Mixed reaction to Hamilton waterfront plans from the public
There was mixed reaction on the streets of Hamilton yesterday to the ambitious development plans unveiled by the City of Hamilton for the Front Street waterfront development.
While most agreed that major development is desperately, there was scepticism as to whether or not the plans would ever get off the ground.
Only one woman, who did not give her name said she was totally against the plan at this point in time.
“It doesn’t need to happen, its unnecessary at this time,” she said. “I think the City of Hamilton has other infrastructure issues that they need to tackle before taking on the waterfront.
“I would much rather see the Hamilton Docks moved to the North Shore like the original proposal called for 15 years ago.
“And then I would like to see them clean up the east end of Hamilton before taking on such a major development.”
Retired resident Randall Bassett said: “I think its something that needs to happen, however, I feel they need to coordinate with Government. This is not something they can do by themselves.
“Every Bermudian should be involved and they should support it.
“He was also happy to hear that the proponents behind the scheme have adopted a policy of “open transparency at every step of the way”.
Said Mr Bassett: “I think they have a very good chance of having this project materialise.
“I also think having a casino included in the plans will make a difference and I think that’s something the people of Bermuda should decide on.
“I would like to see a referendum on the issue of gaming sooner as opposed to later,” he said.
Michael Markham was confident the plans will eventually take shape. “I think it will happen but not the way the drawings showed it where they had this monstrosity out in the harbour.
“But I believe that with the new Government led by Craig Cannonier, they will step in and work with the City of Hamilton to come up with a vision for the future,” he said.
“And I think it will happen without a casino, definitely without casinos. It will be wonderful for the people of Bermuda and I’m looking forward to the empowerment of a young black contractor to bring this to a state-of-the-art development.”
Another man who asked not to be named said he believed the “key is financing”.
“Until the cheque is actually written there will always be doubt,” he said.
“I think the main thing is that the development takes advantage of the great asset we have on Front Street by way of the waterfront property.
“I also think having a casino will make a difference as to whether or not this project will actually go through.”
Loren Wells, a manager at the Supermart said if it were up to him, the project would proceed as soon as possible.
“We have to be a first class destination but I believe they have to get their finances in order first.
“I’m sure with the new Government taking over from the old Government they’ve got a lot that they have to find out about this particular waterfront project.
“Until they do all of that they’re just going to have to take a little time because you have to walk before you run.
“Personally, I think that gambling or gaming is a viable option for a country the size of Bermuda to create new revenue.
“Unfortunately times have changed and its definitely going to need casino revenue, in my opinion, to boost Bermuda’s economy.”
On that note he said: “We should have the referendum on gaming like yesterday.”
Said Mr Wells: “If somebody wants to spend $300 million to create jobs here and they want a casino in their hotel, that might be something that we have to look at as a country.”
Another resident who asked not to be named said: “If it happens it’s going to revolutionise Bermuda’s economy.
“They’re scrapping term limits now and Bermuda needs foreign investment but if this development is definitely going to happen we need to who the people involved are.
“Whoever it is, if its going to create jobs for Bermudians, then by all means, lets get moving,” he said.
Wesley Robinson agreed but he was adamant that the City of Hamilton still desperately needs regular cruise ship calls by the smaller ships.
“Until we fix Two Rock Passage like Kenny Bascome wanted to do in St George’s we can’t get mega cruise ships in Hamilton Harbour, we can only take them to Dockyard.
“We still need to find smaller ships for Hamilton because they bring in revenue.
“All all we have on a regular basis on Front Street now is the container ships, and that’s down the other end,” said Mr Robinson.
“We need the smaller cruise ships back and a few more yachts like the one in port now, the Bermuda registered Eclipse. We still need to get smaller ships like the
Horizon back here on Front Street.
“And we’re going to have to bring in gaming, its called change, we need to have that referendum and get on with it.”