Mid Ocean Club won’t allow Catchment Hill development, says Dunkley – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Mid Ocean Club won't allow Catchment Hill development, says Dunkley

Opposition politician Michael Dunkley will today tell fellow senators that no matter how they vote on a Special Development Order (SDO) for Tucker's Point, part of the proposed development will not happen.

Senator Dunkley will confirm that the neighbouring Mid Ocean Club will not allow the five-star resort to build on an area of Catchment Hill (now known as White Crest Hill) in breach of a deed of convenant signed in 2000.

He claims the area is one of the “most important” sections of land in Tucker's Point's controversial expansion plan.

The developers want to divide the hill into 59 “residential, amenity and conservation lots” but the agreement between the two neighbours prevents any development on an area which would contain nine of the lots.

Mid Ocean president Sen Dunkley said: “As far as Catchment Hill goes, they are severely restricted even if this SDO goes through. We feel the area covered by the deed is perhaps some of the most profitable land for development, due to the views and location.

“It's a prime plot. They are trying to develop a prime plot because they expect it to command top dollar.”

He added: “There is very little that they can develop on those SDO lots on White Crest Hill.

“If the Senate passed the SDO tomorrow, I do not believe the Mid Ocean would allow any change to the deed of covenant. Why would we agree to waive an agreement that was signed to help protect open space for the sake of luxury homes?”

He explained that the Mid Ocean Club and Tucker's Point swapped some land 11 years ago, which allowed Tucker's Point to develop an area around the latter's golf clubhouse.

One of the conditions of the exchange was the preservation of woodland and nature reserve on Catchment/White Crest Hill.

Sen Dunkley and Mid Ocean vice president Alan Dunch met with Tucker's Point president Ed Trippe on February 8 to discuss the resort's expansion plan.

Sen Dunkley said: “He [Mr Trippe] said 'are you willing to take a look at it?' and the answer was no. We signed the deed to protect the land for future generations.

“The deed really is something that he said he forgot about. I think it was a major error in his calculations.

“Mr Dunch asked 'did you forget? ' We pushed the deed across the table. He said he did. I took him at his word but I find that interesting, to say the least.

“If you were developing property and ten years ago you had gone through negotiations with a neighbour about certain things, I just can't see that happening.”

Mr Trippe told this newspaper: “The deed of covenant with Mid Ocean Club impacts on nine lots at White Crest Hill but there are other parts of our White Crest Hill plan that are not affected by the covenant.

“However, we remain hopeful that we will be able to come to an agreement with Mid Ocean Club on elements of the plan in the future.”

The SDO, approved by the House of Assembly on February 28, divides the proposed Tucker's Point extension into 11 sections, with the last one covering more than 40 acres on White Crest Hill, Hamilton Parish.

The section is sub-divided into 59 lots, with all but five earmarked for residential use. Two are listed as amenity spaces, one for conservation and two others to be donated to the public, including a 7.5 acre lot and Mangrove Lake.

In total, Tucker's Point wants to build 78 private homes and 70 hotel rooms. If the SDO is approved by the Senate today, zoning restrictions on the land would be removed and the developers could apply for permission for their plan.

Sen Dunkley would not reveal how he will vote but he's expected to follow the UBP MPs who opposed the SDO in the House.

l Useful websites: www.themidoceanclubbermuda.com, www.tuckerspoint.com, www.best.org.bm

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Published March 18, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated March 18, 2011 at 10:34 am)

Mid Ocean Club won't allow Catchment Hill development, says Dunkley

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