Residents have say on Shelly Bay future
While there was a mixed reaction to the demolition of the former concessions building at Shelly Bay, most people canvassed in the area yesterday said the area should not be overdeveloped.
Local resident Alan Smith said he believed that parking for a permanent business would have caused problems.
The former Department of Planning employee said: “My idea was to knock the building down and have a food court — maybe about six entrepreneurs can set up there. You could have someone selling hot dogs and somebody selling bathing suits — that was my idea.
“The biggest problem with a permanent restaurant is the parking. At different times there will have to be communication because we have the churches groups going down there, we have the West Indies Association during the summer — it is full.”
Mr Smith added that he did not think water sports rentals were a good idea.
He said: “There are children here swimming — the biggest problem is people running into those little kids.
“From Admiralty House all the way to St George’s this is the only beach on the North Shore. It’s a good idea, but the wrong beach.”
But one tourist on the beach disagreed.
Brenda Winslow has visited Bermuda from New York for 30 years and said that yesterday was the first time she had even been to Shelly Bay.
She added the calm waters were a perfect location for water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding and a restaurant would attract more tourists.
Ms Winslow said: “This would be great for kayaking and paddle boarding. It is rarely wavy here — it is wonderful for families.
“Water sports would be nice on this side. The children here are surrounded by water and should be encouraged to enjoy the water.
She added: “I would come more often if they had a little restaurant or bar. And how about a restroom? More tourists would stop here and use this.
“We came here today — we’re on bikes so we didn’t pack any coolers. You limit what you can comfortably bring.
“We won’t spend as much time here — if they had tables, chairs and refreshments, we would have stayed for the day or at least stayed for lunch.
“There is a future here for developing.”
They were speaking as demolition work on the building began after developer Tom Steinhoff abandoned plans to turn it into a beach bar and restaurant in face of serious structural challenges and lack of agreement with the Bermuda Government on a lease.
Bermudian Kim Faiella was visiting the beach with three children and believes a measured approach should be taken.
“There is nowhere close to go to the bathroom on the beach. It would be fun if they had little rentals like kayaks but you don’t want it to be too popular because it is so nice.
“If it gets too busy, it’s good for the tourists but it takes this away from us. You have Snorkel Park and Tobacco Bay and the new place on Horseshoe Bay.” Bermudian Karen Cross said she was a regular visitor to the beach and playground with her grandchildren.
She agreed development should remain minimal but would also welcome some facilities.
Ms Cross said: “I’m glad the plans were scrapped because we lost the use of a lot of our beaches already and it is enough.
“This would have been another area that they would have taken away from us. This is the only playground in the area — I’m glad that it was scratched.
“It’s for families, so I am glad they are keeping it family orientated. But Ms Cross added: “I don’t have a problem with maybe fast food or a restaurant — for us who don’t pack a lunch, we might want to purchase lunch here. It is a beautiful beach and I don’t always like packing lunch.”
A senior Bermudian woman visiting the beach with young children, who asked not to be named, said a restaurant would be the best option.
The woman added: “They used to have showers way back, I think. Now you have to walk way down to use the bathrooms.
“They always had some kind of restaurant there you could stop by and pick up some food and you are close to the beach.
“I wouldn’t have a problem if they had some kind of restaurant. If there is a bar, as far as the alcohol was concerned, it would only be after hours.”
However, Ed Swan who lives opposite the building, said he was often disturbed by noise from a previous late-night establishment.
He said: “My main concern was if they had a restaurant, they close at ten but at 12 o’clock at night you can still hear the staff talking and noise.
“Mr Steinhoff wanted to go to midnight — I would hear it right in my bedroom.”
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