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Shark Hole house owner and architect say all rules followed

A house is being built into a cliff in the Shark Hole on Harrington Sound Road (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The architectural company behind a controversial development at Shark Hole – halted pending the outcome of an investigation – claims it has followed all necessary criteria.

Georgia Benevides, of Benevides and Associates Architects, said because of concerns raised about the project, the firm had agreed to produce an excavation management plan.

Ms Benevides said: “We have a building permit and are following all the guidelines set out for such a sensitive lot. I was the architect on the home next door and understand all the criteria.

“Due to concern from the public we have agreed to produce an excavation management plan and are waiting on this to be completed to continue.

“Again, we do have a building permit and have done everything required of us by the Department of Planning, which is why we were granted the building permit.

“The permit number has been displayed on site since the beginning.”

A “stop work” order was signed at the site on July 22 owing to specific criteria under the Building Act 1988 23B (2) not being met, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Government has not yet outlined what criteria have not been met, but did confirm last night that the order remained in place.

The project has angered environmental groups, which believe the development, on what was formerly a coastal reserve, amounted to the “desecration of Bermuda’s green spaces”.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources was asked by the Bermuda Audubon Society on July 11 if an excavation management plan and construction environmental management plan for the site had been received and approved as well as plans for the swimming pool back wash and septic tank.

The Shark Hole site was rezoned as residential through the Tucker’s Point special development order more than ten years ago.

Before the granting of the 2011 SDO, the land was given additional protection as a cave and water resources protection area.

While no caves were identified in an initial geophysical report, the planning department said work would discontinue if any were discovered.

Concerns were recently shared with the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce and the Bermuda National Trust during excavation when pictures emerged showing evidence of a “void or cave” at the site.

Concerns were also raised about the endemic Bermuda snowberry on the site.

Ms Benevides added: “We have encountered no caves and the snowberry is protected away from excavation.“

One of the owners of the site, Gillian Pincher, said all involved in the project cared for Bermuda and its environment.

Ms Pincher, along with Bernard Yanovich, submitted plans to develop a four-bedroom house on the cliff edge of Harrington Sound, Hamilton Parish, last year.

Ms Pincher told The Royal Gazette: “Everyone involved in this project cares very much for Bermuda and its very unique environment.

“We have, at all times, done everything asked of us to comply with the relevant rules and regulations and will continue to do so.

“We have been issued a building permit and the building permit number is displayed on site.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said on confirming the work stop order earlier this month: “The Ministry of Home Affairs can confirm that a stop order was signed on 22 July 2022 due to specific criteria under the Building Act 1988 23B (2) not being met.

“Following this, work stopped when the owner, agent and contractor were aware of the notice. Should any failures in meeting any criteria be identified, the Development and Planning Act and the Building Act have many actions that may be taken. However, as the site is still under active investigation, no decisions have been made.

“Following the investigation, work may resume once the issuing authority lifts the stop work notice.“

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Published August 19, 2022 at 8:06 am (Updated August 19, 2022 at 3:25 pm)

Shark Hole house owner and architect say all rules followed

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