Environmental group’s dismay over Southlands
An environmental group has lamented the lack of progress in making Southlands a national park.
The Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce said it was “disheartened” that there was no mention of Southlands in the Throne Speech last week.
The group’s chairman, Stuart Hayward, told The Royal Gazette that it was difficult to understand why there had been such a long delay in providing Southlands with national park status.
The address on November 13 by the Governor, George Fergusson, included details of the completion of a crop sector strategy and the launch of the dairy sector strategy as well as the launch of a new policy to facilitate importation of new sources of agricultural plant material.
It also referred to the need to make Bermuda’s electricity service “environmentally sustainable” as a new Electricity Bill was unveiled.
However, there was no mention of tabling legislation that will provide Southlands with the legal protection afforded to national parks.
“We were disheartened that there was no mention of adding Southlands to the national parks system,” Mr Hayward said. “Until Southlands is codified as a national park, there is an ever-present risk that non-parkland uses will creep in.
“It’s not easy to understand why there has been such a lengthy delay, especially as the Premier and senior Cabinet ministers have repeatedly promised that Southlands would be protected as a listed park.”
Last week a spokeswoman for the Department of Parks said: “Southlands was not mentioned in the Throne Speech because it has been mentioned in the past and the work is ongoing.
“The Cabinet memo to amend the Parks Act, which includes adding Southlands to the national parks schedule, is currently circulating throughout the relevant ministries.
“The Department of Parks also conducts maintenance projects in the park several times throughout the year.”
Although the Southlands-Morgan’s Point land-swap agreement took place more than two years ago, Southlands has still to receive official national park status. At the start of this year, the Bermuda Government said the Department of Parks was viewing several options for Southlands with a view to putting the options to the national parks commission for review.
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