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Sailing academy idea put forward

“Significant opportunities” lie in store for a nine-acre island created at Dockyard for the America's Cup village after its six weeks of use are concluded.

The first of two public meetings soliciting feedback for its environmental impact assessment, held last night in the Anglican Cathedral, heard a strong argument in favour of putting a sailing academy on the site.

Multiple options are possible for the village after the 35th America's Cup concludes in June 2017, according to Christine Rickards, the senior land use planner for Bermuda Environmental Consulting, Ltd (BEC).

BEC is the agency carrying out the consultation for the assessment.

Mike Winfield, chief executive officer of the ACBDA, said that the West End Development Corporation had initially intended to convert the village site to a boatyard — an option that had later been taken off by the courts.

The meeting, attended by about 30 members of the public, heard that while the village would be the best spot to watch the races, there would be good viewing through Dockyard and from vantages such as Spanish Point.

“This America's Cup is focused on a different set of parameters,” Mr Winfield said. “One of the reasons Bermuda won the bid is because we bring a new experience.”

Rather than shuttling spectators from location to location as usually occurs at the event, crowds next year will have a good overview of all the different races from the main vantage.

Planners hope to make heavy use of water transport, as well as shuttles from peripheral parking sites. While private boats will not be able to congregate at the village, locations such as Mangrove Bay may be used.

The meetings are aimed at laying out the draft master plan for the America's Cup before it is submitted to the Department of Planning, but also to solicit feedback and comment.

A second meeting will be held at 6pm today in Dockyard, at Oracle Team USA's base off Freeport Drive.

Mike Winfield, CEO of America's Cup Bermuda speaks on the environmental impact of the America's Cup. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published January 27, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 27, 2016 at 1:18 am)

Sailing academy idea put forward

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