Critics say the development work that has already taken place at Tucker's Point has left its scars on the natural rock face and landscape. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Critics say the development work that has already taken place at Tucker's Point has left its scars on the natural rock face and landscape. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
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WEDNESDAY, FEB. 9: Building on Bermuda’s last areas of virgin woodland would be like committing environmental suicide.

That is the stark warning from conservationist David Wingate after plans to construct homes and hotel rooms around Tucker’s Point were unveiled earlier this week.

Mr. Wingate told the Bermuda Sun that if treasured areas like Paynter’s Hill and Quarry Hill were used for construction it would be “utterly disastrous” for the island’s heritage.

He said: “It would be like destroying the equivalent of the Yellowstone National Park. What is so significant about this area is that it is the last parish-sized part of Bermuda that is still essentially rural.

“Most of the hills did not have houses on them until the last SDO was imposed.”

The first stage of the development will see 19 residential homes built on Glebe Hill, Paynter’s Road, South Road, Harrington Sound Road and Paynter’s Hill.

Locations

The exact locations of the properties have yet to be officially announced.

And conservation groups say they are still waiting to hear where the 70 hotel rooms will be built.

Paynter’s Hill is home to an abundance of birdlife including the White Eyed Vireo, the Catbird and the Cardinal as well as Palmetto Palms and Olive Wood Trees.

It is also where you can find 17 of the last 19 Yellowwood trees on the island.

Beneath Paynter’s Hill and the neighbouring Quarry Hill lies a labyrinth of underwater caves.

Mr. Wingate said: “These caves are like an open book to Bermuda’s past and we are only just beginning to explore them.

“The caves retain fossils that can trace the island’s history and there are dozens of submarine species that live in the caves.”

Quarry Hill also boasts between 30 and 40 per cent native canopy whereas the rest of Bermuda is closer to the five per cent.

It is one of the few locations where you will find the unique Walsingham Rock outcrops and rare endemic ferns.

Mr. Wingate says he fears there is nowhere else to build on Glebe Hill apart from its steep sides, which would involve major excavation and terracing into precious woodland.

Sensible

He added: “The houses on the top of Glebe Hill are sensible developments.

“Building on the barren hill top does not destroy the woodland.

“If they were to build on top of Catchment Hill I could go along with that too as it is a huge waste of land at the moment. A well thought out development could restore it to something far better.

“But any development into the steep sides of the hill would have an utterly obliterative effect.”

Why the Tucker's Point Plan is controversial