Colonel Burch on Shelly Bay
House: All eyes on Shelly Bay project
Shelly Bay Beach users will have the chance to sample food and learn about rental services that could be offered if plans for development go ahead.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, revealed a demonstration event will take place next month at the beach, where a former concession structure was knocked down last year.
Colonel Burch said opinions on what should happen next at the beach “are as varied as the day is long”.
He told the House of Assembly on Friday: “I have heard from some who would like to see a new building erected where the old structure once stood ... and I’ve heard from just as many who enjoy the open space the demolition created along the North Shore.”
The Bermuda Tourism Authority presented plans for the site as part of its 2016 Beach Economy Vision, which was designed to create jobs for Bermudians, increase visitor spending and improve the experience for everyone who used the beaches.
But the plans for Shelly Bay sparked controversy among some Hamilton Parish residents.
Some said the beach was too small for the BTA proposals, which would see recycled shipping containers used as temporary concessions.
Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly: “They would house relatively simple offerings that are non-disruptive to the traditional picnicking culture at Shelly Bay.
“This plan is a temporary measure that fits somewhere neatly between those who want to see a structure return and those who want to see nothing at all.”
He said the BTA this week completed interviews with all applicants that responded to a request for proposals.
Colonel Burch added that Ashley’s Lemonade, Simple Café — “a beachside deli-café idea”, Smokin’ Barrel food truck and Tarzan Boats, “an adventurous water experience” and beach equipment rentals from a local youth football coach had all expressed an interest.
He said: “The shortlist of applicants I just mentioned are operating under the assumption that their main customer base will be current users of the beach — namely families.
“They will gear their offerings to Bermudian families. It will be critical to their success.”
Colonel Burch added: “All the applicants I just mentioned have agreed to be on-hand to demonstrate their business ideas and earn buy-in from the community.
“This will take place Thursday. August 9 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Shelly Bay Park.
“Those aiming to provide food and beverage services will have samples for the public and those who are providing a service or experience will do their best to show all of us how their set-up is designed to work.
“Additionally, we will mark out with tape the proposed location of the containers.
“Feedback will be taken on the spot or e-mailed later.”
He said: “This is a critical juncture in this consultative process. I look forward to a conclusion that helps improve the beach experience for everyone, while at the same time providing economic opportunity for our people.”
Ashley Stephens, 15, of Ashley’s Lemonade, said the chance to operate on a public beach in Bermuda was one of her dreams.
She added: “It’s on my vision board.”
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