When was the campaign?
In April 2008 our attention was drawn by a group of Warwick residents to an application to the Department of Planning (DOP) to construct a “beach bar” on Warwick Long Bay, a National Park. The campaign continues.
Why did BEST object?
* The proposal represented commercial intrusion into public parkland in direct contradiction to the reason parklands were protected.
* Sustainability of Bermuda’s tourism potential requires we preserve some areas in their pristine state.
* Warwick Long Bay is a National Park and one of the most beautiful and most pristine of Bermuda’s beaches. Its image has been used extensively to attract tourists to Bermuda.
* While the application was for a “temporary structure”, there are plans to have it stay in place year-round.
* There are already beaches, some quite nearby, where tourists and residents can combine food and beverages, including alcohol, with their beach experience.
* We are concerned that this construction will set a precedent for similar “development” in any or all of our National Parks.
* We do not want to see this pristine National Park put on the path to becoming a commercialised tourism zone.
How did BEST campaign?
In partnership with more than 100 area residents, BEST submitted formal objections against the proposal to the Development Applications Board (DAB). The DAB subsequently refused the application. BEST launched an online and a paper version of a petition opposed to any commerce-related construction, temporary or otherwise, on Warwick Long Bay parklands. The developer then appealed. BEST and a number of area residents placed objections to the appeal. The appeal was submitted to an Independent Inspector for an unbiased assessment. He recommended against the appeal. The Environment Minister then went against that recommendation, overturned the DAB decision and has given the developer permission to proceed.
What is the current status of the campaign?
BEST has initiated Court action for a Judicial Review of the Minister’s decision. Construction of the beach bar is halted pending outcome of the Judicial Review. A Court hearing is anticipated early in 2010.