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Botanical Gardens petition delivered to MP

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Left to right: Take Back Our Park spokesperson Jennifer Flood, TBOP member Sherry Chadwick and TBOP spokesperson Claire Smith.

Campaigners fighting to stop construction of a maintenance yard in Botanical Gardens have delivered a petition with 3,750 signatures to the Bermuda Government.

While Government has said the area has been used as a maintenance yard for yard since the 1960s with a minimal impact and that there were no other suitable sites, members of the public have objected to the proposal, describing it as an industrial site in the middle of a national park.

Work on the site was halted last year as a result of a temporary injunction, put in place by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley as part of a civil case against the project.

Jennifer Flood, a spokeswoman for campaign group Take Back Our Park, said: “A lot of people do not realise the magnitude of what Government is planning to put there. To give you an idea of the scale, the largest building will be ten feet higher than the water tank and the other will sit at the same height as the tank. People are already upset about the size of the water tank.”

Group member Claire Smith said the petition was formally delivered to the office of Craig Cannonier, the Minister of Public Works, after waiting unsuccessfully to deliver it to him in person.

Mrs Flood added: “TBOP has consistently opposed this development and we sympathise greatly with the parks staff, but the truth of the matter is their own management did nothing to resolve this situation for almost six years.

“It should be noted that it was actually nine years before the final plans were eventually submitted for approval. We are appalled that parks management have left these workers in unsuitable conditions for so many years when alternative locations could have been found.

“We are adamant that other sites are available that are far more suited to the industrial purposes being proposed at the Botanical Gardens. It makes no sense to put this large scale development in the centre of our most important park, especially when we are trying to revitalise both the park and tourism.

“The petition contains 3,750 names, or 10 per cent of the voting population, and Government should listen to that number of people and agree, regardless of the court case, to stop work now and turn it into gardens for use by members of the public.”

The three story water tower in the maintenance yard located in the Botanical Gardens