Here is a point by point presentation of just what the Ministry of Public Works is planning to do this year. Taken directly from the Budget:
•Following the serious fire that took place at Marsh Folly dump in March 2012, the Ministry now regularly carries out infrared surveillance to check for hot spots. During fiscal 2013-14 only three hot spots have been detected to-date which were dealt with before they became an issue.
• Total number of visitors to the Agricultural Exhibition last year: 23,000
• The amount of road centre line that has been marked out during fiscal 2013-14 is likely to reach 20km.
• In January the Ministry made $15,000 profit from the export and sale of old car batteries.
• Cost savings will be made by keeping the Swing Bridge closed this year.
• The amount of recycling materials picked up in a month for fiscal 2013-14 is 100 tons and the amount of e-waste picked up in the year will be around 40 tons.
• A total of 95 new plants and animals, and 141 photographic images were added to the collections in 2013 at BAMZ.
• During fiscal 2013-14 speed humps were placed by Works and Engineering crews in several locations such as on Berkeley Road, Woodlawn Road and Harrington Sound Road. Crews also brought some more electronic speed signs on the island such as the one placed on Middle Road Devonshire by Somerfield Academy.
• It is anticipated that there will have been five new bus shelters placed during fiscal 2013-14.
• The Waste Management budget has been decreased by $229,000 as compared to the 2013/14 Budget. This is as a result of a reduction in the amount of advertising and marketing as well as the removal of the KBB subsidy.
• In fiscal 2014-15 the new weigh bridge will be operational at the Airport Disposal Facility which will enable the Ministry to charge deliveries by the ton as opposed to the current mechanism of which is by the load. This will enable a more equitable pricing mechanism to be levied. It is forecasted that 20,000 loads of materials will be delivered to the Airport Disposal facility and the number of cars scrapped will be around 800 in the coming year.
• The Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility generates a forecast 6000 cubic yards of ash concrete that is used to form part of the land reclamation and storm protection at the airport waste management facility.
• In fiscal 2014/15 some of the schemes planned are:
• A roundabout at the junction of Middle Road and North Shore in Flatts
• A realignment of St David’s Road between number 1 and number 2 gates to use the old base road.
• Widening of Middle Road Warwick east of Burnt House Hill
• Traffic light control at the junction of Middle Road Southampton and Rockaway
• A roundabout at the junction of Blackwatch Pass and North Shore in Pembroke.
• $50,000 will be used to carry out design work on providing new facilities at the Quarry Depot.
• An Estate Management Plan is currently being developed.
• The Capital Expenditure for the proposed bathroom upgrades at the Government Administration Building and General Post Office has been given an allocation of $200,000.
• During the financial year 2013/2014 a number of upgrades were completed with some nearing completion. These include the refurbishment and painting of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, new roofs on the Prospect Depot building, Clearwater Middle School gym roof and Sandy’s Middle School Library roof. (These two school roof repairs will enable the schools to provide hurricane shelters at the East and West end during the hurricane season). The cleaning and painting of a number of schools was also completed in the 2013/2014 fiscal year and these including St George’s Pre School, East End Primary, Prospect Primary, West Pembroke Primary and Heron Bay Primary. West End Primary also benefited from and electrical upgrade during the year.
• Both the Government Administration building and General Post Office’s roofs are to be repaired, resealed and painted. Their exteriors will also be repainted and the General Post Office will have new windows installed.
• In 2013/14, the Ministry of Public Works offered a total of 142 hours of safety training.
• In 2013/14 The Sponsorship Programme continued to progress. The programme is a technical sponsored education initiative which is aimed at fast tracking the traditional Apprenticeship Programme and allows the students exposure to modern, professional working environments at the onset. The first set of students went off to New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) in January 2013. The students are currently studying the following disciplines: Associates Degree Programme- Automotive Technology- Associates Degree Programme-Automotive Collision and Repair Technology- Bachelor Degree Programme-Automotive Service Management Technology.
