Deadline for Southlands Objections

Rumour has it that the deadline for objections to the Southlands Development is 5PM today. I received this sample objection letter. Objections should be faxed (and signed) to Planning at 295-4100:

4 January, 2007

The Director of Planning
Re: P1029/06 Southland's Estate

Dear Director,

I wish to register my objection to the above application for the following reasons:

1) the proposal would seek to build on woodland and open space that is protected from development;
2) the proposal would seek to alter the coastal zone, also protected;
3) the proposal violates the spirit of the Sustainable Development Strategy and Plan in that it seeks to do the bulk of its construction on previously undeveloped land, or greenfield, rather than rebuild on an already developed, or brownfield site;
4) the proposal would seek to divert public traffic through a tunnel; and
5) the proposal must be considered together with another hotel proposal planned for property adjacent or almost adjacent to the east known as the Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences project.

I understand the proposers are seeking a Special Development Order (SDO) to enable the coastal development and construction on protected woodlands and open space. I must voice my strong objection to an SDO being employed to sidestep planning regulations and the full planning process.

Given the magnitude of this proposal, its potential impact on the coastline, public transportation, protected woodlands and open space, and the combined impact of this proposal with other major hotel proposals currently under application or consideration, I would urge that one or more Environmental Impact Assessments be called for, designed and conducted to assess the full economic, social and environmental impact of this proposal.

I must note that the Bermuda Government became a signatory to the Environment Charter in 2003, and in doing so committed itself inter alia to clauses 3, 4 and 5 of the Charter:

The Bermuda Government will...

3) Ensure that environmental considerations are integrated within social and economic planning processes; promote sustainable patterns of production and consumption within the territory.

4) Undertake environmental impact assessments before approving major projects and while developing our growth management strategy.

5) Commit to open and consultative decision-making on developments and plans which may affect the environment; ensure that environmental impact assessments include consultation with stakeholders.

I contend that the public is inadequately informed -- as is, I would suggest, the entire hierarchy of decision-makers for this proposal -- about the ramifications of this project, alone, as well as in conjunction with other proposed tourism-related projects, on the economic, social and environmental impacts it will have on our Island.

I would therefore propose that the requisite Environmental Impact Assessments be conducted, in full view of the public, and only then can the public be fairly called upon to participate in the planning approval process. For the avoidance of doubt, I am suggesting that given how much the public does NOT know about the ramifications of this application, it is unfair to expect the public to be reasonably able to consent or object to this proposal by the imposed deadline of 5 January 2007.


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