Plan to use national park as sail training base
A sail training organisation has asked for permission to set up operations at a Government-owned park.
USail said it wanted to build a storage shed and portable toilets at Harrington Sound Park in Hamilton Parish, which it planned to use as a base for sailing in the sound.
The application proposed an 8ft by 20ft storage shed close to the park’s eastern edge and two free-standing portable toilets which would be serviced by USail.
The storage shed would also include a water catchment, with rainwater stored in tanks behind the building.
A planning application, submitted last month by Adwick Planning on behalf of the non=profit USail, said: “The company has a specific focus on bringing sailing back to Harrington Sound.
“Harrington Sound has historically been used as a safe and protected sailing training location by Bermuda's best sailors.
“USail aims to once again bring back the sailing tradition to this enclosed body of water. Harrington Sound Park provides an ideal base to achieve this objective.“
The application said the group had earlier used the park to launch dinghies and had stored the boats on the opposite side of Harrington Sound Road.
The applicants wrote: “Unfortunately, the company did not realise that planning permission was required for the dinghy storage operation and, on being informed of this, that activity was discontinued.
“In order to overcome the difficulties that were previously experienced the company now proposes to establish its operation wholly within the boundaries of Harrington Sound Park, with the permission of the National Parks Commission.
“The intention will be to have a low key, low impact operation in the Park – Harrington Sound Park is an ‘amenity’ park and the activities proposed by USail will be complementary to the educational, social and recreational purposes of the park.”
The application added: “Some removal of invasive plant species is likely to be required to accommodate the sailing centre infrastructure but replacement planting using native and endemic species will be undertaken which will enhance the vegetation quality of the park and improve the screening of the facility.
“The proximity of the sailing centre to the eastern boundary will have little or no impact on the adjoining property which is densely vegetated and zoned coastal reserve.”
The application attracted a single objection from The Best Settlement, which highlighted what it claimed was a lack of “critical information” about the proposal.
The objection letter, submitted by CTX Design Group, said: “Notwithstanding the obvious aesthetic concerns, our client has strong objection to the principle of using this park for the location of an 8ft by 20ft shipping container, some portaloos and above ground water storage tanks, but without any drawings detailing the location, appearance and massing, it is impossible to provide a thoughtful and reasoned position.
“A search of the online submission shows no drawings detailing any of the critical information needed for a thorough assessment and we posit that the submission should have never been registered as an application without this important detail.
“Further, the authorisation letter is signed by the applicant, not the landowner, and without this critical consent, should not be permitted to be processed through the planning system.”
The objection added that the applicant said the National Parks Commission had backed the plan, but no evidence was included in the online submission.