Critics of the deal say the fight is not over yet – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Critics of the deal say the fight is not over yet

Rosewood could be managing Tucker's Point hotel within two months, if a Special Development Order granted to the property passes the Senate.The Royal Gazette: “I think it was a situation where the people who get it, get it and the people who opposed it also sort of got it. The Opposition wasn't as against it as we thought they might be.”

However, critics say the fight isn't over yet.

Early yesterday morning the House of Assembly passed the controversial SDO, which grants planning permission in principle to build private homes and an additional 70 hotel rooms on the 240-acre site.

MPs voted 21 to ten 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 claimed the success of the five-star resort was vital to the Island's future; however, UBP MPs claimed the hotel is close to insolvency and Government's move would effectively bail the resort out.

Environmentalists, such as the Bermuda National Trust, have argued the development would ruin large swathe of pristine land and “habitats of major significance” will be lost as a result of the development

Yesterday, the hotel's president, Ed Trippe, said they were pleased that many MPs understood the importance of the development.

He told

Mr Trippe has previously said the development would enable the hotel to pay off large loans to HSBC.

Opposition MP Trevor Moniz claimed on Monday night the loans totaled $150 million.

Mr Trippe said he has met with many concerned stakeholders and explained the importance of the development to the Island's only five-star hotel, which opened in 2009.

He added the SDO still has to pass the Senate before it would be granted. Once that happens Rosewood will come on board to manage the property.

Rosewood Hotels are an ultra-luxury hotel group that manages 21 exclusive properties around the world.

“We really excited for that,” he said. “It is not just about marketing, it is also about getting their reservations system in place so we can be connected to their offices in Houston and elsewhere in the US.

“It will be a big help before the summer season.”

Stuart Hayward. Of Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, said his group was obviously disappointed the SDO passed.

However, he said: “It's not over yet. It still has to pass the Senate. We were disappointed with the narrow arguments in the House of Assembly and we hope the senators will have a debate about the environmental impacts.”

His group is joining the Tucker's Town Historical Society to organize a walk through the hotel grounds on Sunday.

They hope the walk will show members of the public the impact of the development on one of the largest remaining undeveloped plots of land in Bermuda.

Denny Richardson, of the Tucker's Town Historical Society, said the development still had to meet several requirements before construction could begin.

“They still have to do the testing to see if the ground above the caves can support it,” he said. “There is still a lot they have to do to get planning permission.”

The walk will take place at 2pm on Sunday. Members of the public have been asked to park at the Government' Quarry field and walk to the hotel's parking lot.

The Senate is expected to debate the SDO within the next two weeks.

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Published March 02, 2011 at 9:11 am (Updated March 02, 2011 at 9:11 am)

Critics of the deal say the fight is not over yet

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