Government to scrutinise affordability of new parks HQ plan
Plans to build a new headquarters for the Department of Parks still face scrutiny over whether or not the project is affordable, the Government said.
Architectural design firms were invited earlier this year to submit proposals to design a new building for the Ministry of Public Works in place of its current location, at Global House, on Church Street.
But a spokesman for the public works ministry said that circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic had forced the Government to consider whether or not the project was feasible.
He said: “At this time we are still in the planning phase. However, In light of Covid-19 and the monumental challenges it has presented Bermuda and the world, this Government continues to scrutinise all financial decisions.
“As such, the construction of this facility and the cost will depend on many factors, including the request for proposal process results, the economic challenges facing our country and any other more pressing matters that may arise.”
The spokesman added: “The Government recognises the importance this project would have for our country.
“It would require hiring multiple contractors, resulting in many Bermudians securing employment, putting food on the table and stimulating our economy.
“Should this project proceed, the Ministry of Public Works will immediately inform the public.”
The ministry spokesman was speaking after the Government issued an RFP for the project last month.
Firms were asked to design a headquarters and maintenance yard on Marsh Folly Road, Pembroke, that was “aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective, secure and sustainable”.
The space is expected to take up about 8,000 square feet of space and include features such as renewable energy sources and about 2,400 square footage for heavy truck parking.
The site, which will be close to the Department of Works and Engineering waste management depot, is also expected to have “adequate material and storage space”.
The crew space is planned to have a paint shop and carpentry shop, as well as staff washroom facilities that include showers.
A firm was expected to be chosen and contracted by April 16, but this timeline is expected to change depending on whether or not the plan goes ahead and how long this deliberation would take.
The Government attempted to build a new headquarters for the Department of Parks in Botanical Gardens in 2014, but received pushback from members of the public who feared the project would have a negative impact on the surrounding garden.
Advocates against the project formed the group Take Back Our Park and submitted a petition in 2015 to end the construction work.
Then Chief Justice Ian Kawaley eventually ruled in a civil case that work on the site breached the Bermuda National Parks Act and the plan was scrapped.