Controversial Tucker’s Point SDO is passed
The controversial Rosewood Tucker's Point special development order was this morning passed, paving the way for the resort to start building new homes and an extra 70 hotel rooms.
After a near seven hour debate in the House of Assembly which finished just before 3am, MPs voted 21 to 10 to pass the draft SDO, which paves the way for development on land at Quarry Hill and Paynter's Hill in Hamilton Parish.
Environment Minister Walter Roban kicked off the debate claiming the success of the five-star resort was vital to the Island's future, and a succession of Progressive Labour Party MPs followed, all giving their backing to the first SDO to be debated in the House of Assembly.
The UBP claim Tucker's Point is close to insolvency and Government's move would effectively bail the resort out. The UBPs Trevor Moniz said he understood the resort had a debt of about $150 million.
The SDO means developers can build an additional 78 private homes and 70 hotel rooms on the 240-acre Tucker's Point site, subject to final approval from the Department of Planning and Development Applications Board.
Mr Roban told the House the failure of Tucker's Point would make it more difficult to attract investors in Bermuda's tourism product. He explained the potential effect on tourism posed “a considerable risk for our Country”, meaning an SDO would be in the nation's interest.
And he said environmental worries raised by BEST, the National Trust and Buy Back Bermuda would be mitigated as far as possible.
Veteran UBP MP John Barritt raised the suggestion the SDO might be irrelevant anyway, because Tucker's Point and the Mid Ocean Club has a covenant preventing any development in that area.
Mr Barritt said of the SDO: “Really what we are doing is getting Tucker's Point out of a financial hole, and the impression I get is that they're close to insolvency.
“If we have the money I'm sure we would like to bail out everybody who's in trouble, but I'm not sure this is the right approach.”