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Southlands cleanups to begin

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The “unique treasure” of the Southlands Estate in Warwick is being readied for cleanups aimed at restoring the overgrown 37-acre site.

And the group Friends of Southlands is holding its first fundraiser this Friday to assist Government in preparing to turn Southlands into a national park.

Junior Environment Minister Alexis Swan said a round table meeting was being prepared to solicit ideas from the public.

Residents of Warwick South East will be informed of developments on a “step by step basis, as their input is vital”, Senator Swan added.

Members of the constituency are to get their own cleanup day to chip in for the restoration.

Southlands was the scene of furious controversy five years ago when developers Craig Christensen, Brian Duperreault and Nelson Hunt arranged to build a new resort there.

Ultimately, the developers agreed with Government to a swap, and were given the brownfield site of Morgan's Point, Southampton — thus preserving Southlands.

The rambling South Shore property's extensive gardens are heavily overgrown.

“The initial plans for the estate are to firstly begin a series of cleanups that will help to clear the overgrowth and reveal the natural quarry gardens, along with clear pathways for members of the public to walk,” Sen Swan told The Royal Gazette.

“These cleanups will also reveal plants, such as rose bushes and other unique endemic plants.”

The cleanups will be public, and their schedules posted on the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) website.

No set plans are in place for the site, which former Government Conservation Officer David Wingate suggested should be converted into a new home for the Botanical Gardens.

Sen Swan said: “We would firstly begin a public consolation as a way of being transparent and to involve public feedback. This will be done with a series of town halls and open discussions with members of the public. The Ministry of Environment will produce the final plans once public consultation has been reviewed and assessed.”

According to the Department of Parks, options for Southlands will be put to the public for consideration, with a cost analysis for each.

The preferred option will go before the National Parks Commission, and then before Cabinet for approval.

Sen Swan called on the community to support Friday's international wine and cheese tasting ­at Waterville, the National Trust Headquarters — and to come with ideas.

Prizes include travel vouchers, spa treatment and complimentary wine. Tickets, at $75 for general admission and $125 for patrons, are available at Orchid Nail Spa, by calling Kuni Frith-Black of Friends of Southlands at 238-1227, or by e-mailing aswan@oba.bm.

Time to improve: Cleanups of the overgrown Southlands parkland are to begin this Friday.
Alexis Swan

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Published October 14, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 14, 2013 at 1:38 am)

Southlands cleanups to begin

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