Moving to set the record straight, Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban said there are “three things the Government does not do”. And that is “sell slate, determine how much quarry operators cut on a daily basis”, or, “determine when they cut slate”.
Speaking at a news conference held on Thursday (November 28), the Minister also challenged Mr and Mrs ‘Joe Public’ to “rethink the long term viability of large scale quarrying” in Bermuda.
Now more than ever, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Humberto in September, he said we need “to consider more sustainable options”, moving forward.
But he told the media that he was not prepared to comment on the subject of complaints put forward by conservation groups, accusing the Government of forcing through the application for a quarry to operate at Judkin Lane in Hamilton Parish.
Both the Bermuda Audubon Society and the Bermuda National Trust say the “massive industrial process” was not given the proper scrutiny.
Mr Roban stated: “As would be publicly known, that application is the subject of an appeal.
“The supply of slate is a private sector matter; most sites where slate is cut is on private property,” he added.
“There are two sites currently operating – one which is located next to the Prison Farm in St. George’s and the another which is located on Radnor Estate Road in Hamilton Parish. Additionally, the Department of Planning is in conversations with individuals seeking to carry out slate quarrying at a further four sites.”
The Development Applications Board gave planning permission for quarrying at the site last month, limited to one year, for the property owned by Nelson Cordeiro, by quarry operator Shawn Perott.
The Minister concluded: “Finally, I want to challenge the Bermuda public to rethink the long term viability of large scale quarrying. As a community, we need to move away from strictly relying on Bermuda stone and consider more sustainable options.
“The use of synthetic products is becoming the industry standard and a wide range of products is increasingly available. The Department of Planning has reported an increase in the number of applications for new synthetic materials for consideration by the Building Materials Committee.
“The Departments of Planning and Environment & Natural Resources [DENR], under the Ministry of Home Affairs, have been collaborating to ensure that the demand is adequately serviced.
“Only this week, I read in the media about two Bermudian structural engineers and their new product, Slate 2.0, which they say can be made here on the island using up to 75% of locally available recycled materials and has been specifically designed for Bermuda roofs. I expect the need and demand for it will only expand moving forward.”
- Feature Photo Courtesy of DC: Director of the Department of Planning Victoria Pereira, Minister Roban, Environmental Engineer from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Dr Geoff Smith