The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce [BEST] was not successful in their court appeal regarding the Caroline Bay development, with the organisation attempting to object to a roadway on what they said was a “precious agricultural plot.”
A BEST spokesperson said, “BEST has, for the first time, not been successful in an appeal before the Supreme Court. In short, BEST objected to the plan by ‘Caroline Bay’ [CB – formerly Morgan’s Point Limited] to expand what was a farm-tractor access path, through the middle of one of the largest actively-farmed plots on the Island, into a grandiose entranceway for its luxury hotel and condo complex. BEST took the issue on in the public interest of preserving and protecting Bermuda’s dwindling stock of farmland.
“The Chief Justice determined that the Minister for the Environment had absolute discretion to give CB permission for this roadway, despite the following arguments from BEST:
“1. It is unfair [avaricious even] for CB, after having benefited so adequately through land-swap, renegotiation of polluted land for pollution-free land, and lease of dozens of acres in addition, to be looking to usurp land outside their holdings to build a fancy roadway based on some arbitrary luxury standard. The developer had already acquired dozens more acres of land than the 37 acres they started with at Southlands.
“The land on the Morgan’s Point peninsula is now owned jointly by Morgan’s Point Limited [now re-branded as “Caroline Bay”] and the Bermuda Government. MPL became owners via a land swap for the Southlands property. In exchange for 37 acres at Southlands they got 80 acres freehold plus 128 acres leasehold at Morgan’s point.
“The previous occupiers at MP left portions of the site, including network of caves, polluted with fuels and chemicals. The Bermuda Government [us] paid for the clean-up. In addition, MPL had the lease boundaries adjusted so their holding did not include the previously polluted and now cleaned-up portion of the overall site.
“The MPL business received special financial and other considerations from Government [e.g. tax relief, planning permissions, waterfront rights, etc.] via the Morgan’s Point Resort Act 2014 [amended. qv].
“2. The farm plot they want to desecrate lies outside the almost 210 acres they now control.
“The issue for BEST is that, despite gaining a better than 2:1 swap of freehold [Southlands], plus a lease of 128 acres for 262 years, which includes 15.5 acres of waterfront, CB is fighting to build a major roadway through the middle of farmland outside of their border. This development proposal had been opposed and/or rejected by:
- The Development Applications Board [DAB]
- The Department of Planning [DOP]
- The Board of Agriculture [BOA]
- The Bermuda National Trust [BNT]
- The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce [BEST]
- The Bermuda Farmers’ Association [BFA]
- 1 Independent Inspector
- 1 Government Minister