Plan puts beach out of reach

  • Objection: Hidden Cove residents have a problem with the development proposals for Pink Beach

    Objection: Hidden Cove residents have a problem with the development proposals for Pink Beach

An application to redevelop the Pink Beach property in Smith’s has been criticised over plans to limit access to the property’s eastern beach.

Guests of the proposed resort and residents of the neighbouring Hidden Cove property would be able to use a beach on the western side of the property, but a larger beach to the east would be reserved for a private residence to be built on the property.

In a letter of objection, Dolores Beraldo-Vasquez of DBU Consulting, writing on behalf of Hidden Cove Ltd, expressed “serious concerns” about the proposal.

She wrote that Hidden Cove does not object to the redevelopment of the property, but is worried about the future of the eastern beach.

According to the application, the beach would be accessible only by residents of a large residential property to be erected on that side of the site. That residence will be part of the hotel’s inventory six-months of the year for the first five years of the hotel’s operation, after which it will become purely a private residence.

Ms Beraldo-Vasquez argued that the move would not only limit access to the eastern beach, but place additional pressure on the smaller western beach which would be servicing both hotel guests and the residents of Hidden Cove.

She also expressed concerns about the negative impact on Hidden Cove, noting that the plan as submitted has the hotel, the beach club and several other elements close to the western border. A revised plan was received by the Planning Department earlier this month, but Ms Beraldo-Vasquez said it introduced nothing to mitigate the concerns.

She wrote: “The applicant wishes, and secures by design, to protect the privacy and setback from the more bothersome hotel aspects for the private residential compounds, while locating nuisance items near the wester lot line only 15 feet away from the homes of Hidden Cove residents. This now includes the vent stack for the sewage treatment plant, which will be placed on the hotel manager’s dwelling unit.”

The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce did not object to the application, stating in a letter to the Planning Department it was encouraged that Bermuda may soon have a new tourism site. However, it asked the Development Applications Board to consider concerns about both the use of tourism-zoned property to house residential units and the blocking of guests from using the eastern beach.

“We continue to be surprised that the high end tourists that will be targeted will be denied access to the high end beach,” the group wrote.

Vicki Steele, of C12 Global Investments Ltd, representing property owner Sardis Development Ltd, said the eastern beach is already private, and the sale of the residential unit is vital for making the redevelopment project economically viable.

“Absolving $6.75 million of the initial land acquisition cost will ease the debt servicing burden of the hotel operations, allowing a viable operating model necessary for any hotel redevelopment project,” she wrote.

“The creation of a private residence generates enough additional value to make the overall project viable. In a market such as Bermuda, the high-end nature of the property means that the beach must be for the sole use of that residence.”

She also offered assurances that the residence will be built either after the hotel or simultaneously with it, writing: “It would be impactful to defer heavy construction until the hotel is actually built as having construction site on the doorstep would be highly detrimental to efforts to establish the hotel at the very top end of the destination resort market.”

The $51.5 million development is set to include a 34-room hotel with two restaurants, six guest condominiums, two guest suites, gym and spa facilities, a new beach club, two swimming pools and the large residential unit.

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