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Save the reflecting pool

This letter was sent to John Harvey, Deputy Mayor, Corporation of Hamilton, and copied to

The Royal Gazette.DAVID W COX BLA Hons. CMLI, ASLA

March 12, 2012

Dear Mr Harvey,

I was surprised to hear about the Corporation of Hamilton’s plans to remove the reflection pool in front of Hamilton’s City Hall. I would like to share a few thoughts that might be considered before bulldozers arrive. The reflection pool is a familiar landmark in the city that provides an attractive and appropriate setting for the City Hall. It is an integrated part of the site, and its removal will compromise the aesthetics and the integrity of the City Hall. It will also impact the surrounding urban fabric, Island-wide social affiliations and our heritage negatively. The reflection pool in front of Hamilton’s City Hall is presently a valued asset in the city which has a positive influence on city life and the city’s image. As the city is increasingly under international pressure to be more competitive in attracting business and tourists, such assets should be preserved as a priority to convey the enduring reputation and competitiveness of Bermuda’s Capital.

While our current economy makes operating methods and budgets challenging everywhere, we must be vigilant in preserving our assets for long term benefits. The vision for Hamilton should build on its assets and move towards making life and the image of Hamilton more amenable to people. Budgets should target areas that need improvement rather than places that already have value and pride in the community. It is noted that an alternative of lawn or flower beds will incur similar running costs for their twice weekly mowing and/or seasonal replacement. This sends a message of unsustainable practice including the excessive use of gasoline, chemicals, insecticides, etc. Outdated budgetary emphasis on vehicular priority and marginalising the value of public space is resulting in an increasingly unattractive place to conduct business.

Consequently businesses and tourism is failing because of public space that does not meet the needs of modern society. Reverting to the original fish pond is economical, sustainable, more dignified and respectful of our culture and memories (and a disincentive to vagrants!). As recently as this weekend we have witnessed the UK “Independent’s” travel writer Simon Calder photographing and commenting on the reflection pool and City Hall. The City Hall including the reflecting pool are a destination within the city which locals recommend to visitors, guest workers, to our own families and, of course, to journalists and reporters with international influence. Facilitating the erosion of our Country’s assets is short-sighted. There are proven economic benefits in well managed public space and in the preservation of our heritage. Preserving the reflection pool in front of Hamilton’s City Hall will send a clear message that City Hall officials understand residents and businesses in the city, their own longevity, and that they want to serve the interests of all Bermudians


The City Hall fountain on Nellies Walk is slated to be filled in. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published March 19, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 19, 2012 at 9:31 am)

Save the reflecting pool

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