The PLP’s mauling of the Municipalities Act has led to it’s inevitable conclusion: a costly, reputation-destroying fustercluck.
The Royal Gazette reports that the Corporation of Hamilton has signed a lease giving control of parts of the Hamilton Waterfront to developers with no public consultation, no greater due diligence by Government, and no publicly-articulated vision of the end result. They did this despite Government warning them it could not support the project based on information currently available to them.
Pictures on the Internet indicate they are dreaming of 13 story buildings built in the Harbour at the location of the Hamilton docks, extending virtually to Paget. Looks the “Grand Atlantic on the Harbour” if you catch my drift.
If the facts being reported are correct, this is an incredible failure of governance. If it is not illegal it is, in fact, a joke.
The decision to develop the Waterfront is of national impact – it cannot take place without full transparency and support of the community. It cannot be shoved through in this secretive, rushed, half ass manner … which should set off alarm bells for every Bermudian.
The redevelopment of Hamilton cannot replace Hamilton. Who do they imagine will work or live in these buildings? We have hundreds of thousands of feet of empty office space in Hamilton as well as significant empty housing across the island. To make this work you need new national policies regarding development, business, property ownership, residential rights for foreigners, etc. It can’t be done on a dream or inside connection! And it can’t be rushed through in secret by a dubiously elected city council! The current Mayor of Hamilton was elected with only 109 votes – he does not have the right to make national decisions.
At this stage, I see no choice but for Government to either amend the Municipalities Act to restore the vote to Hamilton property owners, or to simply take over the corporations. The PLP’s “reform” effort was really a revenue grab – and it left the corporations vulnerable. So unfortunately the new OBA Government must add this to the long list of “PLP screwups to fix”.
This “dockside deal” must be halted, and the process started from scratch.