Play to North-East Hamilton’s strengths
I’d like to respond to the following initiative presented by Curtis Dickinson in the Budget Statement 2020-21 and referenced in a February 24 Royal Gazette article, “Butler: make best of $1m Court Street boost”.
“The BEDC has received a capital grant of $1 million towards the establishment of the Uptown Development Authority.
“The mission of this BEDC subsidiary will be to implement the new North-East Hamilton Development Plan and drive residential development projects in North-East Hamilton.”
Since driving residential development projects is explicitly highlighted, I think this mission might be misguided. It is a huge waste of time and energy to build some posh residential units in the middle of shabby streets and buildings.
That’s like plopping a Rolls-Royce in the middle of a scrapyard.
To bring people, positivity, productivity, and profits to the area, it should be promoted as a shopping, entertainment and cultural corner in North-East Hamilton.
The area would be well served by optimising its heritage and cultural relevance. I hope that these aims end up the focus of this new North-East Hamilton Development Plan.
The UDA, Government, CoH, and area businesses, groups and residents need to be intentional about harnessing a welcoming environment and a positive atmosphere in order to harvest heightened social buzz and business activity.
Some of the friendliest, sincerest and most authentic people Bermuda has to offer are in North-East Hamilton. So why is it that tourists are frequently directed and locals frequently drawn to Front Street and Reid Street, away from North-East Hamilton?
The stigma is undeserved and unfruitful while the authenticity, beauty and creativity goes unannounced and untapped. The undesirable element gets overplayed while the desirable elements get overlooked.
North-East Hamilton is so rich a resource, it represents a bona fide opportunity for the economic stimulus the area and all of Bermuda so desperately needs. Its promise and potential can, should, and will be realised once true collaboration and concerted effort takes place.
The fortunes and prospects of the area can be turned around without the area being turned upside down, thus avoiding gentrification.
Lastly, though I am no medical professional or scientific scholar, I stumbled upon this process called centrifugation.
By applying centripetal force it is used, among other things, to separate the various components of blood in order to test blood samples.
This is inarguably important, but the blood in this state is only useful for inspection and research; in its separated state, the blood is useless to the correct functioning of the body.
Perhaps it can be argued that cities the world over exist in a ‘centrifugal’ state. In Bermuda’s case, South-East Hamilton, South-West Hamilton, North-West Hamilton, and North-East Hamilton may be our red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Unless the proper attention is given to each quadrant, the city and by extension, Bermuda, will continue to underperform and underachieve.
After all, Hamilton, being our island’s capital, is our heartbeat of sorts. And like the human heart, its care is paramount.
An untended garden is an unattended garden.
North-East Hamilton will never look and feel like South-West Hamilton; nor should it. But the latter cannot be allowed to bloom with the former allowed to wilt.
North-East Hamilton cannot continue to be left like some dangling limb or it will eventually only be good for amputation.
Insight and ingenuity must be invested and injected into this important area.
This jewel has been buried and walked over for too long. It’s time to unearth the hidden treasure. There’s much to be explored. There’s much to be gained.
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