New farm produce storage centre proposed for Devonshire
A new agricultural produce storage centre to replace a century-old building has been proposed.
A planning application said that the proposed structure would be built next to the existing centre on Schools Drive, Devonshire, near CedarBridge Academy.
The application said the new building was a “critical component” of the island’s farming strategy.
The application added: “The centre provides critical services to commercial growers including cold storage of locally grown crops, banana ripening facilities, provision of flake ice, seeds, chemicals and packaging.
“It has been assessed that the current structure and support infrastructure needs to be replaced in order to ensure that crops are stored at optimal temperature so as to extend life and quality of the crops stored in the centre.
“At the onset of this project it was determined that it would not be feasible to refit the existing 100-plus-year-old building, asbestos roof and 30-year-old cooling systems.
“Further that there would be an unacceptable impact to commercial growing during the construction period.”
The application said that, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works, alternative sites had been looked for but with no success.
The application added: “In consultation with the Board of Agriculture, the investigation did consider private sector rentals of existing facilities, containerised refrigerated storage, temporary storage facilities and purchase of land for a new facility.
“The conclusion was that the existing location was optimal and the site could accommodate a replacement facility.”
The new building, if approved, would be built to the south of the existing structure so there would be no disruption of service during construction.
Plans showed several cold storage rooms, along with dry storage space, farming supply and seed repositories and office and reception areas.
The documents also showed an array of 144 rooftop solar panels for the building.
The application said: “Critical components of the design considered included loading and unloading of crops, storage capacity for crops and packaging, existing and future, chilling and other energy use, incorporation of renewable energy and back-up power provision, as well as water capture and storage.
“The resulting design has been determined to meet the current and future needs of local crop production.”
Planning documents highlighted that the Bermuda Farmers Association and the Board of Agriculture had backed the designs.