• There are six apprentices in the Building Maintenance Section who are currently attending Bermuda College studying Electrical Wiring and two employees who are continuing their studies overseas in the United Kingdom for Vehicle Body Collision and Spray Painting.
• The Ministry of Public Works also plays a part in the Government-wide Bursary Scheme and have two Bursary Students assigned to the Ministry.
• The Department of Parks will not be providing lifeguards for Coopers Island Nature Reserve, at Long Beach this year.
• The total Number of camping and special permits issued during fiscal 2013-14: 600. The increase in the number of Special Permits issued reflects the popularity of the National Parks as venues for social functions such as church and family picnics, weddings and family reunions. n
• Total number of Lifeguard Rescues during fiscal 2013-14: 74.
• Total number of plants installed at Government House during fiscal 2013-14: 10,000.
• Total number of woodchip truckloads supplied to schools, playgrounds and Botanical gardens by Parks crews during fiscal 2013-14: 200.
• Total number of events in the Botanical Gardens during fiscal 2013-14: 45.
• Total number of bedding plants produced at Tulo Valley Nursery during fiscal 2013-14: 40,000.
• Total number of adult admissions for Forts and Historical Sites during fiscal 2013-14: 3000
• Total number of children admissions for Forts and Historical Sites during fiscal 2013-14: 1000.
• Total number of school or senior tours for Forts and Historical Sites during fiscal 2013-14: 30.
• Total number of acres of railway trail managed per year by Parks: 70.
• Total number of visitors to the Agricultural Exhibition last year: 23,000
• The Woodland Management Team of Parks will create a walking trail at Admiralty House Park to encourage activity in the more remote, yet beautiful section of this property.
• At Fort George major works were carried out by Parks teams last year including cutting away the vegetation on the moat floor and removal of root systems on the moat and building walls, treating the roots with herbicides, resurfacing of the moat floor and removal of horticultural debris and waste from the site.
• Last year Parks installed gates at Southlands to prevent dumping of rubble and old furniture etc.
• Planning approval has been received for the John Smiths Bay restrooms and lifeguard facility. Excavation has begun and the tendering process has commenced.
• Planning approval has been received for the footbridge at Baileys Bay, and clearance work on the adjacent section of the Railway Trail has been carried out in anticipation of the installation of the footbridge.
• The Department of Parks had two employees graduate from the Park Maintenance Management School at the Oglebay National Training Center, which is affiliated with North Carolina State University.
• The Department of Parks intends to carry out the following projects for 2014/15:
1) Completion of the Southlands Management Plan
2) Renovation of Parson’s Road Playground
3) Repairs to the Kindley Field Boat ramp, which is one of the few public boat ramps in the island
4) Installation of Cannon onto turrets at Alexandra Battery
5) Installation of Number One Gun onto a wooden carriage at Fort St. Catherine
6) Movies in the Park Series from June through September 2014
7) Christmas in the Park and Craft Market in December 2014
8) Upgrade the Department of Parks website
9) Completion of the Maintenance yard facility, to replace the original destroyed by Hurricane Fabian
10) Completion of the John Smiths Bay bathroom and Lifeguard facility
• The Department of Conservation Services’ expenditure for 2014/2015 is a reduction of 5% on the original estimate for 2013/2014. This decrease is primarily accounted for by the closure of the library every Friday, reduction in daily maintenance of the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo (BAMZ), termination of the marine ecology water quality project and the promotion budget.
• The vast majority of the capital development allocation for Conservation Services this year will be used to support the repair of the Aquarium Hall Roof. The renovations are scheduled to begin in 2014 and will be completed in phases in order to allow the aquarium to remain open during the six months it is anticipated that the work will take.
• Admissions and subsequently the revenue for the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo have remained relatively stable from last year with visitation being over 84,000 people.
• This year the Department of Conservation Services continued to aggressively implement its invasive animal control program concentrating on the management of Red Eared Sliders, feral pigeons, feral chickens and crows. As a result over 8,500 have been culled from across the island.
