Trust lands suffered $260,000 of storm damage
Bermuda’s open spaces sustained devastating damage during Hurricane Gonzalo and Tropical Storm Fay that will take more than a year to clear up.
The National Trust, which is responsible for 272 acres of open land as well as scores of listed buildings, says the damage inflicted on its land and properties by the two storms could be in excess of $260,000.
The Trust has now launched a major initiative to get volunteers involved in the clean-up operation, and executive director Jennifer Gray has called on everyone to get involved.
“What is really devastating for us is the damage to all the open spaces,” she said. “The surveying and assessment of the damage is still continuing and an action plan is being formulated.
“The problem we face is that we are responsible for 272 acres of land and open space and we have just one conservation officer and three horticulturalists. It is a very small team.
“We are looking for help from anyone that can provide it; from individuals, to corporate partners and even the Regiment and prisoners on day release.”
The first Open Space Volunteer Restoration Day will take place on November 12 between 10am and 2pm at Paget Marsh. The Trust then plans to hold similar events every Saturday from November 15 until Christmas.
“Paget Marsh and Sherwin Nature Reserve at Warwick Pond were perhaps the hardest hit, but no park escaped unscathed,” Ms Gray said. “Some of the saddest damage was caused to fully mature cedars and palmettos. We lost a couple of cedars in the West End that predated the cedar blight in 1950.
“We are still assessing the damage and getting quotes. We have prioritised public amenities and tenant properties, but there is still an incredible amount to do.
“It is a daunting task that lies ahead so any help we can get would make a big difference and be hugely appreciated.”
Fortunately damage to the Trust’s historic buildings during Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo was restricted to minor roof and structural damage.
However, the Island’s cemeteries, for which the Trust is also responsible, sustained extensive damage that will need to be restored in the coming months.
“Fay and Gonzalo have obviously caused challenges to us, and we have had to cancel events,” William White, president of the Bermuda National Trust, said. “But out of this comes a great opportunity to plant and re-establish some of our endemic plants and trees.
“We have to seize that opportunity and we need people’s help to do this.”
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