At the top of BEST’s wish list for any virgin tract of land in our densely populated Island would be that 40% of the land area be inviolably zoned as open space in a combination of parkland, nature reserve, waterfront/coastal reserve and so on. We accept that this may be viewed as an impossible dream for Cross Island. Still, the developers must be reminded that just because the plot is starting off completely undeveloped, our thinking should be steered away from viewing it as begging for 100% development. It should not resemble a teeming metropolis when done.
Nine acres of opportunity – an opportunity to do something different.
High on our list of practicable ideas would be to think of this space as permanently available so that, for example, if the America’s Cup wanted to come back to Bermuda after a year or so elsewhere, we would not then have to start looking for another blank 9 acres (to be land-filled or otherwise reclaimed) to accommodate them. In other words, this plot’s prime use would be as a land bank for major events. Any structural or infra-structural proposal should be designed to be flexible and adaptable to multiple uses.
We recognize the risk that there will be an ongoing evaluative requirement for any planned uses but, as a mindset for the environmentally-sound filter becomes ingrained and a suitable screening exercise becomes the norm, the land bank concept may prove to be invaluable. This would be truly thinking outside of the box.
* Uses that would contribute to open space such as an Open-Air Museum, an outdoor movie theatre, or other airy, multi-use space.
* Uses compatible with the land bank concept such as an area for seasonal renting out as an event village for other types of functions — an international hosting centre.
* Uses that enable our most dire land need, food security, such as a pilot, experimental and/or permanent structure(s) for vertical farming, palm tree farming or the budding technology of solar energy “trees”. These uses could combine structures with open space.
* Other solar or wind energy farms.
* A tourist or multi-use village with amenities to complement an international sail or foil training centre.
* A technology park.
In respect to the remainder of the jetty, northeast and beyond the Cross Island landfilled area, and provided that plans for marina berths will not be incorporated into the area, we propose an idea put to us that a barrier wall be erected at the end of the filled area so that gulls and terns can continue to roost and nest there, protected from people, dogs and cats.
Finally, alongside our ideas for potential end-uses, we would submit a list of what should not go there:
* Not a consolidated Marine and Ports [high risk of damage to nearby special (pristine and productive) marine area]
* Not a commercial boat yard [ditto]
* Not a sports centre (like the Cut Complex or Sands 360) [access and transportation issues]
* Not a conference centre [ditto]
* Not a shipping container site [visually unacceptable]
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important public consultation.
- Photo: The Royal Gazette