Bascome calls for action at Marginal Wharf
St George's North MP Kenneth Bascome is accusing the Bermuda Land Development Company of dragging its heels over developing Marginal Wharf — and warns that if work does not begin soon, America's Cup visitors will face an “eyesore”.
The quango's plans for the site have been going through “a difficult period” since the resignations of at least two BLDC board members, according to its chief executive officer Francis Mussenden.
Landowners opened up the area for development last September and the BLDC began looking for entrepreneurs to provide “innovative development proposals”.
Eight applicants were selected and have been asked to submit business plans to the BLDC in accordance with phase two of the expression of interest process.
Mr Mussenden told The Royal Gazette: “There was a difficult period over the past few months when the board hadn't been meeting, so it hadn't progressed.
“One or two board members stepped down and they were awaiting the appointment of additional board members. There probably won't be any change until late September — that will be when the board will meet again to address the matter.”
Craig Cannonier, Minister of Public Works and responsible for hiring members to the board, said: “The appointment of new board members has little to do with the length of time it's taken to get to this point. “The development of Marginal Wharf has many implicating factors for the surrounding areas — those being the city of St George's, the residents of St David's, and the airport.
“So whatever is done must take into consideration the need for an infrastructure that ties in with other areas and their plans. Working in a silo is not an option.”
OBA MP Mr Bascome, who has long described Marginal Wharf as a potential “gold mine”, said “St George's has lingered in the doldrums long enough”.
“The OBA has been in Government now for 2½ years but something concrete needs to be done with that particular piece of property,” he said.
“It is taking an extraordinary length of time. I would have expected that something concrete would have been determined by now. In Bermuda we have a tendency to prolong issues anyhow.
“The opportunity is there and if we start to do something now there is the possibility that it could be at least partially complete by the beginning of the America's Cup.
“There are probably some logistics that need to be looked upon but I believe you could choose a developer and do the fine tuning after the developer has been chosen.
“I continue to say that the opportunities are there for development and that could all form a part of the modifications to the town cut channel, the improvement to Penno's Wharf and Marginal Wharf.
“[This] is the opportunity for the community of St David's and St George's to share in the economic prosperity of the Island.”
Speaking about the rusting hull of the Niobe Corinthian that lies in the berth, Mr Bascome said: “Government needs to move that dilapidated boat and they can make an artificial reef out of it. That's the first thing.
“I look at it every morning and the Corinthian is an eyesore. Hopefully with the prospects of the America's Cup, St George's Harbour will be a mecca for yachtsmen who will come to Bermuda.”