South Basin Marina plans get green light
Plans for the South Basin Marina that will form “a key part” of the America's Cup Event Village at the Royal Naval Dockyard have been approved by planning authorities, Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, has confirmed.
The application, submitted last December by South Basin Development and backed by the West End Development Corporation, proposes a reclamation of the South Basin — the hub of operations for the 2017 America's Cup — using sheet pile walls and infill. The project would also include a marina, offices and service area, along with parking, access roads and utilities.
“A Planning application for the project has already been submitted by the West End Development Corporation and approved by the Planning Board,” Minister Gibbons said. “Detailed engineering drawings for the infill site are currently being prepared and, in due course, the construction and land reclamation will be put out to tender, awarded and work will commence.”
According to the application, which was presented to the Cabinet and Parliament last August and was approved, ten acres of land will be reclaimed inside the southeastern corner of the existing breakwater, creating a gravel surfaced “island”. The fill area would cover the majority of Cross Island, but an existing building on the island will remain untouched.
On the fill area, the plan includes a boat yard with multiple dry storage racks, two parking areas, a marina office building, a building to house the Marine and Ports offices and a larger service building also earmarked for the department. The fill area will also include a dock specifically for tugs and ferries. The northern side of the breakwater would house a marina with 68 berths.
“The West End Development Corporation has had a long-term plan in place to reclaim some ten acres of land in the South Basin at Dockyard through a land infill project,” Minister Gibbons said. “The ten acre site will now form a key part of the America's Cup Event Village in 2017 and also provide additional space for team bases along with the South Basin dock currently being used by Oracle Team USA.”
The newly formed America's Cup Bermuda (ACBDA) is working closely with representatives from Public Works and Wedco to help move this project along, the Minister added.
The South Basin Marina project is linked to the North Channel Modification Project, which proposes widening the north channel to allow larger cruise ships to visit Dockyard.
“It is anticipated that dredged materials coming from the North Channel widening project will be used as part of the aggregate required for the South Basin infill,” Minister Gibbons said. “Government is currently finalising these dredging arrangements with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The Ministries involved include Public Works, Tourism Development and Transport, together with Finance. Once these contractual arrangements are finalised, it is anticipated that the channel widening contract will go out to tender, possibly before the end of April.
“The various operations surrounding this substantial project and preparations for the America's Cup site are running concurrently. We anticipate that the infill project and the event village will be ready in advance of the required use by the America's Cup teams and event organisers.”
As it stands, Bermuda will host the America's Cup World Series in October of this year as well as the America's Cup Challenger Playoffs and the America's Cup Match in 2017.