Video: Govt Press Conference On Western Stars

June 14, 2024 | 1 Comment

Premier David Burt and Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch held a press conference to provide an update on the Western Stars Sports Club and St. John’s Field.

Minister Burch’s remarks:

Minister Burch said, “Good morning – I am pleased to be joined by the Honourable Premier, David Burt, JP, MP, Mr. Charles Brown – the Chairman of the Western Stars Roots Foundation, President Devarr Boyles, representatives of the Western Stars Sports Club, the General Manager of Gorham’s Ltd, Mr. Andrew Mackay, the President of the Bermuda Football Association Mr. Mark Wade and a representative of the Bermuda Cricket Board and those in attendance here today.

“This journey began back in 2019 when Gorhams Limited wrote to the Ministry of Public Works proposing a plan that would enhance their property as well as support their neighbours to the west – Western Stars Sports Club by the refurbishment of the St. John’s Road Field.

“I know that everyone associated with this project would agree that this journey has been longer than any of us anticipated. We wish that everything had gone according to plan, and this project would have been concluded by now. Clearly that is not the case but rather than look back – we remain committed to seeing it through to a successful conclusion.

“In our 2020 Election Platform, the Government promised to support local community and sporting clubs in upgrading their respective facilities. This project is another step to accomplishing that goal.

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“In May 2022 the Government tabled in Parliament the agreement for the leasing of a strip of land bordering the St. John’s Road Field and Gorham’s Limited which would see Gorham’s construct a wall between the two properties, regrade, resurface, and build a road to connect the front and back of their facility. Additionally, they would refurbish St. John’s Road Field to eliminate flooding, level the playing surface and provide water catchment to be used to maintain the field. Gorham’s further agreed to donate One Hundred and Fifty Thousand dollars [BMD $150,000.00] towards the renovation or rebuilding of the existing clubhouse. During the course of the current works, it was agreed between the parties that those funds would be used to install light poles instead – so that the field could also be used for night games in the future.

“The aim is to build a relationship between the two neighbours that extends well beyond this initial collaboration and demonstrate to the Bermuda community how the private sector and sporting organisations can successfully work together.

“There have been regular meetings between the three sides over this period to get to this point. What has become the first phase of this project is nearing completion and so far, Gorham’s have spent well over one million dollars to improve the drainage, raise the level of the field by several feet and replant the area. However, more work is still needed to be done before the field is ready to be played on.

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“Both Gorham’s and the Western Stars Executive teams have been working diligently to ensure that the playing area meets the regulatory standards for the playing of both Football and Cricket. Both national governing bodies – the Bermuda Cricket Board and the Bermuda Football Association have been involved in this aspect.

“In March 2023 it was decided to secure the services of an expert in field renovation to opine on the state of work so far. With the assistance of the BFA – FIFA consultant, Professor Eric Harrisson visited Bermuda and carried out an inspection of the field and submitted his report in April 2023.

“His report recommended that the topsoil be removed and resifted to eliminate rocks in the soil as well as the removal of invasive species of grass.

“Bids for the refurbishment works were solicited by the Western Stars Executive team from three companies – the two who possessed the large sifting equipment needed for the job were considered, they are D&J Construction and Island Construction, with Island Construction producing the lowest bid of $535,000. The government will support the club via a grant for this work. Additionally, the Ministry of Public Works will waive dumping fees and provide a technical officer to assist Western Stars with managing the project delivery. This figure is below the amount estimated by our own Quantity Surveyor.

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“This is a sizeable investment in a government asset, but we believe that Western Stars new vision to build a Sports Club that focuses on sport, health & wellness, and other funding models rather than bar proceeds to fund their activities is well worth the investment.

“Island Construction are in the mobilization stage and works should commence shortly.

“Let me offer my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Andrew Mackay, the Board of Directors and management of Gorham’s Limited and his team who have demonstrated good corporate stewardship by initiating this project. My thanks also to Mr. Charles Brown Chairman of the Western Stars Roots Foundation, President Mr. Devarr Boyles, the executive and the entire Western Stars family for their patience and diligence.

“This partnership truly supports this administration’s ideal of a progressive society. Both private and public sectors working together for the betterment of the community at large. Let me assure the Western Stars Sports Club family that in spite of the delays – we remain committed to providing a first-class facility that will set the standard for sporting fields into the future.

“I now call upon the Honourable Premier to say a few words to be followed by Mr. Mackay of Gorhams President Devarr Boyles of Western Stars Sports Club.

“Thank you.”

Western Stars & St John’s Field Press Conference Bermuda June 2024 (1)

Premier Burt’s remarks:

Premier Burt said, “Thank you, Minister and good morning everyone:

“This Government recognises the invaluable role that local sporting clubs play in our communities. They are not only integral to our culture and meeting points for social gatherings, but they also provide safe and accessible spaces for productive activities, especially for our young people.

“As a local Member of Parliament, I know that the Western Stars Sports Club and St John’s Field are those spaces for the Pembroke community.

“So, I am happy to join the Minister of Public Works and the wider Western Stars family as we announce that the Government have allocated funds not only from his ministry’s budget but also from the Confiscated Asset Fund to ensure that the resurfacing of this important community field will be completed.

“We acknowledge that these repairs have taken longer than anticipated, but I appreciate the diligent efforts of the Minister and his team to ensure that a solution was found.

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“It is essential that community clubs are supported in the work that they do, so that they can continue to provide an avenue for positive activities for our young people.

“So I join in thanking the vendors and sponsors who have supported this project. Their commitment has been instrumental.

“And I thank the Minister of Public Works and his team for their hard work and dedication in reaching this space. I also thank the Western Stars Sports Club, its members, the foundation, the teams, and the community for their patience.

“Today, we can celebrate that a solution has been found, know that the work will be done and that this field will be the home of the Western Stars Sports Club and the Dandy Town Hornets very soon.

“This field represents more than just a place to play sports; it symbolises our commitment to investment and building a brighter future for our youth, and strengthening our communities.

“Thank you.”

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  1. Steve says:

    This over fixing our roads? More trying to get votes. Absurd and pathetic

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