Doubling the width of Town Cut is one of the options outlined in the report. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
Doubling the width of Town Cut is one of the options outlined in the report. *File photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27: No final decisions have been made on whether to widen Town Cut or Bermuda’s other shipping channels to accommodate larger cruise ships, according to Transport Minister Terry Lister.

Mr Lister said although a study into dredging the shipping channels had been completed, a lot of work still needed to be done before any action could take place.

And he maintained that the public would get their chance to have a say on the report at a series of Town Hall meetings next month.

He said: “To make an informed and well-founded decision, it is important to gather the facts and data to evaluate the risks, impacts and opportunities, and this is the overarching objective of the study.

“At this very early stage no decision has been made and there remains much work to be done on this subject.

“The public will also soon be informed about a series of Town Hall meetings scheduled for October 11, 12 and 13, where everyone will have the opportunity to learn more about the report and ask questions.

“I encourage the public to come out to these meetings so that we can move forward in a spirit of consultation and cooperation.”

Preempted

Earlier this month the Bermuda Sun revealed some of the options that were included in the ‘Study of Bermuda’s Shipping Channels to Accommodate Larger Cruise Ships’.

The report suggests that Town Cut would have to be more than doubled in width to accommodate the new generation of cruise ships, at a cost of $70 million.

And it states this work would involve destroying nearly 90 per cent of Higgs, Horseshoe and Hen islands.

The study also looks at the possibility of dredging Two Rock Passage and deepening the North and South Channels into Bermuda. Mr Lister said the contents of the draft report had been shared with “stakeholders” prior to being released to the public, in order to get feedback and comments.

He added: “Stakeholders were also asked to refrain from sharing the report with media as the Ministry of Transport wanted to avoid having the subject debated in the media prior to the public presentations and prior to the completion of the final report.

“Therefore it is extremely disappointing that an individual or group of individual stakeholders chose to provide the media with a copy of the report’s second draft, as the Ministry’s plans for dissemination and the public discourse process have now been pre-empted.

“The Ministry has honoured its commitment to ensure the process was inclusive but despite our best efforts others have chosen to betray the trust that was established.”