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BLDC chief grilled by protesters over incinerator plan

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Medical waste containers on Carters Bay Road (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

People worried about a proposed medical waste facility in St David’s confronted the chief executive of the Bermuda Land Development Company over their concerns at a public meeting last night.

Andrew Dias took questions at a protest gathering where speakers stressed the issue was not just local, but an island-wide one.

The meeting came after containers of medical waste had been removed from Southside.

Asked if the BLDC, as a landlord, was concerned about the container issue and the current state of the land they were on, Mr Dias said: “The short answer is, yes.”

He added that the BLDC has had some “preliminary conversations” about the situation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Regarding the state of the land the containers were on, Mr Dias said: “I can’t say that it has, or has not, been damaged, and that is part of what I will have to have the conversations with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (about).

“I would like to get answers to the same questions that you are asking.”

Asked when the BLDC knew what was in the medical waste containers placed at Southside, Mr Dias said: “When it came to my attention that it was a problem, I immediately, as fast as I could, tried to address the situation and assist.”

Pressed on the legality of the biowaste containers being placed where they were, Mr Dias said: “I don’t know, I’m not the lawyer.“

Asked who was responsible for the biowaste material containers being there, Mr Dias said: “It would be the person who owns the material.”

He added: “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is the keeper of the gate from beginning to end.

“They set the air-quality regulations. They review the planning applications and say that it’s safe and it’s OK. They then issue an operating licence. They then manage the process on an annual basis, and then, if there is an issue, they are still the same people that would monitor.

“And, if the need arose, up to the point of not re-issuing their ability to operate.”

Andrew Dias (File photograph)

The meeting, at Clearwater Middle School was attended by five Progressive Labour Party MPs and two from the One Bermuda Alliance.

The government MPs there were Lovitta Foggo, an MP for St David’s and chairwoman of the BLDC, Tinée Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors, Renée Ming, Derrick Burgess and Kim Swan. The OBA’s Craig Cannonier and Scott Pearman attended.

Some speakers from the floor suggested there should be a police investigation into the medical waste container issue.

Another said St David’s had been “used as a dumping ground for years”.

Terlena Murphy, a spokeswoman for the pressure group Concerned Citizens of St David’s, said a petition would be handed in to David Burt when the House of Assembly gathers today.

Ms Murphy stressed that the issue should be one of concern across the island, not just in St David’s.

Residents in St David’s have called on the Government to halt the proposed development of the medical waste facility in Southside and order an independent environmental impact assessment.

She said the Government needed to address a lack of legislation over its regulation.

The protest group also complained about a lack of public consultation on the project and the lack of response to questions posed to Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, and Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs.

The MediWaste facility, set to be built on Waller’s Point Road in Southside, was approved by the Development Applications Board in September.

However, the project sparked a furore in St David’s, where residents said public notice of the proposal passed under the radar.

Residents were further angered by the discovery that unsecured containers of medical waste collected by the firm had been left near the proposed development site.

Ms Murphy has said that while the containers of medical waste had been removed, she questioned if MediWaste would suffer any penalties for leaving them in a public space.

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Published December 02, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated December 02, 2022 at 12:27 pm)

BLDC chief grilled by protesters over incinerator plan

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