Michael Weeks, Minister of Public Works. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Michael Weeks, Minister of Public Works. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24: The Ministry of Public Works is one of the essential Ministries within this Government.  Many of the services that are important to the people of Bermuda are those in which the Ministry provides – those services we usually tend to take for granted.  However, should you require your garbage to  be collected, should you require water for your tanks, or should you need to use one of our many public beaches, then no doubt, this Ministry has responsibility to ensure these services are available. 

It can be said that the teams within the Ministry are somewhat the unsung heroes that go about doing their jobs on a daily basis, without thanks in large part. Notwithstanding, the Ministry has quite a bit on tap for the 2012/13 fiscal year to ensure these very same services, as well as new initiatives, remain available thereby making our lives more comfortable. 

The following are just a few such programmes and initiatives for the upcoming year.

1 - REFURBISHMENT/UPGRADING OF TYNES BAY WASTE TO ENERGY FACILITY

As a continuation of the Tynes Bay Waste-to-Energy Facility upgrades, 

the major initiative for 2012/13 will include the installation of a larger steam turbine to produce more electrical energy, an upgrading of the sea water cooling plant and continued advancement of the third stream initiative to ensure future plant redundancy and reliability. 

2 – Mobile Water/Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Plan  [Department of Works and Engineering] 

Within the Waste and Water Section of the Ministry, work continues on the Mobile Water Treatment/Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Plant.  You may recall, the North Shore Containerized plant was completed in 2007 and Tynes Bay Seawater reverse Osmosis Plant (Phase I) was commissioned in January 2009.  Phase II of the Plant was completed and commissioned in June 2011.  The facility is now connected to the reservoirs at Prospect and also services the North Shore Truckers’ Outlet.   

The Plant requires an additional well to be installed to meet the design production of 1,000,000 gallons per day.  This production output will ensure an adequate supply of potable (drinkable) water for the central distribution area.  It is anticipated that the works on the installation of this additional well will be completed by mid 2012.

3 – Somerset Bridge, Watford Bridge, Harbour Road and Elbow Beach.

The Engineering Section of the Ministry has identified and scheduled a programme of remedial works for the upcoming fiscal year.  Works to the drawbridge portion of Somerset Bridge are planned as well as the replacement of expansion joints at Watford Bridge.  You may recall last year, the Elbow Beach steps were replaced to ensure locals and visitors enjoyed a safe experience at one of our most pristine beaches.  Additional works are planned on the access to Elbow Beach before the start of the tourist season.   

On Harbour Road, remedial works are planned to foreshore areas to ensure continued stability of the road surface

4 – Railway Trail Training Initiative

5 – Playgrounds Upgrades 

Upgrades to the existing infrastructure will also be undertaken this year.  As such, the Department of Parks plans to undertake renovations at the playground at Clearwater Beach at Southside in St. David’s.  The management of the playground will soon be transferred to the Department, and their first priority will be to renovate the site by designing and installing a completely new playground for the enjoyment of visitors to the park.  It should be noted that the equipment at the park is in disrepair and has reached the end of its life cycle.   

Renovations are also planned for the Mullet Bay Playground in St Georges as well as the Parsons Road Playground in Pembroke.  The Department will also install new concession operations at Warwick Long Bay east and west as well as John Smiths Bay to make the beach going experience all the more pleasant and convenient.

6 – Garbage Collection-New Garbage Collection Vehicles.

In the area of garbage collection, the Ministry is taking collection of 8 new garbage collection vehicles in the coming months (May 18th 2012).  We were placed on a long waiting list by the manufacturer as a result of the earthquakes experienced in Japan in 2011.

In addition, we should be able to secure spare parts for these vehicles through HFI Truck Centre rather than the Japanese manufacturer – which should further reduce the time these vehicles may be off the road for repairs.

7 - Grand Atlantic:

The Grand Atlantic Development is another private–public partnership development of residential condominiums located on the South Shore in Warwick.  Following on the success of the Loughlands model, the Grand Atlantic Development will initially consist of sixty-two (62) two (2) bedroom units and sixteen (16) three (3) bedroom units.  The units will be offered to qualified purchasers and will be one of the first achievable housing projects located on the Majestic South Shore of Bermuda with beautiful ocean views.  The development, located within easy access of a South Shore beach and the proposed park at Southlands, will also include elements of sustainable and renewable energy to ensure that future plans are in synch with the Government’s stance on going green.  The development has received permission for a special financial vehicle from the lending institutions.  We will soon release important information on favourable lending terms for the Development.

Anyone interested in purchasing one of these units is advised to contact the BHC for information on the special financing packages available.

8 –Community Development

Finally, in the spirit of “Let’s build one another together” the Ministry plans to participate in community development initiatives by providing materials for persons in the community to come together and build club facilities where there is a need, for example White Hill in Sandy’s.