accept that some of the road works could be a little smoother and we will investigate to see what can be done in the interim.

The Ministry will begin asphalting the sections of road that have been subjected to trench work in phases – beginning with Harrington Sound Road.

The Ministry will continue to review its work schedule and budget throughout the year and make the necessary adjustments to increase the work load.

Thank you.

click here Bermuda 2022 Budget

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Comments (6)

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  1. Bob says:

    Don’t believe anything that comes out of this guys mouth.

  2. comfortably numb says:

    And what about Mangrove Bay Road which partially collapsed almost a year ago? Work started on restoring the road and then abruptly stopped with equipment and barriers slowly rotting from lack of use. Ironically. The stretch of road is directly across from former PLP minister Michael Scott’s house. I guess Michael is no longer part of the F & F network.

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    “This year like last had resulted in diminished budgets across government with the position taken to strike a balance between services provided and the maintenance of current staffing levels.”

    And there we have it. Keeping the (bloated) civil service intact is a top priority of the PLP Government

  4. Harold Conyers says:

    On a consistent basis there seems to be little if any added value realized from, at least, the roles played by Junior Ministers (and arguably a swollen Ministerial body in general).
    Rather than continuing to spend our tax and borrowed dollars on identifiable non-performing assets (NPA’s) it would be more morally (to our people) and financially (to our creditors) responsible (not politically however) to reduce/eliminate the NPA’s and transfer the funds to demonstrably beneficial projects such as:
    ‘The estimate for new bus shelters, Private Road Street Lighting, Minor Works and Miscellaneous Small Projects is zero due to budget constraints – none of these activities will occur next year’.

    Harold Conyers.

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