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MPs back 99-year land lease to support Western Stars Sports Club

Representatives from Western Stars and Gorham's, along with David Burt, the Premier, and David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, stand on St John's Field (File photograph by Lawrence Trott)

MPs have approved a 99-year lease for a piece of land in Pembroke to support a nearby sports club.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister for Public Works, said that under the agreement, Gorham’s Ltd would receive a lease for a 0.61 acre stretch of land next to the St John’s Road business to improve access for customers.

In return, the company has pledged to invest more than $550,000 in improvements to St John’s Field and the Western Stars Sports Club.

“This is one of the tasks that makes this job so rewarding,” Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly yesterday.

He said that under the draft lease agreement, Gorham’s would invest at least $350,000 into regrading and resurfacing the field to help address flooding, along with a minimum of $150,000 to rebuild the Western Stars clubhouse.

The company will also be required to contribute up to $45,000 to assist with the cost of the preparation of plans and reports for a boundary wall, $7,500 for surveys and assistance for additions to the existing clubhouse and $5,000 for marketing to support the project.

Colonel Burch praised Gorham’s and added that the partnership was a fantastic example of how the Government, the business sector and community groups can come together to benefit the island.

He also told the House that further work would be carried out to address flooding issues at the nearby canal.

Colonel Burch said: “Separate and apart from this agreement, the ministry has put money in this year’s budget to do some significant work on the canal to try and ameliorate the flooding that takes place at Mill Creek.

“The canal takes water from a number of areas. One of the biggest challenges we are having with flooding is people putting debris and garbage in the canal causing blockages.

“We are looking at ways we can address that and encourage folk to be a lot more responsible.”

Craig Cannonier, the shadow minister with responsibility for works and engineering, applauded the proposal and said that the One Bermuda Alliance was in full support of the agreement.

He said the field had long needed improvements because heavy rain in Hamilton would regularly cause flooding.

Michael Weeks, the local MP, said he could not express the value that the agreement would have on the community.

“I cannot wait until next year when the field reopens, when we as a community are down there to see the joy and the look in people’s eyes when that field is reopened,” he added.

Meanwhile, David Burt, the Premier, said the move was representative of the Government’s commitment to support the island’s community clubs and address the island’s social woes.

He added that gang violence would not be fixed overnight but supporting the work of community clubs was important to help address the "total picture".

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Published June 04, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated June 04, 2022 at 7:27 am)

MPs back 99-year land lease to support Western Stars Sports Club

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