Top 10 BEST accomplishments!
The following were distilled from a long list of accomplishments over our first 10 years of BEST:
- Saved Southlands. In 2005 a group of businessmen purchased the Southlands Estate, a unique, natural area, with a plan to build a 5 star luxury hotel. BEST launched a series of actions intended to alert and motivate the public, which included production of a video (Protecting the South Shore) and direct action (the Tunnel Vigil, and the Walk through the area) that attracted hundreds of participants. The huge public outcry against spoiling such a wonderful natural area, hardly existing any longer in Bermuda, led in 2010 to the Government making a land swap of Southlands for Morgan’s Point. As a result, Southlands will remain in its natural state and is intended as parkland for the community.
- Protection of agricultural land in Bermuda through submissions to the 2008 Bermuda Plan and being co-sponsor of Aran McKittrick’s paper on The Role of Agriculture in Bermuda’s Future. It is worth noting that the 2008 Plan Tribunal made a special mention of BEST’s efforts: “The majority of counter objections were received from environmental groups such as Bermuda Environmental & Sustainability Taskforce (BEST). BEST submitted the lion’s share of these objections. Such objections were primarily lodged against those landowners who proposed amendments to agricultural land, albeit BEST also objected to the reduction and removal of woodland, open space and coastal areas. The Tribunal would like to applaud BEST for its hard work. Much time and effort by the group went into investigation and advertised objection. Such efforts certainly demonstrate the group’s sincere commitment to safeguarding those environmentally sensitive areas around the Island for future generations of Bermudians.”– Excerpt from Introduction to the Report of the Draft Bermuda Plan 2008 Tribunal
- Saved Warwick Long Bay from beach development. This effort included engagement with the neighbours that generated a petition and a Judicial Review in the Supreme Court that reversed the Cabinet Minister’s decision, thereby disallowing the development (beach bar). Since 2016, BEST has pushed to have the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Government keep to their commitment to limit beach development to the 5 agreed-upon beaches (Horseshoe Bay, John Smith’s Bay, Shelly Bay Beach, Clearwater Beach and Tobacco Bay) while keeping others pristine for the benefit of survey respondents who expressed interest in non-development as an option for Bermuda beaches.
- The production of position papers such as “The Blueprint for Environmental Sustainability” (2012) and “The Gamble of Gaming” (2013). We have produced and published these highly researched and documented papers, alongside a further five, adding substance to the public discourse on relevant community issues. Our careful research and non-partisan presentation have made these welcome additions to the public stock of accessible, informative resources.
- Protective Costs Orders In our Court case against the Tuckers Point development, BEST introduced (to Bermuda), argued and won a precedent-setting judgement that acknowledged our action as in the public interest and for that reason shielded us from financial liability for most of the court costs. BEST has been awarded a PCO in all our cases since then.
- Saved South Basin/Cross Island from becoming an industrial-like threat to a high-value marine area was the outcome of a successful case against WEDCO for an inadequate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the end-uses for the new Cross Island reclaimed land. In their planning for what use they would make of the 9 acre landfill, WEdCo hired consultants whose EIA was deficient in that, among other flaws, it would have enabled WEdCo to engage in environmentally ruinous industrial-grade activities adjacent to a highly-sensitive and near-pristine marine zone. BEST put the issue to the Supreme Court, which quashed the permission for the industrial uses of Cross Island once the America’s Cup tenants had left the site.
- Increasing interaction with the community around environmental issues of concern to them. Examples include:
- The formation and work of The BUZZ which started by looking at the influences on the die-off of honey bees and is now pressuring Government to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides in Bermuda and for the remediation of food-growing soil.
- Research into the social and economic impacts of derelict buildings.
- Reports on policies and/or perceived irregularities in the planning process.
- Reports on illegal development.
- Ongoing Planning Review Process monitoring the weekly lists of planning applications (since 2012) to identify, comment on and, if necessary object to proposed development that would impact protectively-zoned land. This process dovetails with BEST’s current efforts to contribute to the formal review being done for the 2017 Bermuda Plan.
- Earned respect from the media as the “go to” organisation for environmental concerns. While there are several NGOs who deal with environmental issues, BEST has developed a reputation for delivering reliable and timely responses to requests for information or comments.
- Development and launch of the award-winning BEST website which serves as a vital resource for the community in tracking environmental issues. One aspect thought to be especially useful is the Environmental Issue Resource Guide: https://best.org.bm/resources
BEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS BY YEAR: