Whip questions legality of quarry operation

  • Residents’ fears: rubble unloaded at the Grand Atlantic construction site (File photograph)

Developer Gilbert Lopes was accused yesterday of “making an illegal operation legal” over a plan to introduce a quarrying operation next to the Grand Atlantic development on South Shore.

Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, told the House of Assembly that the work near the apartment complex was a health risk to area residents.

Mr Scott said: “Anything that starts wrong can only end wrong.”

He also called on Mr Lopes to “withdraw his retroactive planning application”.

The notice, published in the Official Gazette on April 27, asked for approval for “a temporary facility for the processing of Bermuda stone into sand”.

Mr Scott said: “It is illegal, and the whole country knows that it’s illegal.”

He added that a quarry built decades ago at Cobbs Hill had tainted home water tanks with sediment and had been implicated in the death of a resident.

Mr Scott said: “Their medical records showed that their cancer was most likely attributed to their water and sediment in that water.”

He added that nearby residents on South Shore had spotted “trucks showing up with rubble and leaving with sifted sand”.

Mr Scott said: “I want Gilbert Lopes to know that everyone on the hill is watching you and what you do.”

He added that yesterday was the deadline for objections to the project and that residents had already submitted a petition against it.

Mr Scott said: “You want to talk about neighbourhood watch — we have a constituency watch.”

Mr Lopes branded the attack yesterday as “a vendetta against a successful contractor”.

The developer said: “When I was up there doing Grand Atlantic, we had a processing permit for aggregate and sand.

“When we finished, we couldn’t do that processing any more because it was just for that development.”

Mr Lopes said the area was used to store equipment and rubble from an excavation job in Hamilton.

He added: “We haven’t processed anything. I have my stuff on my property, not realising that I needed a permit.

“We applied for a permit to continue to store and then process what we had up there. It’s less than a year’s job.”

He added that there was “a shortage in Bermuda of aggregate and sand” that would otherwise have to be imported.

Mr Lopes said: “It keeps construction going, keeps people surprised and keeps costs down.”

He added that he had not received complaints from residents in the surrounding area.

Mr Lopes said that Mr Scott’s complaint “doesn’t surprise me”.