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Cross Island ideas swell to over 300

An “astonishing” number of ideas — more than 300 — have been submitted regarding how to use nine acres of reclaimed land at the Royal Naval Dockyard, which will initially be for the America's Cup Village.

“[It] was astonishing given that we only had a handful of weeks to publicise this,” said Wayne Caines, chairman of the Cross Island Legacy Committee.

“I said at the start that I wanted 150 ideas, so to double that is fantastic and shows there are a lot of people out there who were keen to be part of creating a legacy for the benefit of future generations.”

The committee's next step will be to examine each idea and score them against a series of objectives before making recommendations to Wedco.

A committee statement outlined their objectives:

• Economic: provides economic benefits to Bermuda

• Environmental: that it is sensitive to the environment, surrounding historical significance, and marine habitats

• Financial: that it delivers a good Return on Investment for Bermuda; whether it is financially viable

• Social/cultural: whether it is connected to Bermuda's heritage and culture and provides social benefits to Bermuda

• Structural: is a good fit for the location, physical site and exposure to weather and elements?

“Once we have made our recommendations, Wedco will take up the task of finding an end use, or uses,” Mr Caines said. “I am very confident that the Wedco board is totally committed to carrying out an RFP process that is both transparent and inclusive.”

The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce has applauded the committee for its “outstanding” efforts.

“We are also appreciative of the committee for recognising and responding to our concerns, raised at an earlier public consultation, for the need of an environmentalist presence and viewpoint on the committee,” the group said.

“Since then the committee has been joined by a representative of Greenrock. We welcome this development. We believe Greenrock's representation will ensure an environmentalist voice is included in the committee's deliberations.

“This appointment allows BEST to continue in its role as an external and independent watchdog on this project.”

However, the group said a number of issues had to be considered.

“There is a general lack of open space in Bermuda and it is BEST's position that up to 40 per cent of Bermuda should ideally be reserved for green open space,” a statement added.

“This is vitally important for the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of our people, and this should be reflected in the development here.

“The area immediately to the south of Cross Island is one of the most productive marine areas on the island. Consequently, any development on Cross Island, now or in the future, must avoid any leakage that could harm that environment. With that in mind, any development of the site, temporary or permanent, should be subject to a credible Environmental Impact Assessment, as well as a Sustainability Impact Assessment.

“It is important that a clear picture of the carrying capacity of Dockyard for visitors and locals be determined, especially in light of perhaps under­utilised carrying capacity in St George's and Hamilton to cater to visitors and tourists.

“The impact of any development in Dockyard on related infrastructure and resources such as transport, waste management and energy needs to be determined, along with the impact of any development on the Somerset Economic Empowerment Zone.

“We are aware of past plans for developments of the Victualling Yard in Dockyard and it is important that the plans for this site, and Dockyard as a whole, be made available by Wedco to help better inform the decision-making for the Cross Island site.

“Any such development should be either zero carbon or as low carbon as possible (in terms of greenhouse gas emissions).

“The potential development of Cross Island, and nearshore development throughout Bermuda, needs to be done in a sustainable manner to avoid a cycle of boom and bust and over­ (or wasted­) development.

“To this end, it would be useful that the Government complete the comprehensive nearshore zoning plan for the Bermuda platform.”

The reclaimed land which will house the America's Cup Village (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 04, 2016 at 2:55 pm (Updated August 05, 2016 at 8:19 am)

Cross Island ideas swell to over 300

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