Waterfront Fails To ‘Capitalise On Opportunities’

January 31, 2023 | 8 Comments

The “Waterfront area of the City is a site of immeasurable potential which currently accommodates a series of uses which drastically fail to capitalise upon the opportunities that the area presents,” the Government’s recently released City of Hamilton Plan 2023 Consultative Draft said.

The document stated, “Whilst it is recognised that the Container Port in particular, and the large areas of car parking, provide facilities which the Island and City requires, this is not the best use of a prime waterfront area.

“The Waterfront has the potential to be Bermuda’s premier destination for social activity, which would have direct knock-on benefits for existing businesses in the City and encourage new businesses to view the City as a viable location. This area presents an opportunity to accommodate a range of recreational and leisure activities set within a high quality, pedestrian-oriented public realm.

File photo of part of the City’s Waterfront area:

Hamilton City Bermuda Generic 2020 39r8239 JM

“The Waterfront strategic development site consists of an area measuring approximately 11 acres, however, it is naturally split up into more discreet sections due to the uses taking place and existing landscaping works.

“It is evident that the western portion of the site presents the most immediate opportunity for redevelopment as it largely consists of car parking at present. The complexities of the Container Port and its long term future at this location lie far beyond the remit of the Plan and it is accepted that this is an issue which is unlikely to be resolved in the short term.

“Owed to the profile, visibility and critical role which this site could play in the long-term future of the City, the Department strongly advocates that any proposals for the redevelopment of this area should be the subject of a public consultation exercise, incorporating workshops, whereby the public are afforded opportunities to directly influence the final proposals.

“Meaningful community consultation is one of the key pillars of placemaking and it is considered that the prominence and importance of this site to the long-term prosperity of the City, merits thorough community dialogue.

“The Department considers that the scale and importance of this site lends itself to being informed by a masterplan, as advocated by the Corporation of Hamilton’s Strategic Plan. Placemaking principles are most effective at the neighbourhood level and this site presents an excellent opportunity to apply these principles on a flagship site and to realise the benefits which can ensue from a carefully thought out and properly planned site, which puts people at the heart of the process.

“Proposals for the comprehensive redevelopment of the Waterfront shall be informed by a masterplan, which will be required to, inter alia:

  • a] provide a range of uses which are aimed at enhancing the social, recreational and leisure experiences of the site and wider City;
  • b] ensure that pedestrian movement is prioritised over vehicular;
  • c] create a high quality public realm, including comprehensive landscaping works and the inclusion of public art installations;
  • d] include linkages to and from the site, which direct people to other parts of the City;
  • e] include attractive directional signage which markets other parts of the City, including North East Hamilton;
  • f] accommodate the continuing effective operation of the existing dock facilities; and
  • g] take full advantage of the waterfront setting in terms of both the arrangements for pedestrian movement within the site and in framing views of the harbour, whilst ensuring that views of the harbour from Front Street are not significantly compromised.”

It also added, “Furthermore, there is a significant volume of parking at the Waterfront which is not only visually intrusive in a highly visible part of the City, but also a missed opportunity to capitalise upon one of the City’s best assets.”

The public is invited to submit feedback on the plan and comments can be submitted to the Department at cityplan@gov.bm.

The City of Hamilton Plan 2023 Consultative Draft follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (8)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The document stated, “Whilst it is recognised that the Container Port in particular, and the large areas of car parking, provide facilities which the Island and City requires, this is not the best use of a prime waterfront area.”

    More fodder from the PLP Government to justify taking over the City of Hamilton and selling it off.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    If Government gives as much attention to the City as they do to Bermuda as a whole, it will soon look like the Botanical Gardens with the addition of the homeless.

  3. Double s says:

    This is the end game for the PLP’s CoH takeover.

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    The poor use of Hamilton’s waterfront is nothing new. It is not unique to town ports after the change from break bulk shipping to containerisation of their ports.

    I am not sure why #1 shed was removed. It served well as something of an event center & covered carpark. In any case a use better than nothing but a carpark needs to be found.

    The Hole, by the ferry terminal, & Albouy’s Point used to be the hub of about everything tour boats in Bermuda. No more. Now the area is little used by tourboats except for the summer booze cruises for locals & as the occasional pickup point for charters.

    Hamilton does not have a ‘town dock’ for small boats as such. There is the the floating dock below the flagpole, a huge improvement over nothing at all before, but that is big enough for loading & unloading only.

    What is needed is a couple of fingers with short term slips at each end of the existing floating dock encourage people to come to town by boat for shopping or a night out. It might also encourage visiting boats to anchor in Hamilton if there is a place to dinghy in.

    By day charge for dockage, just like the carparks. Perhaps allow single overnight, less than 24 hour dockage. Better to let a drunk skipper sleep right there on his boat than to pull him off the rocks somewhere or search the harbour for his body.

  5. WillSee says:

    There is no market any more development in Hamilton.
    There are no more cruise ships, no new city hotels and adding more condos to
    the city will change nothing.No one wants to walk a million miles from their car to Front st or
    the rest of town. There is a reason why the town was built the way it is.
    With hurricanes and winter gales do we really need development on the waterside.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      This is not about what we “need”. This is about the PLP government taking over the City of Hamilton and selling off its prime real estate for money.

  6. And yet again says:

    Haven’t we been thru this before. More BS from the govt that is hell bent on getting control of the city and more particularly there positive cash flow so they can F of F more deals and shaft us the public. Yes the city needs upgrade but let the people with brains who know how to run a business/ corporation deal with it. Seems anything the govt touches turns to vinegar

  7. Marine Life says:

    Parking has always been a stupid debacle in the City. That is why I stay away from it with my car. I HATE PAYING for parking to service businesses. The businesses should be getting the money. The city reaps from the businesses already. I take the bus or ferry to the city.
    I also am for shutting down Waterfront parking. Make it social, festival and relaxing in between. Who wants to spoil the view by lines of cars on the waterfront? So… Parlaville Car park is a potential answer. Put the cars there.
    The city knows the usage and how much more it could be used as it is centrally located. The hotel debacle has gone on for years, move on… put a parking deck there with elevator/ Stair access from the levels of a parking deck to Queen St.
    In the last few years more buildings have come down to be replaced by parking. That is to much tarmac and eyesore taking away from better uses. Planning has allowed this. Many Young people today do not want to be mowing yards the rest of their lives. They would prefer to go by the model, live, work and play in the city. That has been a trend in a number of cities today. You have to go with the trends and develop a city that way with furthur residential development.

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