Burch puts foot down on ATV dispute

  • Trail plan: quad bikes
  • Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The views of residents outside Sandys will have no bearing on the Government’s decision on a controversial plan for quad bike commercial tours.

More than 600 people registered concerns over the proposal, including hundreds from outside the West End parish.

However, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, said that these views would not be considered.

Colonel Burch told a press conference: “If you live east of White Hill, you don’t get a say in this.”

The public were canvassed for their views on the use of all-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs, on the Railway Trail and protected reserves in Sandys last year.

The proposal came under fire from residents, farmers and environmental groups.

Colonel Burch said that the objections of the “500 people” east of White Hill were the same as the “160-odd” people who lived to the west.

He added: “So their objections will be considered. They just won’t have the weight of having objected to it having any bearing on the decision that is going to be made.”

He said that he was sick of Bermuda being the “country of no”.

Colonel Burch explained: “We say ‘no’ to everything, and then we ask ‘Now what’s the question?’”

He said that those not living in the neighbourhood would not be affected by the proposed business.

Colonel Burch added: “You don’t live in the west, so you’re not going to hear the bikes. It’s astounding to me how all these people who live nowhere near the issue object to it.”

He said that a final decision on whether the tours would be permitted had not been made.

He added of the decision: “I did announce publicly that it would be by the 15th of February, but that’s likely to be delayed.”

Concerned residents posted comments on Facebook last week after quad bikes were spotted in the old bus terminal on Beacon Hill Road and on the Railway Trail.

Colonel Burch said he took “some particular offence” to people that “see things and jump right to the conclusion that they have been misled or lied to”.

He said the ATVs were brought out last week at his request as part of his “due diligence” to see the bikes and how they operate first-hand.

Colonel Burch said he and transport minister Walter Roban viewed and rode the vehicles last Thursday.

He added: “Just to be clear, I was quite impressed that the proprietors actually went to TCD and got a one-day licence.”

Colonel Burch said he also took offence to a letter he had received over the weekend from a group that said it hoped he would consider their objections to the proposal for commercial tours.

He explained: “If I said I’m going to do it, I’m actually going to do it.

“And so when you say you hope, what you’re saying is that you don’t believe me.”