Hotel is the real thing, says Bascome
St George's MP Kenneth Bascome has reiterated his support for the proposed St Regis hotel in St George's, calling on the public to embrace the initiative.
And while the redevelopment of the St George's golf course may not be a part of the project's first phase, Mr Bascome expressed hope that interim measures could be taken to prevent the unused course from being an eyesore.
“It's something that will be discussed along the way. I will be speaking with the developer and others in the government to see if something can be done,” he said.
“It doesn't have to be pristine, but at least to clean the area. It's really unsightly now. It's really unsightly.
“My hope is that in the process, before we get to the fully fledged redevelopment, something is done to clean the area up.”
The MP noted that he had been given some assistance from the government to help clean the course property, hiring several people for the project. However, he said after two-and-a-half months of work their tools were “removed”.
“They took my bucket, my two weed eaters, my three wheelbarrows, my three pitch forks and my three shovels,” he said. “They didn't steal them, they took them because they were out in the open.
“I was trying to get nine holes playable. It wouldn't have been pristine, but it would have helped the St George's Club because a lot of their guests were irritated when the golf course was closed.”
Plans for the St Regis hotel project, submitted to planning on August 1 and available for viewing both at the Department of Planning website and offices, feature a 122-key hotel, a casino building and other amenities as part of the first phase of development, expected to take three years.
The main buildings are set to be located to the southwest of Barry Road, but the road itself would be moved further to the southwest so the hotel would stand between the beach and the diverted road.
Renovations to the St George's golf course would be part of the second phase of development, while later phases would include the construction of several residential condominium units.
Asked about the project, Mr Bascome said: “I have been very supportive all along. I understand there has been concern about reasonable access to the beach. I believe that we have crossed that hurdle.
“I believe that the opportunity is there, not only for St George's but for Bermuda.”
While some have expressed scepticism about the project, citing past promises of a hotel in the area that never came to fruition, Mr Bascome expressed confidence that this project would move forward.
“I believe that this particular developer is the real thing,” he said. “I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with him.
“I also had the opportunity under the former minister Shawn Crockwell, of whom I must give much praise to, and the team he was working with at the time. I think this is the real thing.
“I don't believe it will happen this year as they first must get planning permission. Understanding there is probably going to be some dissension, hopefully they will have their concerns addressed and early next year we will see something concrete taking place.”
The MP also said that he believed the America's Cup would provide the East End with an economic boost, and said that he was still fighting to reopen the St George's police station.
“I believe that with the added activity we are going to have in the next 16 months, we need a fully functioning police station in the town,” he said. “They can never convince me otherwise. It brings a sense of security to the community. The activity is over in St George's, not St David's. They talk about seven minutes, but with the bridge down to one lane ... that's a scenario I laid out before it happened. I'm not being an alarmist, I'm being a realist.”