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St George to be 'world class' hub for yachts

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, speaks about new projects for St George’s at a press conference (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The regeneration of St George is expected to turn it into a world-class yachting centre, the Minister of Public Works said today.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said that rebuilding Bermuda must include the renewal of the East End because it was the island’s “historical anchor”.

Colonel Burch said: “Going forward, the Ministry of Public Works will harness the recently passed superyacht legislation to present a Bill to support the construction of a marina in the Town of St George.

“The marina will be a catalyst for the transformation of St George’s into a world-renowned yachting destination.

“Development of the marina will also have the benefit of providing much needed economic stimulation and community pride in the Olde Towne.

“In addition to this, I will introduce legislation to grant a leasehold interest in the St George’s Club to the developers of the St Regis Hotel and advance legislation to bring about municipal reform for the corporations of Hamilton and St George.

“The opening of the St Regis Hotel, St George’s golf course and the spa combined with a world-class marina will give St George’s the advantage and unique ability to provide excellent amenities needed to cater to high net-worth clients.”

Colonel Burch said that the St Regis Hotel, if the leasehold legislation passed, would take over the operation of the St George’s Club “and turn it into a teaching hotel”.

He added that talks were being held over the future of the Corporations of St George and Hamilton.

An Act designed to axe the corporations of Hamilton and St George and turn them into unelected quangos was rejected by the Senate in March 2019.

Members of the Upper House raised concerns at the time about representation and the level of public support for the change.

Separate legislation for St George was also expected to be drafted.

Colonel Burch said that talks were taking place to determine the details of changes to how the city and Olde Towne would be run.

He added: “We’ve not yet finalised in what form that will come.

“It will either be the Bill that was tabled and not passed or something other.”

The minister added: “All the concerns will be addressed.

“I’m not so sure that the municipalities … will take that view, but that will be our view, that they will have been addressed.”

He added that a revised capital development plan was being created to set out “targeted project expenditure” using part of the proceeds of Government’s recent debt raise to keep Bermudians employed while the economy recovered.

Colonel Burch said: “Focusing on construction projects has developed an initial Government capital expenditure stimulus plan of just over $11 million.

“There are 43 projects in this stimulus plan thus far with a number slated to begin imminently.”

He added that the first was announced in the House of Assembly last Friday.

MPs heard that a $2.9 million contract was awarded to a Bermudian company to install solar panels on the roofs of four Government buildings.

The panels are expected to save the taxpayer $500,000 a year in energy costs.

Colonel Burch said that the list of capital projects covered the “entire island”.

He added: “We are looking at coming up with a means of being able to approve them that’s slightly different then the normal sort of tendering process so that we can get them up and running quicker than we would otherwise.”

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Published November 16, 2020 at 3:53 pm (Updated November 16, 2020 at 5:46 pm)

St George to be 'world class' hub for yachts

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