Edness: New airport unnecessary
A former United Bermuda Party minister has weighed in on the Bermuda Government's $250 million plan to build a new airport, claiming the project is unnecessary.
Quinton Edness, who retired from politics in 1998, said he had heard nothing yet from the country's leaders which persuaded him that the new facility was needed.
“I don't see why we need another airport terminal building,” said Mr Edness.
“I just don't see the necessity for that. We have an airport that's serving the country quite well. It hasn't been too long ago that we spent millions of dollars extending the departure lounge and dealing with the arrivals lounge.
“The airport works very well. No one has said to me what's wrong with our airport. I don't see the necessity of having to build the new airport, particularly when the country is in such debt.
“I just don't think with the condition that we are in, our economy, with the debt that we have piled up, that we have to have another building [costing] in excess of $200 million.”
Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, has cited rising maintenance costs at LF Wade International Airport and its vulnerability to storms as major arguments in favour of building a new terminal in a location less susceptible to hurricanes.
He said in August the project would be financed by a private-sector developer — meaning there would be no need for Government to add to its debt — who would then take over management of airport operations for a 30-year period.
The project, which Mr Richards has also said will provide economic stimulus and allow Bermuda to keep up with its competitors, is not expected to break ground before the second half of 2016.
Mr Edness is not the first person to criticise the development. The Progressive Labour Party has staunchly opposed the scheme, claiming it could mean job losses for Bermudians and lost revenue for the Island.