News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – “On its surface, it would appear that the repairs are being carried out at an inopportune time,” said the Minister of Public Works, Lt Col David Burch, in response to commentary over the cancellation of the Ferry Service Orange Route between Dockyard and St George’s due to repair work at Hunter’s Wharf.
Minister Burch, in clarifying the situation, stressed that the repairs are needed in order to protect the health and safety of passengers.
He put forth the following timeline on the issue:
* 8/27/21 – The initial application was submitted with a proposal to repair/remove and replace existing rusted bollards, install a handrail adjacent to the existing concrete ramp, install a fixed metal gangway with a winch system and install two timber fender panels with concrete fender supports on the side of the dock.
* 12/3/2021 – Planning Application Objection received – Dowling Marine and Auto Service Ltd. object to the placement of the two timber fenders. The current arrangement of these fenders will impede the passageway on the entrance and exit to Dowling’s.
* 1/21/2022 – Planning Application Representation – Letter of concern re impact from the thrust of ferry and lack of consultation from the St. George’s Preservation Authority.
* 6/17/22 – Director of planning advised: “I spoke with my team late yesterday, and it was confirmed the sole objection to the planning application was withdrawn, and as such, I can now give approval as a matter of urgency given the circumstances.”
* 1/7/2022 – Final Planning Application approved. Proposal to repair/remove and replace existing rusted bollards, install 3ft high handrail adjacent to existing concrete ramp, install fixed metal gangway winch system and install two timber fender panels with concrete fender supports on the side of the dock.
* 4/7/2022 – A waiver to the fire permit was applied for, and once that was granted, we were able to apply for a Building Permit.
* We ran the tender process concurrently with the planning process, and we received bids back on 15 July.
* We requested a few additional documents from the contractor, and once received, we completed the evaluation and had a “preferred bidder”. But without the building permit, we chose to wait before signing the contract.
* The building permit was granted on 11 August. We got the signed contract back from the contractor on 15/8/2022.
Work will commence on August 17.
Minister Burch added: “That’s the history of this project – while ideally, the work should have been carried out during the off-season, the situation is such that the health and safety of passengers – especially those bound by wheelchairs – are at risk. The work will commence tomorrow and is expected to be completed within five weeks.
“In the meantime, we have been exploring other options to provide ferry service. Those discussions with the Ministry of Transport are ongoing, but I wish to assure the people of St. George’s that we are working diligently to restore service as soon as possible.”