Minister On 2024 City Of Hamilton Plan Draft

February 24, 2024 | 7 Comments

“I am pleased to announce the release of the Draft City of Hamilton Plan 2024 which has been prepared by the Department of Planning to guide development activity within the City of Hamilton, Minister of the Cabinet Office Vance Campbell said in the House of Assembly.

Draft-City-of-Hamilton-Plan-2024.pdf - Google Chrome 2242024 112720 AM

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to announce the release of the Draft City of Hamilton Plan 2024 [“the Draft Plan”], which has been prepared by the Department of Planning [“the Department”] to guide development activity within the City of Hamilton.

Mr. Speaker, the House will recall that the Department of Planning issued the City of Hamilton Plan Consultative Draft in January 2023 for public consultation. That signified a new and earlier step in what will be a “3-stage” plan-making process. The Department has carefully considered the content of all submissions received as part of that initial consultation phase and updated key background data and refined the content of the Plan to reflect its findings.

Mr Speaker, the premise behind the Consultative Draft Plan was to have an earlier phase of the plan-making process, which would enable the Department to “front-load” consultation efforts. By providing people with an earlier opportunity to comment on the Plan, the emerging issues could be identified and the Draft Plan, which I am now presenting today, could then be a more solidified representation of policy direction. The effectiveness of this consultation strategy will be determined by the level and nature of the responses that are received as part of the forthcoming consultation phase.

Mr Speaker, in-keeping with efforts to bolster stakeholder participation at the earliest possible stage in the process, the Department undertook a widespread consultation exercise in support of the Consultative Draft Plan, utilizing various mediums. This included targeted stakeholder presentations to agents, architects, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Corporation of Hamilton, and the Real Estate sector. There was a live radio interview, in-person pop-up sessions at various locations throughout the City, as well as an extensive social media outreach throughout the consultation period.

Mr Speaker, the Draft Plan is accompanied by the City Survey Report 2024. This document contains a significant amount of background data and analysis work, which has been used to inform the content of the Draft Plan. The City Survey Report has been updated from the previous version to include updated data. Crucially, this document now also contains details of consultation responses and the Department’s responses to the issues arising. This ensures that people are fully informed about how the Department has processed the comments that it received and how those responses have been used to further shape the Plan.

Mr. Speaker, The City of Hamilton is the heartbeat of our Island, and the social and economic success of the City has a significant impact upon the overall success of the wider Island. With this in mind, it is imperative that we have a progressive land use plan for the City which is equipped with the necessary tools to enable the City to flourish and to provide a framework for pragmatic and responsible responses to changing circumstances. It is also important to acknowledge that land use planning is only one of a multitude of complex factors which contribute to the performance of the City. The Corporation of Hamilton clearly undertakes a wide range of duties which contribute positively to the City, including its overall responsibility for the City’s infrastructure networks.

Mr. Speaker, the content of the Draft Plan is driven by the overarching principle of “placemaking”, which recognizes the cyclical economic benefits which can be attained through creating places which are distinctive, welcoming, safe, accessible, and connected. Increasing vacancy rates and a general decline in the environmental quality of urban centres has been taking place around the world over the last 20 – 25 years, largely because of the seismic shift towards online retailing. Different jurisdictions have been attempting to address this decline to save towns and cities and, one of the emerging successful global solutions, is to focus on the quality of place, as the Draft Plan does.

Mr. Speaker, if you can create quality and appealing places, people will ultimately spend more time and money in such places. Furthermore, there is also recognition that there is a need for a more diverse range of uses within urban areas. The Draft Plan incorporates these considerations and can make a significant contribution to the City’s long-term success.

Mr Speaker, another important component of the Draft Plan, is that similar to the North East Hamilton Local Plan 2022, it proposes a discretion-based approach to decision-making. Discretion-based planning systems are employed in other parts of the world and in essence, what it means is that decisions are taken through applying land use plans in their entirety, enabling balanced and informed decisions, led by a set of clearly defined overarching principles.

Mr. Speaker, this approach removes the need for rigid numerical standards which have proven to be increasingly problematic within the City in recent years in terms of developer viability. Instead, under a discretion-based approach, the focus will be on ensuring consistency with clearly articulated principles and the substantive issues which really matter, rather than pre-defined numerical parameters which offer minimal flexibility, and which can be an unreasonable obstacle to the betterment of the City.

