News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Management of the City of Hamilton wishes to publicly thank our team of just over 100 staff members who worked tirelessly throughout 2021 to ensure that Hamilton – one of the smallest cities in the world – remains spotless, vibrant and efficiently run.
City CEO Dwayne Caines said: “2021 was a year which demonstrated our adaptability and resiliency as an organization. The pandemic brought many challenges, but I am very proud to say that we never compromised on servicing the needs of the City.”
2021 saw much progress made throughout the City as detailed below:
“In June, the City released its audited financials which is a testament to our commitment to operate with fiscal prudence and engage in transparent processes,” said Mr. Caines. “The audited financials showed that the City currently has no debt, despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly lowered our revenue streams for 2020. Additionally, in 2011, the Corporation obtained a $10.6 million loan to finance the construction of its Works Depot on Laffan Street. The loan was repaid in full by March 2020.”
Stewards of the Environment
In February, the City completed a major solar power installation on Front Street. 78 panels were installed which, it is anticipated, will save the City more than $30,000 a year on electricity costs and cut down on fossil fuel emissions.
This year the City also invested in wastewater upgrades. The City has purchased two fine-mesh screening machines which will be installed at the Front Street Wastewater Treatment Plant early next year and will remove approximately 40 per cent of suspended solids from the City’s wastewater. It will also lead to a significant reduction in the amount of macro and micro plastics entering the ocean at the South Shore outfall.
In November, the City publicly highlighted our Street Furniture Programme where felled trees are repurposed (in-house) into City street furniture. Over the last five years, the City of Hamilton has saved tens of thousands of dollars in lumber and labour costs through this programme and helped to lessen our environmental impact.
Helping the Community
Mr Caines said: “The City of Hamilton has a legacy of giving back to the community – whether it be through monetary donations to charities, through the provision of manpower at no-cost or via the reduction of rental rates for City venues. COVID-19 has really hit our island hard – from the City businesses, to our charities and to the average family just trying to get by. That’s why we have, as much as we can, focused a lot of our energy and resources this year on giving back to the community which we serve.”
Throughout 2021, the City made monetary donations to Focus Counselling, Teen Haven, the Anglican Cathedral’s Feeding Programme and Tomorrow’s Voices. For two days in November, City staff donated their time and skills to fix playground equipment at two of the City’s nursery schools.
In April, the City provided masks for the unsheltered population to prevent against the spread of COVID-19 and in July we announced that we would be extending our successful Extra Duty Police Officer Programme to help keep Hamilton safe.
In May, in an effort to bring added vibrancy to Hamilton and alleviate financial strain on visual and performance artists caused by COVID-19, the City announced it would waive busker fees for 2021. Only a week later, the City decreased the rental rates for some of the City’s popular rental venues, to help reduce the financial strains faced by residents, community groups, small businesses and local charities caused by COVID-19. The hourly rental rates for Bermuda’s parks were reduced by more than 50 percent.
In 2021, the City provided the Perot Post Office and Bull’s Head Car Park as COVID-19 testing locations and Pier 6 as a vaccination centre.
In December, the City launched its Cycle Theft Awareness Campaign to help combat instances of bike theft in the City and installed new CCTV systems at City Hall car park.
The City also continues to assist with the fabrication of alfresco dining structures for struggling City eateries, in response to COVID-19 guidelines.
Making Hamilton a Vibrant City
Mr Caines said: “Our organizational vision at the City is to be a democratically elected, vibrant, safe and clean city focused on economic growth and livability. One of the ways we work to achieve that is through our events and marketing initiatives which bring people to the City, thus assisting City businesses and stimulating the local economy. For example, our most recent drive-in Christmas movie event generated $60,000 for City businesses which we know via the receipts we collected as an entry ‘fee’ for the films. We also held a successful, COVID-safe Scavenger Hunt across two days in August which received huge support from the public and local City businesses.
“This year, our events and marketing team also facilitated the placement of the delicious pop-up food concessions you see around Hamilton, as well as launching various Christmas campaigns (such as the City’s Christmas Window Decorating Contest; Rockin’ Around the City Tree; the 12 Days of Giving social media giveaway initiative; and the 3 For Free parking initiative) aimed at fostering the island’s festive spirit and bringing shoppers into Hamilton.
“The team also manages the VIVID public art initiative which enjoyed a new addition in Victoria Park earlier this year – an interactive piece by Bermudian artist Katie Ewles.”
Throughout 2021 the City has also made significant strides in improving parking management in the City to ensure equal parking opportunities, as well as cracking down on abandoned vehicles in the City.
During 2021 the City’s Town Crier conducted almost 100 FREE Discover Hamilton Town Crier tours and the City relaunched its City e-newsletter to connect residents with our news, events and updates.
“One of the goals of our Strategic Plan is to ‘create beautiful places and spaces’ and one of the ways we do this is through a continual assessment of our assets,” said Mr. Caines. “In 2021 we were able to take on several capital projects including the full renovation of the Victoria Street bathrooms, a major upgrade to Albuoy’s Point and a refurbishment of Washington Lane. We also improved street lighting, traffic light systems and sidewalks throughout the City to ensure we stay up-to-date with international standards. Victoria Park Bandstand (the only remaining structure like it in the world) also recently underwent a major facelift – it’s first since 2007, and Pier 6 is currently undergoing a major renovation to transform it into a premier event space.”
Celebrating our Heritage and our People
On July 2, The City officially designated the area on which the City Hall building and grounds rest as ‘Freedom Square’. Freedom Square is a formally sanctioned safe space for people to express themselves regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and national origin. The City’s hope is that it will create a pathway for Bermuda’s civil rights history to be recognized and celebrated. The City has installed five QR codes along Freedom Square which, when swiped over with a phone or tablet, link to brief informative videos about that location and its historical significance.
In October, the City was honoured to be able to present Bermuda’s Olympic Gold Medalist Flora Duffy with the ‘Keys to the City’ during a special presentation ceremony for her on the steps of City Hall.
Investing in Our Staff
Our Human Resources Department continues to provide relevant, quality staff training and growth development opportunities within the organization.
In 2021 all staff received training in CyberSecurity and Privacy and almost all Managers received Mental Health Training via BHB.
“At the City of Hamilton, our value is in our people,” said Mr. Caines. “We have a tremendous team here at the City and I’m personally grateful for every one of them. I am excited to see what we can achieve together in 2022.”