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MPs to debate Riddell’s Bay development

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A luxury housing development up for debate by MPs today has been defended as a “win-win” for the island.

The special development order for the old Riddell's Bay Golf and Country Club, which closed in 2016, came under fire from objectors who claimed it set a bad precedent for development on open land.

But Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, said the plan was a vital boost to the island's flagging economy when it was tabled two weeks ago in the House of Assembly.

A spokesman for Castile Holdings, which owns the 87-acre site in Warwick, said that protesters against the proposal were wrong and the development would be a “win-win”.

He added: “This is a very positive initiative that is going to result in the creation of Bermuda's single largest park and nature reserve, protected in perpetuity, accessible to the general public and 100 per cent privately funded at no cost to the taxpayer.”

A total of 23 acres would be changed from recreational zoning to residential under the plan, but 64 acres would be upgraded to conservation status.

The spokesman said “significant” landscaping and planting was already under way at the former golf course.

He added: “The project is expected to generate over $75 to $100 million of incremental economic activity for Bermuda over the next five years.”

The opponents of the deal branded it a “real estate development masquerading as a conservation project”.

They said they held an online meeting with Mr Roban on Wednesday to raise their objections, but were told that the Planning Act gave the minister the authority to make a special development order for a project.

The SDO came after the Development Applications Board turned down the proposal last December under planning regulations.

Mr Roban said that all the information on the SDO, including its environmental impact assessment, could be viewed by the public at the Department of Planning's online EnerGov self-service portal.

He added that he had also fielded questions from the Opposition covering the 39 objections to the project during the July 3 session of the House.

David Burt, the Premier, said last night that in addition to a debate on Riddell's Bay, MPs would discuss amendments to the Parliamentary Election Act.

Debates will also cover amendments to the National Pension Scheme Act, the Ministers and Members of the Legislature (Salaries and Pensions) Amendment Act 2020, the Public Service Superannuation Temporary Amendment Act 2020, and the Registrar of Companies (Supervision and Regulation) Act 2020.

To view the Order of Business, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

Vital boost: Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
The old Riddell's Bay Golf and Country Club

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Published July 17, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 17, 2020 at 1:59 pm)

MPs to debate Riddell’s Bay development

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