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Come clean on Fairmont Southampton, Mr Premier

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Fairmont Southampton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party government has put forward legislation suggesting more protection for the taxpayer than previous deals. A good headliner, but are the taxpayers in Southampton being considered?

There were discreet meetings held with the residents by Gencom; however, constituents left still feeling uneasy about the residential portion of the proposed Special Development Order, which would see the residential units number increased to 261.

I have waited patiently for David Burt, the Premier, to engage in heavy consultation with the surrounding residents. Despite the delays, ministerial changes and dates pushed back, there has still been very poor consultation with the people surrounding the Fairmont Southampton.

I have received mounting calls and e-mail messages from concerned constituents seeking clarity on exactly what this means for them.

Many are expressing concerns over traffic, the impact on their property values with scenic views being obscured by six-storey residential units, and worries about the vector-control issues being increased with commencement of construction. These are just a few issues raised by the people of Southampton East Central when I canvass.

My constituents are not alone in feeling this way. My colleague, Ben Smith, the One Bermuda Alliance Senate Leader and representative for Constituency 31 (Southampton West Central), has raised concerns about this project in the Upper House on behalf of his constituents.

To be clear, neither my colleagues, the constituents, nor myself are opposed to the renovation of the Fairmont Southampton. However, the need to keep the people of Bermuda up to date on a project that is so crucial to our economy is paramount. That is the first thing the Premier should have done, but he has not. I am hoping to see town hall meetings and open forums to discuss the residents’ issues and to show they have been considered by the Government and Gencom.

Show the people of Constituency 30 (Southampton East Central) that you are serious about revitalising tourism by consistently maintaining the railway trails, getting the rat/pest problem under control, properly policing the dumping of trash at the Southampton public access dock on Middle Road, and paving the roads! These are things that will show you are serious about providing a stellar tourism product and looking out for the people in the area.

I will listen carefully to the debates regarding the Fairmont Southampton, and hopefully I will hear a more rigorous consultation announced that will put the residents of Southampton at the forefront and provide more clarity about the proposed residential units.

The OBA welcomes investment and the rebirth of one of our signature hotels, but the people whom I represent must have their concerns heard and addressed.

Dwayne Robinson is the One Bermuda Alliance’s approved candidate for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)

• Dwayne Robinson is the One Bermuda Alliance’s approved candidate for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)

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Published March 25, 2023 at 8:03 am (Updated March 25, 2023 at 8:03 am)

Come clean on Fairmont Southampton, Mr Premier

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