• This year the department of Conservation Services launched Bermuda’s first official GeoTour. Since the launch on July 3rd 2013 over 50 people have successfully completed the tour, including a number that came to Bermuda specifically for the tour. The GeoTour is a unique way of drawing visitors to Bermuda and also of encouraging residents to get outside and explore Bermuda unique environment.
• This year the websitewww.conservation.bm received over 150,000 visits from users seeking information on Bermuda’s flora and fauna this year.
• Additions to Conservation Services’ website in 2013 included a feral bird control request form, enabling the public to easily submit a request for feral birds to be removed from their properties. This online system has already received over 400 requests for service.
• Work continued last year on the active recovery of Bermuda’s most endangered plants and animals. Much of this work continues to be done in partnership with local and overseas partners at minimal cost to the tax payer. Key species included active recovery of the Diamondback Terrapin, Sea grasses, Skink, Killifish, Cahow, Endemic Land Snail, Governor Laffan Fern and Longtail.
• The Department of Conservation Services completed a national recovery plan for managing Bermuda’s native Diamondback Terrapin. As part of the plan the department successfully artificially incubated Diamondback Terrapin eggs as part of a population enhancement initiative. As a result a total of 30 terrapin hatchlings were released into wetlands that have been identified as critical habitat for this reptile.
• A series of Bermuda Skink surveys were performed last year in a number of parks and nature reserves by Conservation Services’ staff. 12 skinks were captured and transferred to the Chester Zoo in the U.K. to be part of an off-island captive breeding population.
• Last year the Department of Conservation Services collaborated with a scientist from St. Louis University in the U.S.A. to study the taxonomic diversity of all killifish presently living on Bermuda. It is anticipated that this study will address a number of action items in the Bermuda killifish recovery plan and ultimately provide critical information necessary to continue managing these endangered and unique species.
• The major work of the year for Conservation Services was to apply for and successfully obtain the facility’s Accreditation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
• The number of visiting scientists and graduate students to BAMZ increased to 35, compared to 20 in 2012.
• BAMZ Museum staff delivered 57 lectures, tours and field trips to a variety of local and visiting student groups last year.
• This past year was the seventh year of the Marine Habitat Assessment Program. The marine ecology team resurveyed the 183 sites, which include coral reef, seagrass, algal beds and sand habitat, across the Bermuda Platform that were first surveyed in 2007. The captured data is continually analysed to determine whether there have been any changes in these marine habitats as well as the water column.
• This summer the marine ecology section, in collaboration with scientists from Florida International University, US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bermuda Turtle Project, continued to study the effects of green turtle grazing on seagrass. A better understanding of the relationship between green turtles and their essential habitats in Bermuda is pivotal for developing a conservation strategy that protects both the turtles and their habitat. As part of the study video cameras were attached to 19 green turtles. The video footage captured confirmed for the first time the food preferences of Bermuda’s green turtles and provide new information about their behavior
• The Marine History and Ocean Human Health Section of Conservation Services hosted and assisted in story production for a BBC Scotland film crew looking at the shipwreck “the Montana” a civil war blockade-runner, for a section in a 3 part series on Scottish built ships and how they changed the world.
• The work of The Marine History and Ocean Human Health Section featured in several local and international online and paper publications including LeFigaro and Agence France Presse and was instrumental in pulling together Bermuda’s attendance at two successful commercial dive shows in the UK and the US.
• The Custodian of wrecks has helped lead the research and writing NOAA and the Waitt Institute for the production of a comprehensive report on the archaeological recovery of artefacts from the “Mary Celestia”.
• In 2013 the “Mary Celestia” was featured as the first shipwreck to appear as a full virtual swim through on Google Maps street View survey.
• The population of Bermuda’s unique and endangered National Bird, the Cahow, has grown to a new record number of 105 nesting pairs, and 57 chicks fledged in 2013. This compares to only 18 nesting pairs with eight chicks in 1960.
