BEST heaps scorn on Grand Atlantic condo ad campaign

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  • The Grand Atlantic development.

    The Grand Atlantic development.

The Bermuda Housing Corporation was yesterday accused of “inaccurate and misleading advertising” in its promotion of the Grand Atlantic condominiums.

Sustainability advocacy organisation Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Task Force is demanding that the promotional material for the condos be revised and corrected.

It issued a statement saying that it is misleading to sell the condos as being close to Southlands National Park because it doesn’t exist.

And, says BEST, there are no “lush, landscaped gardens” with local flora, as claimed by the brochure touting the benefits of Grand Atlantic living.

Nor are the condos built with “traditional building methods” — another claim of the promotional material.

BEST is also heaping scorn on BHC’s claim that the units sport a “tranquil view” saying that one of the blocks is very close to a heavily used main road.

“The Southlands Estate, saved from development by public activism, is slated to be swapped for land at Morgan’s Point, but has not been formerly legislated as parkland or anything else.

“While the land swap may have been finalised (or maybe not), there has been no such formal declaration or announcement.

“The absence of an announcement and an event lauding the dedication of Southlands as a ‘National Park’ is unmistakable evidence that the future status of the Southlands property is still in limbo,” reads the statement issued by BEST Chairman Stuart Hayward.

“We are aware that if the land swap is not effected, the Southlands property will remain in the hands of its current owners and, as private property, be unavailable to Grand Atlantic residents. Based on experience, we can only be sure that Southlands will become a National Park is when it actually happens — anything else is purely speculation.”

On the brochure’s claims that the condos are ‘set amid lush, landscaped gardens that feature a variety of local flora,’ the organisation says that while that is the goal of the developers, that is “not the case now”.

“There are no photos of lush gardens or any gardens at all. As for “local flora”, the existing vegetation includes ‘scheflerra’, a plant now officially regarded as invasive.”

The statement continues: “The claim of ‘traditional building methods’ is almost ludicrous. Densely-packed multistory condominiums with not a single limestone wall is definitely not in the Bermuda house-building tradition.”

It goes on to say that the promotional material does not show the overall site plan for all of the units.

“Why isn’t the overall site plan and elevations being made public so Warwick residents, potential buyers and the Bermuda public can better gauge the ‘tranquility’ of a development of this scale and density built this close to the main road?

“Observers can see large areas of excavation at the site but the public still has no graphic depiction of where these three-storey buildings and a hotel are going to be fitted onto this already crowded site.”

BEST is also taking issue with the BHC using the name “Southlands National Park”, given that Government had indicated that the area would be named after Pauulu Kamarakafego.

“It is misleading to promote the as yet non-existing park by its current name, all the while knowing that that name is going to be abandoned and the area renamed.

“While we don’t expect that aspects of the development like the densely populated neighbourhood, the development’s proximity to a heavily travelled road, or the recently buried rubble-dump would be included in promotional material, neither does the public expect the development would be so openly mis-advertised.

“We trust that potential consumers will carefully review this and other advertisements for the development with a cautious and discerning eye.

“The public deserves a rapid correction and revision of the promotional materials to reflect the truth. We look forward to truth in advertising at the Grand Atlantic.”

Mr Hayward was asked whether the BHC reference to Southlands National Park did not give him some comfort that the land swap deal would be finalised.

“That’s not the way it ought to work,” he replied.

“The public should not have to depend on an advertisement for a housing development to know that 37 acres is going to be converted to a park. It’s convoluted messages. That’s assuming that’s the case,” he said. Just because they are calling it Southland National Park does not mean it is going to happen not only is it a convoluted message, its an insecure message.”

The Royal Gazette sought a reaction to BEST’s statement but had not received a response by press time last night.

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Published Apr 30, 2012 at 8:53 am (Updated Apr 30, 2012 at 8:53 am)

BEST heaps scorn on Grand Atlantic condo ad campaign

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