Mr. Speaker, the Draft Plan represents a formal, legislated stage of the plan-making process in accordance with the Development and Planning Act 1974 and I encourage all relevant stakeholders to take the opportunity to review the Plan and provide the Department with their feedback. This feedback, which may take the form of objections and/or representations will be considered by the Department with the aim of resolving all objections where possible. For any objections that remain unresolved, those cases will be referred to an objections Tribunal to opine and ultimately make recommendations to myself as Minister before the content of the Plan is finalized and ratified for approval and use.

Mr Speaker, the Draft Plan is available to view via the Department of Planning’s website. All comments must be submitted through the Department’s online Customer Self Service portal. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the Draft Plan can visit the Department’s website at

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the Department of Planning and thank them for getting the Draft Plan to this stage. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Corporation of Hamilton for its input into the Draft Plan and for taking the time to engage productively with the Department in providing background data, feedback and in contributing to policy development.

Mr Speaker, as part of the planning reforms being implemented by the Department, the next major project in policy development will be the review of the Bermuda Plan 2018, despite that document having only been adopted in 2021. It has become increasingly clear from the Department’s various consultation efforts, in addition to the day-to-day conversations it has with its customers, that there is significant appetite for the Bermuda Plan to take a similar approach to decision-making as the emerging City Plan.

Mr. Speaker, recent coverage in local media outlets with regards to requirements for EV Charging Stations under the Bermuda Plan 2018 magnifies the value of the discretion-based approach to decision-making proposed within the new City Plan. This policy has value as part of the Government’s longer term plan for transitioning to greener energy and the goal to reduce our carbon footprint. This was resoundingly recognized by this House when the Bermuda Plan 2018 was unanimously passed in June of 2021.

Mr. Speaker, the recent media coverage highlighted challenges in the application of the policy relating to EV charging stations, in that it does not provide the Development Applications Board with the discretion to waive the requirements specified in this clause, if the grounds in support of the application as submitted by the applicant justify the exercise of the Board’s discretion.

Mr. Speaker, this Government is focused on ensuring that all local businesses, inclusive of small and medium sized enterprises, are successful and when the laws of this land stifle or frustrate entrepreneurship, unnecessarily, we will change the laws so that they do not stifle and frustrate.

Mr. Speaker, under the Development and Planning Act 1974 there is a requirement to review a development plan every five [5] years. In addition, there is a specific provision within the Act which would enable changes outside of the conventional plan-preparation cycle. I intend to use this provision, to bring an amendment to this House that adds greater discretion in EV charging stations. In so doing, Mr. Speaker, I will be sure to follow the process as outlined in the Act. This process of changing planning policy is not a quick fix and any areas of policy which may merit change must be fully researched, considered, and consulted upon to ensure a fully transparent and participatory process.

Mr. Speaker, it is in the interests of anyone wishing to undertake development activity to familiarise themselves with what the requirements will be and what you can expect from the process and hearing this information first hand from the Department would be highly beneficial.

Mr. Speaker, in this regard, I have asked the Director of the Department to explore the possibility of intensifying community outreach initiatives, which I will be to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Draft City of Hamilton Plan 2024 follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (7)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    If only such plans were obeyed by Ministers, who prefer to ride roughshod over decisions made by Planning and the DAB.

  2. Wassabi says:

    Who you trying to fool. The city of Hamilton is run far better than the Bermuda government. Y’all have no no business trying to take over even more and syphon more money from taxpayers and do nothing with it.

    Stick with your Bermuda plan and when you show us how you’ve made Bermuda a better place for us all to live in and when you show us what you’ve done with the money you’ve spent, then talk to us about improving Hamilton. Otherwise, stay away and stop trying to ruin even more Bermuda. It’s the only part of the island, not full Of potholes. It’s the only part of the island that is consistently well lit. It’s the only part of the island that wins something breaks. They fix it in a reasonable amount of time. And is the only part of my of the island that is managed properly and within their budget. Until you can show us how you have done better with the responsibility you have been given currently, don’t try to tell us what you’re going to do better.

  3. What says:

    This is to distract from the budget reply. Read the budget reply. Know the truth.

  4. Mark says:

    How in the world do we keep letting these criminals in government grab more and more of our country and keep doing nothing. They will bleed the city dry to line their own pockets like they’ve been doing for years with our whole country. But hey, 29-3 or whatever right? Thanks for voting these guys in. Hope you voters are the last ones on the island as it sinks.

  5. Gelald says:

    Gotta love humans… Lol ya right

  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    I’m confused. Why is Government making plans for the city and not the COH?

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Because the PLP Government wants to dissolve the Corporation of Hamilton and take over all of its valuable resources. The PLP Government announced that intention years ago.

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