• Phase 1 of the restoration of Coopers Island Nature Reserve has been completed with the demolition of several large buildings, major stands of invasive trees removed from the Well Bay Beach area and the planting of over 1,500 native and endemic plants.
• A new interpretive display describing protected species and habitats was installed in the Octagon building on Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve to assist with future education tours.
• A new infra-red “burrow-cam” was installed inside a Cahow nest burrow on Nonsuch Island to enable video footage of the growth of a Cahow chick to be taken through its development and posted on the internet for the first time for the benefit of the public and students. This will be live-streamed to enable live viewing during 2014.
• Works are being undertaken on Castle Island by the Terrestrial Conservation Officer and Crew to protect the historic fortifications of King’s Castle Fort and Devonshire Redoubt Fort from rampant growth of invasive Casuarina trees.
• Environmental tourism gained momentum in 2013 when a tour group of European birders and nature tour company guides travelled to Bermuda in November specifically to see Bermuda’s Cahow. This has already resulted in two more tours being booked from the U.K. for November of 2014.
• 1128 visitors, 903 of which were students, were given guided tours of The Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve during 2013
• In the year to come the Department will focus on:
1. Managing and improving the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo;
2. Developing and implementing a national strategy for the control and management of invasive species;
3. Continued recovery of Bermuda’s most threatened species and habitats;
4. Management of Cooper’s Island, Nonsuch Island and Castle Island nature reserves;
5. Providing advice and developing effective guidance on proposed development to minimize impact on conservation areas;
6. Managing Bermuda’s reef platform and coastal areas;
7. Studying and promoting Bermuda’s unique marine heritage;
8. Developing an eco-tourism strategy that capitalises on Bermuda’s unique natural and marine heritage.
• In the coming year BAMZ will renovate the existing Bermuda Zoological Society Gift Shop. These renovations will be accomplished through corporate donations and existing BZS funds.
• This year the department will develop Recovery plans for Bermuda’s endemic cave fauna, the Yellowwood tree, Seahorses and resident sea turtles as mandated by the Protected Species Act.
• A new interpretive site mapping will be developed for each nature reserve displaying walking trails and key areas of interest. This year maps will be developed for Spittal Pond, Cooper’s Island and Nonsuch Island.
• The Department is currently developing the web-based Bermuda Plantfinder customized to Bermuda’s needs. This product will not only enable easy identification of Bermuda’ common and not so common plants but will give helpful advice on where and what to plant for different situations.
• The Natural History Museum anticipates completing a Biodiversity Species website giving public access to taxonomic information on all species of plants and animals in Bermuda, along with access to a complete bibliography of all research publications with respect to Bermuda’s natural history, ecology and oceanography.
• This year the marine conservation section of Conservation Services will complete the eight- year Marine Habitat Assessment Program which will provide data on over 183 sites across Bermuda’s reef platform. This data set will help develop an integrated Marine Spatial Plan for Bermuda’s reef platform.
• This year the Department of Conservation Services will undertake an island-wide GIS Based survey and assessment of Mangroves, which will be developed into a recovery plan for this key species and as part of critical information needed for disaster management, such as an oil spill.
• The Historic Wrecks Authority will undertake a review of the Wrecks legislation, develop a National Underwater Cultural Heritage Management Plan and continue the Protected Dive Site Mooring program as an important component of the National Tourism Plan for offshore Bermuda.
• Parks saw a 48% decrease in their Travel budget during fiscal 2013-14.
• For the coming year the Department of Works and Engineering will be looking at new and innovative ways to reduce the energy costs of street lighting and its impact on the country’s carbon footprint. The current trial of the use of LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology on Trimingham Hill between the Crow lane and South Road roundabouts is an example of this.
• A significant amount of sidewalks have been constructed during the fiscal year 2013-14. Examples include North Shore Pembroke by Grassy Bay and North Shore Smiths by Gibbet Island which not only improved safety for pedestrians but motorists as well.