I am starting this thread to see what you all think about this situation we have in Bermuda, I realize it is a very local topic and the fine details are almost impossible to impart, but comments anecdotes and facts like Treeseer's tree value quote from the 'Hello' thread, would be valuable to me. I don't expect everyone to agree, but hey, that's why we're here!
We are currently in a furore here over plans of the Gov't to build a new hospital, in what is currently the Bermuda Botanical Gardens (BG)
We need a new acute care hospital, this fact is not in debate, the present King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH)dates from the 1960's (the old, old one went back to the 1920's) and has had upgrades, additions and renovations, but the infrastructure is now too old and out of date to properly support the needs of the community.
The problem is WHERE the Gov't is proposing to build the new hospital - on 10 acres of the best part of the existing Botanical Gardens (right next to the current hospital site) This area contains mature specimen trees, 130 year old Ficus elastica, palm collection, sensory garden, Magnolia, Myrtle, Hibiscus collections, cactus, exotic and orchid houses. Also the offices of the Department of Parks and the Department of (how ironic) Environmental Protection.
This site was shortlisted with two others, the Arboretum (!) and the existing KEMH site. What they are telling us that Gov't set a cap of 500 million and to rebuild the KEMH on the existing site will exceed that by 100 million and will take two years longer.
It is SO ironic that we have just undergone a whole Sustainable Development Initiative, we now have action plans and there have been public meetings about how we must look to live better and smarter now in order to preserve the future for those to come.
There were three public meetings this week after the Gov't made its announcement that it had chosen the BG site for reasons of cost, time and patient safety. These meetings were PACKED with outraged citizens. BUT Cabinet has made a decision, can we influence it enough for them to reconsider??? They are wavering a bit.
Some folks just don't see what all the fuss is about - we need a hospital, so we lose a few trees - big deal. What we lose is 10 acres of open space in an Island of 22 square miles, we lose a 'green lung' in an area very close to the city, we fragment our third largest National Park (32 acres in total) we make a mockery of 'Sustainable Development' by not being creative enough to rebuild on the same site, we lose over 100 years of history, we lose a place that 200,000 peole visit every year to learn, relax, exercise, eat lunch, sit off and chill out!
They say they need 10 acres, their present site is 17!! and includes obsolete buildings, carparks and a water catch, - redevelop a 'brownfield site' and leave the BG to be enjoyed for the future. Oh yes, they say that once the new hospital is build, they'll tear down the old one and turn the site into a park, thereby resulting in a 'net gain' of 4 acres of open space. How can previously developed, excavated, altered land compare to undeveloped original topography?
What value do we give open space for peoples', physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing? Can open space compete with the need for an up to date medical facility? Should we care?
Thanks for the time and space