The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) today announced success in its appeal to the Supreme Court against the decisions by the Development Applications Board (DAB) and the Minister responsible for Planning regarding the South Basin. BEST’s Court action yielded a result that permits the South Basin landfill and its interim use for the America’s Cup Event Village but rejects the end-uses that developer WEDCO had in mind, namely a commercial boatyard, a luxury marina and the consolidated offices and maintenance facility for the Marine & Ports Department.
The core factor for BEST was that in a major development such as this one, the DAB had a mandatory and legal obligation to obtain the best possible environmental information on which to base its decision. However, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA/EIS) that was initially conducted for the project was sub-standard and inadequate to uphold that obligation.
From the outset, BEST informed the developer, the Department of Planning (DOP), the Development Applications Board and the Minister that the submitted EIS was too flawed to rely upon. All of those entities dismissed BEST’s concerns and, driven by the advent of the America’s Cup, pressed ahead with the development. The Court’s decision vindicates BEST’s stance. In addition, the Court validated BEST’s action in this case as one serving the public interest by awarding BEST a Protective Costs Order that covered a portion of BEST’s legal expenses.
The entire judgment will be available on the BEST website as soon as it can be arranged.