Regeneration of North Hamilton 40 years overdue
First, let me say it is good that the Government is looking at ways to develop North Hamilton and should be encouraged to do so. That this is 40 years overdue will have to be forgiven.
I tried to promote a vision of what North Hamilton should look like based on how it should have functioned within the overall context of the Bermuda economy and environment at that time. To date we have seen snips or iterations, with terms such as “Economic Development Zone”, but without a functional idea and purpose that drives or sustains the notion of an economic development Zone. The concept becomes arbitrary, a pseudo idea, much like a platitude.
Let me begin by saying October is too short as a deadline for submissions. October could be a good date to begin the discussions and compile interested parties in order to begin the proper dialogue. This is not like a tendering exercise to award a contract to a project that has already been properly designed.
When I was approaching this near 40 years ago, one of the major purposes was to be able to facilitate tens of thousands of new residents within the city with all the infrastructure, amenities and businesses to sustain an urban population. That approach would have revitalised every aspect of life in North Hamilton, including reduced crime. Then it was also an idea to lessen the demand to destroy the countryside to absorb what was an oncoming international business sector.
The capital for that development was there at the time and the energy of that sector would have created a "new back-a-town". OK, the wave has been spent and what remains is more or less what we had. So the question now is, what to do with it?
I would stick to my original thesis, but with the realisation that it will take more than just permits and zone changes to make it a viable proposition. Now we need a full-bodied, innovative approach to accomplish anywhere near the same.
There are two new components necessary: first, we need to preserve the indigenous or native Bermudian stock, which can be done through the United Nations in unison with all the indigenous populations of the planet. Which, from a practical and philosophical perspective, is just good for the entire planet to preserve indigenous cultures everywhere.
It is important to do this first because the next essential thing is to completely open our borders and control our immigration by some system that attracts persons of means. On another level, once you develop more high-net-worth persons with this new population, it will simultaneously increase demand for service and employment.
This should be a concomitant feature and near prerequisite for any real design that will be of economic impact. If we are to rebuild North Hamilton, we do so for what? Or for whom? Then what is going to be the characteristic of that area? We hear the terms considering the architecture and history of the area, but what does that mean to the idea of sustainability or development potential?
We can continue the cultural hints and nuances of the area by incorporating that into the new design features, but the success depends on the proposed purpose. I say so because there are those who will retreat to an old Victorian restoration with quaint cottages and restaurants with veranda and cobblestone streets. That may sound elegant and nice, but would be a death blow to any town that is starving for people — and not just a few hundred.
I am too old to get on the ground and squabble over the development of North Hamilton. It’s a battle I lost many decades ago, and I’m not going to call the names of the politicians on both sides of the aisle that fought it — which would be easy for me to verify.
I can only hope that some person in this newer generation can see the broad picture of what is needed and develops the currency to make it happen. I know the financial muscle will be there if approached properly. Just focus on how to get at least 10,000 people in North Hamilton and success is yours.