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Western Stars extend redevelopment plans to build new players’ pavilion

Representatives from Western Stars and Gorham's, along with Premier David Burt and David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, stand on St John's Field which is undergoing major redevelopment. The trees in the background is on Government owned land that will be used for an access road at Gorham's who are undertaking the cost of the redevelopment. (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Devarr Boyles, the Western Stars president, has revealed that the Pembroke club’s ambitious redevelopment plan now includes a completely new players’ pavilion as well as transforming its existing clubhouse into a wellness facility for the community.

“Our theme has changed. We are attempting to move to a wellness club and in principal we have done it already,” Boyles said.

“Before we used to have a bar, which was open every day like some of the other sports clubs. That model has passed Western Stars Sports Club. Ideally what we want to do is refurbish the old club so it becomes a gym and we can offer wellness programmes to the neighbouring companies in that area.

“We no longer need the changing rooms, the bar and all those areas in the club because we are not operating like that, so that whole footprint can be reconfigured to become a cardio and strength-training section with a physiotherapy corner in there. If we have those amenities, people in the community can use it and as a sports club we can too, so it is a win-win.

“We see it as the perfect opportunity to enhance everybody and wellness is the way we want to go with Bermuda’s high correlation with diabetes, high blood pressure and weight loss.”

Boyles said such a facility along with the adjacent field would be ideal to assist elderly people in the community.

“One of the main reasons why we are really moving to wellness is because of seniors,” he added. “Seniors in Bermuda have time but nothing is really designed for them in a sense that my grandfather goes to physical therapy in a building, but it’s always better when you can take him outside and walk on the grass.

“If a physical therapy company comes to operate out of that space they have a green top right there, and no physical therapy company in Bermuda has that so we see that as an asset. You look at all the people in the parish of Pembroke west and there is no physical therapy office.”

The project also involves the construction of a two-storey multi-purpose players’ pavilion on the eastern side of the Government-owned property set to begin in the new year.

It will house four changing rooms, two on each level, showers, a physiotherapy room, cricket scoreboard as well as a room for match officials, while the installation of a solar farm at the southern end of the ground will generate power and create revenue to help offset operational costs.

“Our intention is to to put a solar farm where the cricket nets used to because we are so close to Belco to get to the grid that way,” Boyles said. “We are trying to be as green as possible, so by generating energy we can cut the cost of operating.

“We are not going to have a battery system that collects and holds it so we can use the power. We are sending it back to the grid and those funds generated by the solar farm will be used for the maintenance of the field.”

Funding for the pavilion and solar farm is being raised in part by the club and the Roots Foundation. The project also includes the upgrading of the playing field, installation of floodlighting and an irrigation system to help maintain the field.

Government has approved a 99-year lease for a piece of land on the eastern side of the ground to support the club and under the agreement, Gorham’s Ltd would receive a lease for a 0.61 acre stretch of land next to the St John’s Road business to improve access for customers.

In exchange, the company has pledged to invest more than $550,000 in improvements to St John’s Field and the Western Stars Sports Club.

Work on the project begun in March 2021 and Boyles is happy with the progress being made on the field, which he hopes will be available by the end of next year.

“It’s shaping up pretty good,” he said.

“There are some things we still have to address on the field. The cricket wicket has to be raised a few inches. The football field has enough soil. It’s on the remaining area that used to flood on the Bakery Lane side, so we need to get more soil and I am sure government will provide that.

“The field has been raised considerably so the undertaking I am sure is probably more than Gorham’s bargained for. The field is as high as four and a half feet in some areas.”

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Published December 10, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated December 12, 2022 at 8:01 am)

Western Stars extend redevelopment plans to build new players’ pavilion

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