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Town Cut report now in mayor’s hands

Government last night met with the Corporation of St George’s to disclose the results on a report on the possibility of modifying Town Cut.

The report, ordered last year and completed earlier this summer, is said to look at the potential cost and impact of straightening, dredging or otherwise altering the waterway.

St George’s Mayor Kenneth Bascome said yesterday in advance of the meeting: “The Corporation members will be presented with the proposal, what has been determined to be the way forward.

“From there, we will come to our own decision. Then the next step will be in the next two to three weeks to let the public have their say.”

While he was unable to discuss the details of the report, he said yesterday that public concerns that modifications could cause the water in St George’s Harbour to rise are unfounded.

“Some people are worried that if we make the opening wider the water will rise,” he said.

“If modifications are recommended to be the way forward, there will be no more water coming in through the cut. That’s a fallacy.”

Even if the reports do suggest that changes to the cut are safe and feasible, Mr Bascome said he thinks it is unlikely that any work would begin soon.

“I would say it would be a few years before anything is really done,” he said. “It’s going to be a few years.”

Modifications to Town Cut are seen by some as a way to revitalise the east end, which has suffered in recent years due to a decline in visiting cruise ships.

While cruise ships are being built larger and larger, the relatively narrow and shallow Town Cut has limited the number of ships that can physically reach the port.

In the last two years, St George’s has had only one regularly scheduled ship, the Holland America Line

Veendam.

However, because the ship is too large to safely pass through the cut, it was instead forced to anchor at Murray’s Anchorage, with tourists being ferried to and from the town.

And due to weather issues and medical emergencies, the ship has repeatedly bypassed the town in favour of Hamilton.

Mr Bascome said: “Right now we are just hoping that we don’t miss any more ships this season. So far this year I think we have missed around ten, and I’m hoping that there will be no more trips missed.”

Despite the challenges, Mr Bascome said he felt that the town is “on the verge of an renaissance.”

Along with the plans for the proposed $300-million Park Hyatt resort recently gaining planning approval, Mr Bascome said plans for a boutique hotel and marina are progressing.

“Hopefully we can do something in the meanwhile to get people to come to St George’s from Dockyard,” he said. “And I have always said the town should do more to tap into the local market.

“We are putting a few proposals together that we believe will be positive not only for the town, but for the visitors.”

A cruise ship goes through Town Cut - the results of a survey into modifying it to allow larger ships should be made public soon.

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Published September 14, 2011 at 9:57 am (Updated September 14, 2011 at 9:57 am)

Town Cut report now in mayor’s hands

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