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Groups oppose Bermudiana Beach funicular plans

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Bermudiana Beach Resort (Photograph provided)

Plans to install a funicular at the Bermudiana Beach Resort have sparked objections from environmental groups.

Both the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society have filed objections to the scheme.

The BNT said the project went against the Bermuda Plan 2018, which has just been approved in the House of Assembly.

The trust said in an objection letter dated June 10: “Development of any kind on our coasts will be subjected to the worst of weather and is likely to succumb to the increased hurricanes and harsh weather associated with the anticipated effects of climate change.

“The Bermuda Plan 2018 acknowledges ‘global climate change will mean that Bermuda's coastline is increasingly at risk from wave energy, storm surge, flooding and erosion’.

“This 2018 Plan makes clear its objectives are focused on ‘minimising development within these areas and maintaining their open, natural state’ but this development is large, within coastal reserve and is certain to negatively impact the ‘natural, historic and scenic features and qualities of Bermuda's coastal areas’.”

The BNT also said that the funicular would be exposed to extreme weather conditions and could be left a “rusting eyesore” if it breaks down.

While the BNT called for the application to be refused, they added that if it is approved they hope a decommissioning plan for the funicular will be required.

The charity also raised concerns about how the installation of the funicular would affect the stability of the cliff face.

The objection letter said: “References to a need to stabilise the cliff indicates that some kind of survey may have been carried out, but we have not had access to it.”

The Bermuda Audubon Society voiced similar concerns about the funicular in an objection letter dated June 9.

The charity said: “This cliff is very exposed and has already been subject to significant erosion.

“The construction requires that part of the upper cliff be excavated to allow for an appropriate angle of the elevator structure. In addition, significant excavation will be required at the top for the two lift motor pits.

“We are very concerned that placing a funicular in this location would increase the instability of the cliff face and lead to further erosion. This risk needs to be fully assessed.”

BAS noted that the application also includes additional cliff stabilisation, but said not enough details were available about what would be done and what it would look like.

Environmental groups previously raised concerns about the cliff face on the property before and during the construction of the Grand Atlantic affordable housing project.

Developers behind the project maintained that studies had been carried out to ensure it was safe and that cliff stabilisation work had been carried out to protect against erosion.

While the Grand Atlantic project was unsuccessful, the Government announced plans to convert the property for tourism.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said in March that the Bermudiana Beach Resort was hoped to open in October.

An artists rendering of the Bermudiana Beach Resort, including the proposed funicular (File image)

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Published June 14, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated June 14, 2021 at 7:53 am)

Groups oppose Bermudiana Beach funicular plans

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