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Building neglect

Yesterday’s story about the dismal state of the former HMS

Malabar buildings should be an embarrassment to the West End Development Corporation and Government.

If they were the only Government properties in such disrepair, it would be bad enough. But there are Government buildings from west to east in equally poor condition.

Malabar itself is a particularly serious problem, because it is, or was, a fine piece of architecture.

But there are others which have been allowed to deteriorate past the point of no return, purely through neglect.

The Admiralty House ballroom is one such example in Pembroke. Again, this is a fine piece of 19th Century military architecture, and all that is left of the Admiralty House complex. Now it will probably be lost forever.

Another example is Teucer House, near the WER Joell Tennis Stadium on Cedar Avenue. Once the home of Probation Services, it is now deteriorating badly and, no doubt, will soon be condemned.

These are all fine buildings, built to last. But soon it will be declared that the cost of restoring them is too high, and it is better to knock them down and start again.

There’s no need for that. A modicum, of maintenance would see them in fine condition today.

And even now, their restoration would be an excellent means of putting people to work in the middle of a recession. Instead, Bermudians are unemployed while these buildings are allowed to moulder.

A great deal has been said about the need for Government to move out of rented accommodation and into new, government-owned offices.

But Teucer House stands empty, as does Malabar, which would have made excellent offices for Wedco’s staff.

Similarly, Admiralty House was and could still be an excellent community centre for the people of West Pembroke and Spanish Point. But it too has been allowed to fall apart.

This is an indictment. Evidently, Bermuda would prefer to allow these important parts of the Island’s heritage to disappear when even now, a small investment would make them last for decades more.

But no one blinks an eye when millions of dollars are overspent on modern buildings, many of which only have a viable life of 25 or 30 years before they are outmoded and need to be torn down.

It makes no sense.

The old star of India in Dockyard

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Published November 23, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 23, 2011 at 8:59 am)

Building neglect

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