Map showing the changes made in the SDO. *Image supplied
Map showing the changes made in the SDO. *Image supplied
THURSDAY, MAR. 24: New hotel rooms could be taken completely off the table as part of a package of revisions to the Tucker’s Point expansion plan.

The revised Special Development Order takes Quarry Hill — designated for 70 new hotel rooms in the original plan — out of the scheme.

A series of revisions have been put forward — including a proposal for a six-and-a-half acre portion of Paynter’s Hill to be turned into public parkland.

The revisions remove a total of 18 acres from the SDO and take 11 residences out of the plan.

Precise details were not given but the new order appears to contain no new hotel rooms.

Stuart Hayward, of campaign group BEST, said the apparent removal of the hotel from the order undercut the whole argument that this was a tourism development that needed to be rushed through the legislature for the good of the country.

The coalition of demonstrators that protested outside Cabinet last week plan to renew their campaign tomorrow. Frances Marshall, of the coalition, said the public had been kept in the dark about the revisions. She urged people to continue to email Senators and to make their views known outside the Senate chamber tomorrow.

Government did not reveal when the debate will reopen but it is understood that it will take place tomorrow with MPs preparing to meet on Monday to approve any amendments.

The original SDO was approved by MPs but the debate was halted in the Senate with Government facing defeat.

In a statement tonight Environment Minister Walter Roban said he believed the revisions would be enough to get the order through the Senate.

“In an effort to find the common ground that many expressed a desire to see achieved, Tucker’s Point Club have been more than accommodating in their willingness to adjust its development plans and yesterday presented to Government proposals that they believe will address their need to enhance the tourism product at Tucker’s Point Club while also addressing the concerns expressed by Senators. 

“The Government has studied the proposals and believes that they provide a significant opportunity for this matter to proceed in the Senate.”

Mr. Hayward said the new plan did very little to satisfy his concerns.

He said it still allowed for large scale building on Paynter’s HIll – ‘the jewel in the crown’ of the previously protected land.

And he said the removal of the hotel meant that this was now a residential development — not a tourism initiative.

Earlier, Opposition Senate Leader Jeanne Atherden accused the Government of being a “bull in a hurry” over the SDO revisions and urged them to consult more widely.

“We the United Bermuda Party were one of several groups and individuals vehemently opposed to the Tuckers Point SDO.

“Our concerns were not only around the hotel component but also centred around the loss of woodland reserve and precious natural portions of our environment to predominately facilitate the sale of lots for residential use.

“We would have expected government to be more sensitive and alive to the need to consult more widely. Given not only to what is proposed but the history of the property.”

A Government press release tonight set out the suggested revisions:

Site 2: Paynters Hill

  • The northernmost lot near the tennis courts designated as Lot 8 on the Paynter’s Hill map accompanying the prior SDO would be removed from the Order.
  • The southernmost lot designated at Lot 7 map accompanying the prior SDO would be removed from the Order.
  • The land not to be developed on Paynter’s Hill approximating 6.59 acres, would be donated to the Government, with a covenant with Government to protect the land in perpetuity.

Site 6: Harrington Sound waterfront

  • Comprising 0.487 acres being the land used as a park, and the adjacent site, comprising 0.458 acres, totaling 0.945 acres, to be donated to Government to protect the land in perpetuity.

Site 9: Quarry Hill

  • This is removed from the SDO.

Site 11: Whitecrest Hill

  • Development reduced to 45 development lots from 54 development lots.
  • A donation of additional 7.44 acres, totalling a donation to Government with a covenant to protect the land in perpetuity, at Whitecrest, of 14.89 acres
  • Whitecrest is already zoned Residential 2 and was subject to previous subdivision permission from the Department of Planning enabling development of Whitecrest of 34.590 acres.