Environmentalists want update on Southlands
Campaign group Take Back Our Park is urging the Bermuda Government to unveil its plans for Southlands.
The environmental organisation praised Government for passing legislation designating the land on South Shore as a protected area earlier this month.
But it said a great amount of work is now required to restore the landscape and buildings in the 37-acre estate.
A spokesman said: “It has been a very long saga that has seen many unfulfilled promises, but credit where credit is due, and this Government has taken up the mantle and made sure the area is now protected as a national park.
“That is something TBOP and a lot of other people and organisations have been wanting to see for some time and we are delighted that this designation has finally been made.”
Southlands was earmarked for a hotel but after a series of protests against the plan, the area was formally obtained by Government in 2012 as part of a land swap deal, with the developers getting 80 acres at Morgan’s Point.
The spokesman said: “Since then there have been many commitments in various Throne Speeches about making Southlands a national park, but nothing ever happened.
“As a result, it has fallen into terrible disrepair. Lovely lawns are now covered with weeds and trees, buildings have rotted and the estate, as a whole, has been woefully neglected.
“The restoration of the landscape and buildings is going to take a tremendous amount of work, and so we have to ask the question: what next?
“Are there now plans to restore the estate? Will we see some innovative ideas for its use? Would Government be prepared to let the buildings, for instance, for a peppercorn rent if an entrepreneur came up with a workable plan?
“Southlands could be a tremendous asset for Bermuda for locals as well as tourists. At the moment, instead of being a national resource, it has been allowed to become a national disgrace which is a tragedy.”
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