Local residents were today urged to make their feelings known by joining opponents to the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s plan for concessions at Shelly Bay Beach, by showing up to protest the move at a public meeting tomorrow evening.
Speaking live on the Sherri Simmons Show this afternoon, members of the group behind an alternative proposal that encompasses the needs of Bermuda’s disabled, urged residents, to show up at the Shelly Bay Park to make their feelings known.
They were joined in studio, by Hamilton Parish resident and community activist LaVerne Furbert, who shared the BTA’s invitation to the meeting on Facebook.
“I’m inviting all who against the BTA’s proposal for Shelly Bay Beach to come out on Thursday and let your voice be heard.
“Please don’t be fooled by the invitation to be ‘wined and dined’ at the taxpayers’ expense,” she wrote.
“Every time I think I’ve finished marching, something else comes up and I have to put my marching shoes on and take up my placards.,” she added.
BTA Director of Strategy and Corporate Communications, Glenn Jones, cautioned residents “from taking a private individual’s Facebook post as a rally call for protest, and shared the “desire that all voices be heard”.
“The Bermuda Tourism Authority has long believed listening to public feedback makes our Beach Economy plan stronger,” said Mr Jones.
“It’s the whole point for what’s planned on Thursday evening, and we look forward to seeing everyone there, so they can experience what’s proposed and give further input.”
He also reaffirmed the BTA’s s support moves to improve accessibility.
“We’ll work with our colleagues at the Ministry of Public Works to see if we can get it done,” he said.
Ms Furbert was one of five area residents who proposed an alternative plan at a news conference held at the Bermuda Industrial Union on Tuesday.
The plan, drafted by Cheryl-Ann Griffin, calls for the beach to be made accessible to people with disabilities rather than featuring concessions housed in old shipping containers.
She stated yesterday that “Bermuda would benefit from a beach that is accessible to all Bermudians and visitors”.
“We are proposing that the recovered free area once occupied by the demolished building at Shelly Bay Beach is the ideal area to be used to enhance the beach experience for residents and visitors who are physically and visually challenged, including the infirmed elderly population,” said Ms Griffin.
The group also called for suitable restrooms and said they were not opposed to a lunch wagon.
The plan was drafted after the BTA unveiled its ‘Beach Economy Vision’ for five beaches, including Shelly Bay, in June.
The BTA meeting will take place from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, August 9.