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Shelly Bay picnic area in honour of LaVerne Furbert

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Esme Williams takes in the view from a bench placed at Shelly Bay Beach in honour of the late LaVerne Furbert (Photograph supplied)
Esme Williams, left, and Cheryl-Ann Griffin rest on a bench placed at Shelly Bay Beach in honour of the late LaVerne Furbert (Photograph supplied)
LaVerne Furbert (File photograph)
A bench placed at Shelly Bay Beach in honour of the late LaVerne Furbert (Photograph supplied)
A bench placed at Shelly Bay Beach in honour of the late LaVerne Furbert (Photograph supplied)
Shelly Bay Beach (File photograph)

Government has granted permission for a picnic area to be developed at Shelly Bay Beach in honour of late political activist LaVerne Furbert.

Public Works gave the go ahead for an area near the old beach restaurant site to be levelled and fitted with picnic benches and a table. It is also hoped that trees and plants will eventually adorn the plot.

Some of the equipment has been funded by the Department of Parks along with by members of the Hamilton Parish community.

Esme Williams, a friend of Ms Furbert who died earlier this year, said that businesses and members of the community were keen to help out.

She said: "We had a lot of responses from the community – people appreciated LaVerne’s active voice in the community. She went all the way.

“She wanted the area to be for seniors, children and people with disabilities. We are still talking to government about making it accessible.”

Two benches are already at the site which is still to be completed.

One of the benches has an inscription about Ms Furbert, which says: “Relentless advocate of justice. Faithful to family and community”.

While another inscription references the Book of Ruth in the Bible. In recognition of Ms Furbert’s attributes of loyalty and commitment, it reads: “Where you go, I will go and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”

A presentation was due to take place this Wednesday at the site which has been named the Shelly Bay Sun and Sand Patio, with Ms Furbert’s friends and family in attendance but it has been postponed because of Covid-19.

Ms Furbert, along with Ms Williams, friend Cheryl-Ann Griffin and others in the local community, led a protest in 2016 against development plans for the area.

Their vision was to keep Shelly Bay Beach as a non-commercialised, family-oriented destination.

The campaign included an emphasis on improved access for both seniors and the physically challenged as well improved sanitary facilities.

Ms Griffin said: “LaVerne was an active advocate of maintaining an area of Shelly Bay Beach for the enjoyment of, in particular, the seniors and those with physical challenges, rather than having it turned into a commercial enterprise.”

More than 1,000 objections were sent to the Department of Planning against plans for a restaurant slated to be opened by Bermudian businessman Tom Steinhoff.

Protesters also opposed Bermuda Tourism Authority proposals to set up temporary concessions in old shipping containers at the beach.

The Ministry of Public Works did not provide comment by press time.

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Published March 29, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 29, 2021 at 6:17 pm)

Shelly Bay picnic area in honour of LaVerne Furbert

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