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Minister Burch On 'The Growth Of Dockyard' - Bernews

“The growth of Dockyard is facilitated by on-going strategic planning and the consistent implementation of major infrastructure projects,” Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch said as he provided an overview of enhancements being done in the west end.

Speaking in in the House of Assembly on Friday [June 7] the Minister said, ”I rise this morning to highlight change, sustainable growth, change, ongoing Cruise Ship Port enhancements, change, developing an artisan industry, change, growing retail businesses, change and repurposing historical assets to accommodate modern expectations, change.

“There is no question that the former Royal Naval Dockyard has been transformed and continues to be,” the Minister said, adding that “Dockyard is Bermuda’s largest tourism point of entry which fuels and supports commerce to every point around our Island. ”

“For those who have been to the West End recently – they will know that there are very few remaining derelict historical buildings which have not been upgraded. In fact the only remaining area within the North basin is the Victualling Yard. Over the past 15 years growth has been steady.

“The growth of Dockyard is facilitated by on-going strategic planning and the consistent implementation of major infrastructure projects. These projects have enabled additional growth but equally important it strengthens the infrastructure systems.

“What pleases me most – in addition to growing infrastructure, the Corporation continues to develop projects and programs that look at ways to reduce costs and lead the way in green initiatives. The latest such project of this nature is the implementation of solar power generation. The project will see solar production of over 500 KW which reduces BELCO consumption by more than $25,000 per month. The system is already partially on line.

“Next week we intend commissioning another large section of production and the final connection to power the Waste Water Treatment Plant will be online within the next 30 days. Included within the project WEDCO intends to set up live displays showcasing the system and real time data of the energy that is being produced.

“These are just a few of the changes which have enabled continued growth and we will continue to see more on-going changes that will enhance the experience and enable further growth. Some of these are creation of a fun space within the pedestrianisation area; additional parking areas, some free, some paid; creating new retail and entertainment spaces by relocating existing tenants; and day time boat berthing – some free, some paid.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good morning, Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to highlight change, sustainable growth, change, ongoing Cruise Ship Port enhancements, change, developing an artisan industry, change, growing Retail businesses, change and repurposing Historical assets to accommodate modern expectations, change.

Mr. Speaker, in an era where it is so easy to publicize negative messages, even if they are untrue, I am compelled to highlight some positive and factual information in the hope it will become contagious and we can learn to accept change more easily. I know some will declare that as “Mission Impossible” — but try I must.

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the former Royal Naval Dockyard has been transformed and continues to be. The North Basin has become one of Bermuda’s primary destinations for shopping, entertainment, dining, showcasing Bermudian Artisans as well as displaying History and Historical buildings.

Dockyard is Bermuda’s largest Tourism point of entry which fuels and supports commerce to every point around our Island. Servicing visitor expectations includes facilitating their transportation so that they’re able to see our entire island and support local businesses island wide. Dockyard has been transformed from that Military base of yesteryear into a vibrant destination with distinct characteristics: It is a Tourist destination, it is a Cruise Ship Port, and it is home to many Bermudians who wish to live, work and play there.

Mr. Speaker, for those who have been to the West End recently – they will know that there are very few remaining derelict historical buildings which have not been upgraded. In fact the only remaining area within the North basin is the Victualling Yard. Over the past 15 years growth has been steady. Total occupancy then was around 60% and today it is over 90%. The fact is that currently there is 100% occupancy of all wind and water tight buildings.

Mr. Speaker, for more than a decade the data shows revenue increases every year, in every business sector from as little as 3% to increases in excess of 10% annually. On an individual bases there are numerous successes in the hundreds of percent year over year. In April this year saw a record month over month collective sales increase of an incredible 20%.

I also have to make the point that this growth trend started before the addition of a second cruise pier, before the advent of larger cruise ships and certainly before the Americas Cup.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend the management and staff of WEDCO, all business owners and entrepreneurs that have worked together to write such an on-going success story and I am confident that this will continue as long as we all are willing to be receptive to change, continue to listen, continue to offer suggestions and where necessary make modifications.

Sometimes the required changes are not seen by everyone nor are they supported by everyone. Typically those that are in opposition do so because of a propensity for negativity, being afraid of change or because they are already happy with the status quo. I wish to encourage those in a position to make a difference to continue and not to be afraid of change. Continue to push forward knowing that growth will require change and success is managing the challenges while executing the changes and adjusting them when necessary for an even better outcome.

Mr. Speaker, we have all seen the changes:

Single lane roads becoming dual lane roads.Adding an extra lane to Bridges.Widening the main gates to accept 2 lane traffic.Creation of parking lots.Addition of a playground.Road modifications for larger vehicles to travel safely.New deep water Cruise Port.North Lawn stage to host public events.Free shuttle train.No unauthorized vehicular traffic on the North arm.Staging area for Port Transportation requirements.New parking areas created.Designated tenant / staff parking areas, andPedestrianisation

Mr. Speaker, the growth of Dockyard is facilitated by on-going strategic planning and the consistent implementation of major infrastructure projects. These projects have enabled additional growth but equally important it strengthens the infrastructure systems. What pleases me most – in addition to growing infrastructure, the Corporation continues to develop projects and programs that look at ways to reduce costs and lead the way in green initiatives. The latest such project of this nature is the implementation of solar power generation. The project will see solar production of over 500 KW which reduces BELCO consumption by more than $25,000 per month. The system is already partially on line. Next week we intend commissioning another large section of production and the final connection to power the Waste Water Treatment Plant will be online within the next 30 days. Included within the project WEDCO intends to set up live displays showcasing the system and real time data of the energy that is being produced.

Mr. Speaker, these are just a few of the changes which have enabled continued growth and we will continue to see more on-going changes that will enhance the experience and enable further growth. Some of these are:

Creation of a fun space within the Pedestrianisation area.Additional parking areas, some free, some paid.Creating new retail and entertainment spaces by relocating existing tenants.Day time boat berthing – some free, some paid

Mr. Speaker, the most recent concern expressed by some has been the minor adjustment to the public bus termination point in the Royal Naval Dockyard. This decision was not taken lightly or without significant forethought. Several factors were considered-including those who would have difficulty walking that distance. The public, like our visitors have the option to use the free shuttle service to move around the site. However, I would encourage folk to walk. Dockyard is not an enormous site, exercise is good and one might even see something previously unnoticed. Additionally, I can report that not unexpectedly – the merchants in both the Clock tower Mall and elsewhere have enjoyed increased sales since this change.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide this report on activities at the Royal Naval Dockyard and will continue to do so as the need arises.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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