Minister welcomes passing of revised Tucker's Point SDO
A revised Tucker's Point Special Development Order was this afternoon passed by MPs.
The majority of Members of Parliament voted in favour of the scaled back development for the five-star hotel.
The vote was 18 in favour and seven against, with a numbers of MPs absent for this afternoon's vote.
Since it was first announced in February, the SDO has been controversial.
The property's president said the development was vital to the hotel's financial stability and one of the main reasons luxury hotel managers Rosewood was coming on board.
However environmentalists argued it would be detrimental to Bermuda's future as it meant developing one of the last pristine areas on the Island and building on top of caves of global importance.
Opposition MPs also argued they did not have enough information, such as Tucker's Point financial statements, to make a decision.
It was initially passed in the House of Assembly but Government decided to rise and report on the matter two weeks ago in the Senate before a vote could take place.
The SDO was then scaled back, removing areas of development.
On Friday Senators voted on the amended SDO, seven were for development while four were against.
Today it went before the House of Assembly again.
This morning Minister of Environment Walter Roban told the House: “This Government has not only heard, but listened.”
He said the amendments may not please everyone but they strike the balance between protecting the environment and ensuring economic prosperity for Bermuda.
The amended SDO removes the development from Quarry Hill, considered the most environmentally important section of the Castle Harbour property. It also removes some of the development on Paynter's Hill and Whitecrest Hill.
The hotel will also be donating 41 acres to Government.
Mr Roban said: "It is true that the hotel had been identified for Quarry Hill but the developer had always indicated that was for future development.
"The investors, including Rosewood, still believe it is important, however they will return at the proper time with the appropriate plans and go through the normal planning procedures."
The SDO grants planning permission in principle. Minister Patrice Minors said Rosewood was still on board to manage the property despite the reduction in proposed hotel rooms.
Tonight the Ministry of Environment released a statement.
It said: "The Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy would like to formally announce that the Tucker's Point Special Development Order (SDO) was passed in the House of Assembly today.
"After being approved by the Senate on Friday March 25 by a vote of 'seven in favour, four against', it was approved by the House this afternoon by a vote of '18 in favour and seven against'.
"The Ministry would also like to clarify that the Tucker's Point SDO does not automatically approve development at the site.
"The SDO simply removes restrictions on the land imposed by the current zonings and thus permit the Developer's plans to be considered by the Development Applications Board (DAB).
"However, Final Approval for Development would only be granted if the Developer satisfies the DAB that stringent conditions as outlined in the Order have been met.
"Several changes were made to the approved version of the Tucker's Point SDO following concerns expressed by Senators when it went to the Senate the first time on Friday March 18.
"In the revised draft, the total amount of land donated to the Government for Conservation purposes equates to approximately 41.12 acres, which is about 20 per cent of the land which belongs to the Tucker's Point Group of Companies.
"The total development area removed from the previous draft SDO is 18.421 acres."
Environment Minister Walter Roban added: “During proceedings in the Senate on March 18, the desire was expressed that the Government pause, reflect on the concerns raised, and return with a compromise that addressed those concerns and issues.
"We immediately set out to continue consultations, to listen to the voices of the people and to address the concerns raised before returning with a proposal that could be supported.
“From the outset, this Government has endeavoured to demonstrate by its very actions that it wishes to conduct itself with a degree of openness that is perhaps unprecedented in Bermuda.
"I am pleased that the public took full advantage of the opportunity that this Government enabled for full and open public debate on the merits of the Order. We are thrilled that such a robust debate occurred, for it stands as a highpoint of our island home's maturing democracy.
“We are confident that all involved understand the importance of enhancing our Tourism product and re-building that most critical pillar of our economy.”
Site 2: Paynters Hill
* The northernmost lot near the tennis courts designated as Lot 8 on the Paynter's Hill map accompanying the prior SDO would be removed from the Order.
* The southernmost lot designated at Lot 7 map accompanying the prior SDO would be removed from the Order.
* The land not to be developed on Paynter's Hill approximating 6.59 acres, would be donated to the Government, with a covenant with Government to protect the land in perpetuity.
Site 6: Harrington Sound waterfront
* Comprising 0.487 acres being the land used as a park, and the adjacent site, comprising 0.458 acres, totaling 0.945 acres, to be donated to Government to protect the land in perpetuity.
Site 9: Quarry Hill:
* This is removed from the SDO.
Site 11: Whitecrest Hill
* Development reduced to 45 development lots from 54 development lots.
* A donation of additional 7.44 acres, totaling a donation to Government with a covenant to protect the land in perpetuity, at Whitecrest, of 14.89 acres
* Whitecrest is already zoned Residential 2 and was subject to previous sub¬division permission from the Department of Planning enabling development of Whitecrest of 34.590 acres.