St George’s mayor hopes for marina approval
An attempt to build a marina in St George’s could move a step closer next month.
Quinell Francis, the Mayor of St George, said the Corporation of St George hoped to win support next month for an agreement from Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs.
She said: “Right now, we are working with the Government to ensure that we have an agreement they are willing to support. What we are working on now with the developers are the terms of what we are trying to do.
“We were looking for a 42-year lease, which would have to go through the House of Assembly.
“The minister has expressed his support for the marina and MPs have also expressed their support, but we have to get that agreement to the minister so he can get it through.”
Ms Francis said the marina would be a boost for the town, which has benefited from visiting superyachts in recent years.
She said: “Before, during and after America’s Cup, we had lots of superyachts in St George’s.
“They all love St George’s. If we create an environment for them, we can capitalise on that. They shop in the grocery stores and the local stores, they eat in the restaurants.
“They are here for an extended period, and they become a ‘water resident’ and they need all the things that any other resident needs, and they need to stock up before they go.”
Ms Francis said the corporation is also in talks with the Government over improvements to public transport.
She explained: “One of the main concerns we find is that people rush to that 5.30pm ferry to get out of St George’s and back to Dockyard.
“Some visitors come to St George’s in the afternoon, but feel that if they don’t get on that 5.30pm ferry, then they will be stuck in St George’s.
“We are trying to work with the ministry to get some express buses to go from St George’s straight to Dockyard.
“We are trying to start off with one at around 8.30pm or 9pm to allow our visitors to come and eat in St George’s or come on the last ferry and enjoy the evening in the town.”
Ms Francis added that, if successful, the corporation hoped to add express buses at weekends as well.
She said that new businesses had set up shop in St George’s and prime locations on Water Street are all now occupied.
She added that she hoped to see St George’s businesses open for longer after several shortened opening times during January and February.
She said: “We are trying to encourage them because we are a year-round destination. We do get quite a lot of visitors. We have a few Airbnbs in town and those people want to be able to have a great experience.”
Ms Francis said the corporation has new attractions in the pipeline to entertain visitors to the East End, including a range of tours, a new historical re-enactment and regular evening events.
She added: “I think the future of St George’s is going to be a bright one. It’s going to be a different normal than what it used to be.
“I see the hotel coming on board in a few years, all the additional room rentals within the town itself and St George’s Club transitioning into a hotel. We are also looking at the marina as an added bonus.
“The increased tourism arrivals, the ferries, the Norwegian Cruise Line tender, they have made a difference.
“Last year, it made a difference in the visitors who came through St George’s and when we have more visitors, we tend to have more locals as well.
“It has been quite pleasant because it has been a community effort — not just a St George’s community, but a Bermuda community effort.”
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