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Charity warns of ‘piecemeal destruction of protected open spaces’

House being built into a cliff in the Shark Hole area (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Another charity has joined in objections to a development on land previously zoned as coastal reserve.

Janice Hetzel, president of the Bermuda Audubon Society, said in an opinion piece that further construction on formerly protected open spaces would come unless there was public outcry.

“Bermuda is an attractive tourist destination in large part because of our lush, natural beauty,” she said.

“Why would we ruin it with overdevelopment? Unfortunately, policymakers continue to be biased towards development at the expense of our fragile and unique environment.

“This is surprising given the concerted effort being made by Government to address climate change and other pressing environmental issues.”

Ms Hetzel said that Parliament is able to override planning policies with an Act or Order, and the minister responsible for planning can disregard recommendations of the planning department on appeal.

“Architects and landowners are aware of these biases, and many push the limits of what is allowed in their planning applications,” she said. “The result is the piecemeal destruction of our protected open spaces. This needs to stop.

“We need to ensure that moving forward a reasonable balance is achieved that truly recognises and respects the enormous value of the undeveloped spaces that remain.”

Ms Hetzel urged those who are unhappy to voice their concerns with their MPs and insist that policies intended to protect the environment are appropriately implemented.

The comments came after clearing work began on a plot near Shark Hole on Harrington Sound Road.

While the plot had been zoned as coastal reserve, the Tucker’s Point Special Development Order in 2011 re-zoned the land for residential use.

A planning application to erect a four-bedroom home on the site was approved last year by the Development Applications Board on the recommendation of a planning officer despite objections from the Bermuda Audubon Society among other environmental organisations.

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Published July 21, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated July 21, 2022 at 7:40 am)

Charity warns of ‘piecemeal destruction of protected open spaces’

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