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Morgan’s Point clean-up is under discussion, says developer

The developers hoping to build a $2 billion tourist resort on Morgan's Point are in talks with Government about the clean-up of the land, they confirmed yesterday.

Craig Christensen, one of the directors of Southlands Ltd, spoke to

The Royal Gazette after Public Works Minister Derrick Burgess told MPs there was no money in the 2011-12 Budget for the $35 million clean-up. Mr Christensen said: “They are looking at alternate ways to do it.”

Asked whether the alternatives included private financing, he said: “At this stage, it's probably too early to disclose that but it shouldn't affect the development. We'll work something out. We are working with the Government as we speak.”

He said he could give no further update on the luxury development planned for the 240-acre brownfield site until the Morgan's Point Resort Act is approved by Parliament.

The bill, which will finalise the land swap of the former US Naval Annex for the Southlands property in Warwick, was tabled in the House of Assembly on December 13 and has been on the order paper ever since. “It would be a bit premature to discuss things until that's put forward, debated and, hopefully, passed,” said Mr Christensen. He added he could not confirm when the debate would take place.

Morgan's Point was left heavily polluted with asbestos, metals, petroleum products and other chemicals when the US military left the Island in 1995.

The peninsula, which straddles Southampton and Sandys, has been left to rot but Mr Christensen and his fellow Southlands Ltd directors Nelson Hunt and Brian Duperreault want to build two hotels, condos, beach villas, a golf course, a boat club, a retail plaza and fractional units there.

They signed a land swap agreement with Government in September, the same month then Premier Ewart Brown reiterated that Bermuda was in discussions with the US to see if it would assist in cleaning up Morgan's Point. Payment for the environmental remediation came up when US Attorney General Eric Holder visited the Island that month too.

He told a press conference Dr Brown had raised it with him “very forcefully”, adding: “I will take back to Washington the concerns that were expressed and our hope is that we can work our way through that issue.”

Dr Brown previously broached the subject in 2007 with Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel, former chairman of Congress's powerful Ways and Means committee, who has since been censured by the House of Representatives for ethics violations. On Wednesday, Deputy Premier Mr Burgess, during parliamentary debate on his Ministry's budget for the next financial year, described the Morgan's Point remediation as an “extremely high-profile capital works project”.

“Consultants retained by the Ministry completed the baseline environmental testing of the site and the remediation strategy in 2009,” he said.

“In 2010, a request for proposal for the works was issued and returned proposals for the remediation works were evaluated. This Ministry has identified the best value proposal, in terms of both the effectiveness of the clean-up and the associated costs. It is important to ensure that the clean-up operation leaves in place a safe legacy for this area of Bermuda for both the immediate and long-term future.”

He said the clean-up was “delayed whilst alternative funding sources are being explored”. The Public Works Minister added: “Sources of funding for the clean-up are being investigated with the proposed development in mind.”

Mr Burgess also told MPs: “Approximately 10,000 tonnes of the waste received at the Tynes Bay facility have been baled and are currently stored at Morgan's Point, while major refurbishment works to incineration stream number two are undertaken [at Tynes Bay]. “The bales will be returned to the Tynes Bay facility over a six-month period, commencing in the spring of 2011.”

l Useful website: www.bldc.com

One of the buildings at Morgan's Point that will need clearing up.

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Published March 15, 2011 at 10:16 am (Updated March 15, 2011 at 10:16 am)

Morgan’s Point clean-up is under discussion, says developer

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