Candidates agree Olde Towne needs a boost
A revitalisation programme to boost St George is needed, both candidates for a vacant seat on the Olde Towne’s corporation have said.
Colin Campbell said that St George had “for some time now suffered the ill effects of recessionary blows and loss of revenue, from one source or another”.
He warned: “It’s hit its baseline now.”
Mr Campbell said that he was not sure that the town was prepared for the “five-star” expectations when the new St Regis Hotel opened.
He added: “That in itself is a wonderful springboard to revitalise, revive and otherwise bring a whole new spirit back into the town.”
Zindziswa Swan, the other candidate, said that the town had been hurt by business closures.
She added: “A lot of the places that were open when I was young aren’t open any more.
“I’ve heard that St George is becoming a ghost town, and I don’t like that.
“I want to breathe life back into it. I want to make St George as exciting as it was when I was younger.”
Mr Campbell, 62, and Ms Swan, 25, are standing for a residents’ councillor seat in St George.
The pair were the only two to put their names forward for the post left vacant after Lloyd Van Putten resigned.
Mr Campbell, an architect from Smith’s, said he stepped forward “to try and make a positive difference”.
He added: “I’ve got some unique skills that I think can right-size the town and bring clarity to where we need to go next, without losing the authenticity that is St George’s.”
Mr Campbell said there were young entrepreneurs who wanted to create experiences in St George.
He added: “Already the arts scene is very, very strong.
“That generally is a precursor for a revival. When artists find a place to live and work, the developers are soon to come. So I see it as an opportunity to invest in the town I love very much.”
Mr Campbell said that he wanted to “reintroduce” the town to Bermuda.
He added: “St George is a 100 per cent authentic 400-plus-year-old town.”
He said: “It’s still evolving, it’s still going. It’s not stuck in time.”
Mr Campbell added that he would like to see more local jobs created so residents did not have to commute to work elsewhere.
Ms Swan, an intern at AAA Law Company, said that she wanted to attract people back to the town.
The St George’s resident said she hoped to get ferry services to the East End to operate later into the day.
She explained: “If we had a later ferry, it would encourage people to stay later in the town.
“There would be more people spending their money.”
Ms Swan said she would also like to see a market night restarted to encourage businesses to stay open later.
The daughter of Progressive Labour Party St George’s West MP Kim Swan added that she had grown up around politics.
She said: “I know that the way to move forward is by knocking on doors and talking to people and asking the people in the town what they want.
Polling day in the election is tomorrow.
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