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Shelly Bay plans ‘not cast in stone’

In limbo: solid plans for Shelly Bay are still to be made

More than a year has passed since Government promised to look at ways to develop Shelly Bay to improve access for older people and the disabled.

Campaigners who put forward the plan, as an alternative to a Bermuda Tourism Authority proposal to house food and beach equipment and rental concessions in remodelled shipping containers at the Hamilton Parish beach, said they were confident work would be carried out in the near future.

The Ministry of Public Works, however, declined to comment on when the redevelopment was scheduled or if cash had been earmarked for the project.

Members of the pressure group, which included area residents Cheryl-Ann Griffin, Esme Williams and LaVerne Furbert, said earlier that it was their hope that the work would be completed in time for this year’s summer season.

Ms Williams said this week that the group would follow up with the minister regarding the status of the plans.

She added: “I am confident that the plans will go ahead and am hopeful that they will be included in the upcoming budget.”

The Government last August blocked the BTA plan, part of its Beach Economy Vision, after public consultation.

The public works ministry instead agreed to examine the campaigners’ proposal, which was backed by a petition with more than 1,000 signatures.

The ministry organised a meeting in April and outlined plans for a gazebo, water wheelchairs and removable non-slip mats that would run to the water’s edge, as well as improved access to the beach.

Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly and also an area resident, was on the panel at the April meeting along with Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, who said at the time that the plans were “not cast in stone”.

Mr Burgess also refused to comment on the development and said it was a question for the public works ministry.

The BTA hosted a taster event last August to allow potential concession operators to promote their businesses.

Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development at the time, said during the event that “we’re the ones that will make the final decision”.