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Public asked to weigh in on future of Town Cut

People can have their say on future plans for Bermuda’s shipping channels at town hall meetings next month.Transport Minister Terry Lister has today announced that a series of public meetings will be held to share the findings of Government’s shipping channels report.He told a press conference today that the report titled ‘Study of Bermuda’s Shipping Channels to Accommodate Larger Cruise Ships’ includes the environmental concerns and cost of dredging.It has been reported that the report includes suggestions to double the size of Town Cut in St George’s at a cost of up to $70 million and widen Two Rock Passage at a cost of just under $60 million to allow larger cruise ships in Hamilton Harbour.But Mr Lister refused to confirm the report’s findings, instead he urged residents to find out more at the town hall meetings, which will be held on October 11, 12 and 13.Mr Lister said it was “extremely disappointing” that the report had already been leaked to the media as “the public discourse process has now been pre-empted”.He said: “The Ministry has honoured its commitment to ensure the process was inclusive but despite our best efforts others have chosen to betray the trust that was established.“To make an informed and well founded decision, it is important to gather the facts and data to evaluate the risks, impacts and opportunities, and this is the overarching objective of the study.“At this very early stage no decision has been made and there remains much work to be done on this subject.”Mr Lister added that everyone would have the chance to find out more about the report and ask questions at the town hall meetings.He said: “I encourage the public to come out to these meetings so that we can move forward in a spirit of consultation and cooperation.”The Department of Marine & Ports started work on the study in January and a draft copy was shared with stakeholders last month to receive their comments.Those who have given feedback include the Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation Services, Ministry of PublicWorks, the Corporations of Hamilton and St George’s, the National Trust and BEST.