Railway Trail link a waste of money, say residents
As construction on the Bailey's Bay foot bridge begins in earnest, area residents have raised concerns over what they see as a waste of taxpayers' dollars.
The bridge is intended to create a new amenity by linking sections of the Railway Trail, and in December residents expressed concern the proposal would prove an eyesore, and reduce privacy for those who live next to the trail.
Beyond concerns about privacy and security, and a possible decrease in his land value, longtime Bailey's Bay landowner Evan Outerbridge questioned what portion of the cost will be shared by Government, and whether money should be spent on the project at all.
“Right now, with so many economic problems in Bermuda, and so many charities crying out for help, it just seems like a rather superficial and unnecessary thing to build,” said Mr Outerbridge. “It's going to be pretty expensive, and although they say this group is going to raise some money for it, I'm sure the Government is going to end up having to put money into it.”
Mr Outerbridge said Government informed him that a portion of the cost would be shared by the taxpayer, but as of press time Government had not responded to queries regarding what portion of the cost that would be.
“And then there's the long-term maintenance of it,” Mr Outerbridge noted. “I don't know who is going to do that. I don't think they [Government] should be putting any money into it at all because this Government got elected with the premise they were not going to spend any money at all unnecessarily.”
Mr Outerbridge questioned what necessity the foot bridge would serve.
“Simply linking the railway up doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be used more,” said Mr Outerbridge. “People use it now, and you can get on the railway at the gas station by Crawl and you can walk all the way down to Bailey's Bay.”
“It's not something that is urgent and I don't think it's actually going to create anything,” said one longtime resident in her 60s, who requested not to be named.
“They're thinking tourists will come but you know what, they will walk here because it's here, they're not going to come to Bermuda because it's here,” she said. “If you're a walker and you go places to walk, then you don't come for just one walk.”
She said that with little say in the matter, she's going to have to “make the best” of the situation, and hopes that by giving consideration to those working on the bridge's construction, consideration will be returned in kind.
“I admire in many respects what they're trying to do, in the bigger picture, and I dare say if I wasn't living here then I would have less concern against it.
“But it doesn't unfortunately take away the fact that there will be a walkway in a place where there wasn't one. The land, from my understanding, was originally bought by the Government of Bermuda at that time for a railway, and not a walkway, and perhaps it should have been rescinded to the landowners here a long time ago, given back or an option to buy it back.”
At the end of the day, she said, the dream of living on the waterfront with unobstructed, idyllic views is coming to an end.
“I've lived here in Bailey's Bay for quite a number of years, and it's been very lovely to be able to just walk through [my] gate and right down onto the water.
“You've just got to look at the pros and cons in either direction when you have something like this going on. It's not what I would choose, but I will try to make the most of it once it's there. I choose to stay here, and I have the option to say: ‘Right, this is not the place it was before' and leave.”