13th February, 2018

The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) is very concerned about

the handling of the proposal to run All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) tours in the west end

(along the western railway trail and in Scaur Hill and Hog Bay parks) and feel that the

following points are reason enough for any prior approval to be withdrawn or


1. An October 2, 2017 news article was the first time that the general public had

been told of the scheme, and the apparent approval by the former Minister for

the Environment, Sylvan Richards.

2. This apparent approval was given, despite:

a. the requirement under Section 4(a) of the Bermuda National Parks Act

1986 requiring public notification be given of any proposal for such a

change of use of the protected areas to be involved. While there was a

subsequent invitation by the Ministry for Public Works for members of

the public to submit comments, that exercise would not qualify as

satisfying that requirement. A consolidated report of the hundreds of

objections submitted during that process has only been alluded to with

details still not having been made public;

b. the restrictions on motorized vehicles on the railway path in accordance

with Sections 3(1)(a) and (b) of the Road Traffic (Western Section of the

Railway Path) Order 1955 (which (a) restricts all motorized vehicles

specifically along the portion of the Railway Trail in “the Western section

of the railway path lying between Franks Bay in Southampton Parish and

the former railway terminal at Somerset in Sandys Parish” and (b)

restricts motorized vehicles to auxiliary bicycles beginning at George’s

Bay Road in Southampton Parish and ending at the former railway

terminal at Somerset in Sandys Parish, and

c. the expressed lack of support for the scheme by the Bermuda National

Trust, BEST, Greenrock, the Garden Club, the Farmers’ Association, the

Bermuda Audubon Society, the Heydon Trust and, we have been led to

to believe, the Parks Commission, Parks staff and the Bermuda Tourism


3. A PATI request, submitted on November 7, 2017 to obtain the facts behind how

the proposal was originally presented, discussed, considered and approved by

the former Minister, has still not been provided to the requester, despite the

extended deadline for the response having passed on Jan 30, 2018.

It is concerning that the information we have requested via a PATI request has

essentially been withheld. We took advice and lodged a request for an internal

review of the matter, but the results of that process can take up to a further 6 weeks,

long after the Minister’s February 15th decision.

This continues the theme throughout this issue, that the public has been deprived of

the necessary facts to make informed arguments for or against this proposition. The

Minister’s insistence that objections from members of the public who do not live in the

area (many of whom use the trails and parks on a regular basis) would be dismissed

when making the final decision, should be viewed as objectionable. Bermuda’s

railway trails and parks are for the peaceful enjoyment of all of us and we encourage

your stance in support of our right to a voice in the protection of those amenities.

Kim Smith

Executive Director