Botanical Gardens yard scrapped
A Government plan to build a maintenance yard at Botanical Gardens has been scrapped.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, confirmed the decision was made not to move forward with the controversial plan last August.
Colonel Burch said: “You might recall there was a court case prior to us coming into government.
“People objected to it, and so there was a requirement to make a decision by sometime in August last year.
“When the date came, I decided that we would not proceed with building that facility.”
Colonel Burch said he made the decision in an effort to improve efficiency in his ministry.
He said: “I came into this job with the belief that we have to look at Bermuda as what it is. We are 21 square miles.
“We cannot have separate entities for every aspect in government, so when I first came in, I went to the quarry and asked if they were capable of fixing a parks truck if it has a blue label on the outside of it, and they said yes.”
He added: “We are headed in that direction, not just in relation to maintenance, but across the board.
“The approach of this ministry is that we are looking at how we can reduce our expenses and the duplication of efforts.”
Take Back Our Park, a campaign group launched in protest against the project, said they were relieved the Government had abandoned the “inappropriate and ill-conceived project”.
A spokesman said: “We were aware that the Supreme Court ruled, in a private civil case, that the project did not comply with the National Parks Act and we are thankful that the Government was held to account and had to comply with that Act.
“While we agree that parks maintenance staff deserve to have modern facilities in which to work, any new facility should not be in one of our most important parks and tourist destination.”
The group questioned why the public had not been notified of the decision sooner, and if there was any plan for the site — specifically the water tower already erected on the property.
The Government had sought to install a new maintenance yard at the site, replacing one which was damaged by Hurricane Fabian.
Members of the public expressed concern about the nature of the project given its location in the heart of a national park.
An online petition against the project garnered about 3,800 signatures.
Construction was halted in 2015 after a legal action against the project was launched by neighbours.