The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Task force has called for the suspension of building at the South Shore site. *Photo supplied
The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Task force has called for the suspension of building at the South Shore site. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, MARCH 23: Stopping work on the Grand Atlantic development is not an option, according to Public Works Minister Michael Weeks.

Responding to calls from the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce to suspend building at the South Shore site Mr Weeks maintained the project was safe, on schedule and affordable.

He told the Bermuda Sun he had been greatly encouraged that nearly 200 people had shown an interest in the properties.

And he insisted the developer had gone ‘above and beyond’ the planning conditions to ensure that all due diligence tests had been satisfied.

He added: “I recognize that BEST is concerned about the environment and I appreciate that because it is a major concern for us too.

“I want to assure the public that all due diligence has been done.

“Erosion is an issue all along South Shore and the geotechnic team has come in and looked at every aspect of that cliff face.

“Remedial steps have been taken and we have gone over and beyond the planning requirements by putting in the sea wall.”

The Minister added: “It would not be practical to abandon the project at such a late stage in light of the projected completion date of the 78 units expected at the end of June or early July.

“As mentioned beforehand, the developer still remains confident that the hotel will be built and is making every effort to ensure the site will not only be populated with locals in the housing units but also with tourists who want to come to enjoy what Bermuda has to offer.”

In the letter to Premier Paul Cox BEST claimed that the hotel aspect of the Grand Atlantic project had been ‘scuttled’.

And the group questioned whether permission was granted for the concrete breakwater that had been constructed in the face of the cliff below the development.

Mr Weeks told the Sun: “Comprehensive studies were conducted on the cliff by both structural and geological/geotechnical engineers with reports produced outlining the safety of the cliff and recommendations prior to any agreement being made on the Grand Atlantic project.

“The recommendations in these reports formed part of the agreement whereby all items must be completed before any occupancy certificate would be issued.

“All work per the reports has been completed in accordance with the recommendations and in fact, in some cases exceeded the recommendations in the report.

“The work performed was done under the supervision of the engineers who have certified the completion of all the works. 

Enclosed is a copy of these reports as well as the engineers’ signed completion report.”

BEST also branded the Grand Atlantic project an ‘inappropriate use of public funds”.

But Mr Weeks countered the claim saying: “Government is keen to ensure that qualified Bermudians have every opportunity to own their own homes. Housing is a basic social need of all people.

“This project is another opportunity for Bermudians to own their own homes.

“Many Bermudians had lost hope of ever owning their own homes with the previous years of over inflated prices of real estate in Bermuda.”