BEST: Long-term approach needed for AC35
The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) has called for the Island to take a long-term approach to the America's Cup.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, BEST applauded the announcement that Bermuda would host the 2017 America's Cup, and looked forward to the opportunities that it would bring the Island, along with the foreign capital and economic stimulus.
However the organisation called on Government, the West End Development Corporation (Wedco) and other developers to take a longer-view approach.
“Let us strive to achieve facilities of which everyone in Bermuda can be proud,” the statement said.
“It is only by being mindful of the longer-term implications from the outset that Bermuda can be left with sustainable solutions that achieve environmental, economic and social prosperity for the broadest segment of our community right through 2017 and far beyond.”
Economically, the statement said the Island must make sure it achieved the best possible value for money, and aim to develop in a way which will provide lasting economic use.
“We do not want to end up with derelict or underutilised developments in 2018 and beyond and we do not want the taxpayer to end up with a net loss from this event like San Francisco,” the organisation said. “We cannot afford this.”
The organisation also said the Island must make sure that the environmental impacts of any development projects are minimalised, even in light of the looming deadlines.
“Despite tight timelines, emphasis must be placed the environmental consequences of each development proposed and we must work together to come up with the plan that enables us to achieve suitable facilities for this world class event with as little environmental disruption as possible.
“For larger developments, thorough and reputable Environmental Impact Assessments will be critical.
“The breathtaking natural beauty of our Island and its harbours played a huge role in winning us this cup.
“We must be careful not to degrade this as we scramble to prepare for 2017.”
Regarding the social elements of the event, the organisation called for Bermuda's cultural heritage to be reflected in all developments and all segments of the population benefit.
“The jobs created and opportunities presented by this event are expected to be far-reaching and we must strive to ensure that the benefits, whether direct or indirect, reach all segments of our community,” the statement said.
“This is an event that may only happen once in our lifetimes.
“This is a chance to come together and to celebrate all that we, as Bermudians, can achieve when everyone, political parties and individuals alike, work together.
“This is a sentiment that will hopefully stay with us for many years to come.”