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Gencom interested in buying part of government quarry

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Possible sale: part of the government quarry in Hamilton Parish

Gencom has expressed interest in purchasing the Government Quarry Depot, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch has revealed.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday after delivering a statement on a quarry feasibility study, the Minister of Public Works said “casual” discussions had taken place and that the hotel developer for the Fairmont Southampton and Rosewood Tucker’s Point is working on a formal proposal.

Colonel Burch said: “I am aware of Gencom’s interest in a possible purchase of the quarry and I have had one meeting since being the minister that was a casual conversation. They have gone away to do some research and come back with a formal proposal. We will talk to anybody but it is not forming part of the current review of the quarry.”

He was responding to questions by Craig Cannonier, the shadow tourism minister, who said Gencom had been interested in land adjacent to Tucker’s Point when the One Bermuda Alliance was in power.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Mr Cannonier said: “While we were government there was an inquiry into some of the land that was adjacent to Tucker’s Point and there was interest from Gencom in the property. I want to find out if the minister has had any request to further any talks concerning some of the land that was adjacent to Tucker’s Point?”

Mr Cannonier was directed to keep his questions related to the topic in hand – a request for proposals to examine the future of the quarry – and so rephrased the question asking: “With the review that is going on, having a consultant that is there hired to take a look at things, are they also considering selling off some of that property or leasing some of that property to the private sector?”

An RFP, recently published online, called for interested parties to submit proposals for a financial feasibility study for the quarry site in Hamilton Parish.

The procurement notice said: “The goal of the engagement is to determine whether privatisation of the quarry or reinvestment in infrastructure is most optimal.

“The consultant shall make a business case aimed at assisting the Government to assess strategic fit and assuring alignment with government objectives and validate and confirm assumptions through a detailed evaluation of costs, benefits, risks and opportunities.”

Mr Cannonier asked whether the scope of work that takes place at the quarry will still be maintained by the Government if it is privatised.

He asked: “For example, will asphalt still fall under this or will it be sectioned off to go somewhere else?”

Colonel Burch responded: “That is what will form part of the review, whether there is an option to cease doing some of the things at the quarry or add to them.

“As an example, one of the challenges we are facing at the moment with regards to being able to provide the services to, particularly in the maintenance and repair of vehicles. We have virtually every make of car in the country. I am not sure that we have the skill set to service all of those vehicles. There will be a particular look at how we address that.”

A ministry spokesman said this month that the aim of the study was to gather as much data as possible so that the Government can take an informed decision on whether to take a self-financing or a commercialised approach.

“Due to the Government’s current financial position, the ministry is open to the possibility of a public-private partnership as a solution that is worth exploring.

“However, before that step is taken, the ministry needs to quantify the two options — self-investment or outside investment — to analyse the decision and determine the true cost.”

The Government has been asked for further information pertaining to the potential sale of the quarry to Gencom.

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Published July 19, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated July 19, 2022 at 7:57 am)

Gencom interested in buying part of government quarry

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