“Rebuilding Bermuda must encompass the renewal of the east end.”
This from Public Works Minister Lieutenant Colonel David Burch, while highlighting “upcoming initiatives” that fall under his Ministry.
“Historically, Bermuda has and remains a major fueling stop for vessels heading across the Atlantic in the spring, and south to the Caribbean in the fall season. St Georges is also the closest safe harbour off the high seas when entering the waters of Bermuda. Furthermore, Ordinance Island is a prominent location for yachting and holds an intricate and strategic position in our maritime industry,” said Colonel Burch.
“Going forward, the Ministry of Public Works will harness the recently passed Super Yacht Legislation to present a Bill to support the construction of a marina in the Town of St. George. The marina will be a catalyst for the transformation of St. Georges into a world-renowned yachting destination.
“Development of the marina will also have the benefit of providing much needed economic stimulation and community pride in the Old Town.
“In addition to this, I will introduce legislation to grant a leasehold interest in the St George’s Club to the developers of the St Regis Hotel and advance legislation to bring about municipal reform for the Corporations of Hamilton and St Georges.
“The opening of the St Regis Hotel, the St George’s Golf Course, and the spa, combined with a world-class marina, will give St George’s the advantage and unique ability to provide excellent amenities needed to cater to high net worth clients. Most importantly, it will place St George’s on the world stage of superyacht destinations.
“Not included in the Throne Speech but a vital part of our work in this session is the administration of the capital projects which will be advanced to keep people employed while refreshing our infrastructure. A revised capital development plan is being produced setting out targeted project expenditure using a portion of the proceeds of the government’s recent debt raise to keep Bermudians working while our economy recovers,” he added.
“The Government’s Capital Expenditure Plan Technical Committee, which has been meeting to expedite public sector capital investment – focusing on construction projects, has developed an initial Government capital expenditure stimulus plan of just over $11 million. There are 43 projects in this stimulus plan thus far with a number slated to begin imminently.
“The first of which was announced in Parliament on Friday – Roof Top Solar PV Systems on the General Post Office and Government Administration Buildings, Public Transportation Building, and Transport Control Department Building. Further announcements on the specifics of this plan will be announced in due course,” he said.
“The plan is to utilise small contractors and this Government is determined to do all it can to stimulate the economy and create jobs for Bermudians as well as support the private sector in doing the same.”
Meanwhile, newly appointed Minister of Transport, Lawrence Scott one of his Ministry’s main priorities is “to transform the transport fare media so that it is frictionless and cashless”.
“It is with this context that we aim to Modernise Public Transportation through the implementation of a Digital Fare Media,” he said.
The Digital Fare Media will provide the option for both residents and visitors alike to use their cell phone and their credit or debit cards “to pay for rides and track the location of their bus and/or ferry through an app”.
“Another advantage to the implementation of a digital fare media is that it will provide the Government with the ability to collect real time ridership data, which will allow us the ability to make necessary adjustments to the Public Transportation Schedule.
“While we look to transition the bus and ferry service over to a Digital Fare Media, the majority of the Taxi industry has been using similar electronic platforms for years. However, the Ministry is aware that a Harmonisation of sorts is needed amongst Public Service Vehicles. In this Session of the House of Assembly, the Legislature will take under consideration a Bill to harmonise the licence fees for public service vehicles, with the aim to provide consistency within that industry,” he added.
“The Ministry also believes the Motor Car Act 1951 is too restrictive in an area where growth and change are necessary to keep up with new technology. Therefore, necessary changes will be made to modernise various aspects of the Act.
“For example, with an aging population, it is necessary to re-evaluate policies regarding vehicle licencing for seniors. Ensuring that our seniors are able to more easily access the services they require, while making sure all road users are appropriately assessed prior to being granted a vehicle licence, regardless of age,” said Mr Scott.
“The Ministry is mindful of the increasing number of vehicles on our roads, and believes that the promotion of a second-hand vehicle market will allow residents an affordable alternative to purchasing a new vehicle. Necessary regulations will be put in place to safeguard the second-hand vehicle marketplace.”
He also noted that “public garages have become a steadily increasing source of complaints amongst various neighbourhood residents”.
“It has been realized that amendments to the current regulations are needed, that allow the Government to better mitigate and mediate observed and/or consistent breaches, giving the Minister of Transport the authority to suspend and revoke licences.”
In closing, Mr Scott re-emphasized “the importance of responsible vehicle operation – both on our roads and waters”.
“Going forward, the Bermuda Road Safety Council and the Bermuda Water Safety Council will be utilised to a greater extent to ensure that transportation safety is kept on the forefront in this vital public messaging.
“This Wednesday, November 18th, I will join the Bermuda Road Safety Council’s Road Safety Day, taking place at City Hall in the City of Hamilton from 12:30pm until 2:30pm to show my support for all the agencies involved in highlighting the seriousness of this topic year round.”