My pledge to deliver solutions in Smith’s North

Canvassing these past several months, I have listened to concerns from residents across Smith’s North.  Some concerns are personal to families, yet they echo similar concerns heard all across our Island.  These include the state of our roads, our struggling education and health systems, and monetary hurdles generally.

Other concerns shared with me are more local, involving the C10 community.  No matter the issue, those I meet on doorsteps, and in their homes, often ask me the same question: What would the OBA do?

Our community is tired of lip service.  Our people are desirous of tangible solutions and the sooner the better.  If elected, my pledgeis a simple one: to get the job done for the people of Smith’s North.

On the national issues, my OBA team will continue to listen, collaborate, and deliver upon solutions for Bermuda.  On the local issues in C10, here’s a snapshot of concerns people are sharing with meand the solutions I will deliver if elected as the local MP.

Roads and tree and shrubs overgrowth

There has been a lack of attention to our roads, which creates safety risks for both the public and our tourists.  Like many other Bermudians, the residents of C10 tell me this issue can and should be addressed.

What would the OBA do?

The OBA believes that we need to get ‘back to basics’.  This means focusing on getting the basic things done – and done well.  

For a start, we need to create a priority list of road issues, and then deliver on it.  The current Minister for Public Works told Parliament it would take $100 million to repave our Island’s roads.  Given how much this Government has wasted elsewhere (think $100 million wasted on Grand Atlantic/Bermudiana Beach Resort for example), repaving our crumbling infrastructure is money well spent.  And this needs to get started right away.  Those roads are not going to pave themselves.

So itemise, prioritise, and realise.  And use common sense too.  Let’s start by fixing roads that are frequent accident spots, intersections, and areas of heavy use.  And while we are at it, let’s institute regular and rotating maintenance schedules to deal with the vegetation, including at both ends of our Island, which traditionally seem ignored.

Cameras on Loyal Hill Pass

Residents of Loyal Hill Pass tell me that without any prior consultation, the Government installed cameras positioned so that, in some case, the cameras look into their homes.

What would the OBA do?

Residents appreciate that cameras can be effective to reduce crime.  Yet this goal must be balanced with the wishes of the neighbourhood.  Why not move the cameras to better ensure that privacy is not invaded?

Government should listen to the community, and work in partnership with residents.  Proper consultation with area residents needs to be done prior to determining whether and where cameras may be installed.  Again, its about proper delivery, making an extra effort to ensure problems are anticipated, so the job gets done right.

Reckless driving and speeding motorists on North Shore between Store Hill and Jennings Road

Area residents exiting their driveways tell me they have been victims of accidents, due to dangerous driving habits along this long stretch of road.  This road also shows significant signs of damage/buckling, common in other areas of constituency 10 as well.

What would the OBA do?

First, dangerous driving habits must be addressed.  Early training programmes are essential – these can and should be increased.  Poor driving can also be quelled by regular police presence, with checks to curb speeding when and where necessary.  We should also work with the BPS to consider whether to increase penalties for speeding, or create increased penalty zones in high-offending areas.

Although the current Government pledged to install speed cameras, they also decided to delay using the cameras to enforce speeding, which does not make much sense.  With today’s technology, operable speed cameras can and likely would help to stem the problem.

Store Hill Farm

You need not canvass too long in Smith’s North before hearing that Store Hill Farm is a major local issue for constituents.  The smells and sewage runoff onto the railway trail during heavy rains is unpleasant.  This long-standing issue for residents essentially started when the cow shed was built approximately eight years ago. Yet consultation between residents, the farm owner, and government departments has so far failed to resolve this longstanding issue.

What would the OBA do?

Not every problem is an easy one to solve.  Hopefully, the farmer’s latest proposals to bring in a new sewer truck and excavate to alter drainage will help to alleviate issues.  Even so, this neighbourhood issue greatly impacts upon residents.

We would start by reviewing the rules and regulations for the farm operations to determine whether they are being adhered to, and whether they are sufficient.  Have the necessary measures to fix the infractions been taken within a specified time period?  The farmer’s latest proposals may help – and no doubt everyone hopes they will – but they do seem a long time in coming.  Another possible solution might be for the owner to consider the dairy farm becoming a 13acre organic agricultural farm, to better assist Bermuda in its need for food security.  

I recognize that some of these issues will require hard work.  And some may take time to resolve.  Yet I have listened intently to the constituent concerns.  And I am ready to work hard to do deliver solutions to their problems.  As the Nobel Prize winning author Andre Gide aptly put it: Everything has been said before, but because nobody listens we have to have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

Bermudians have had enough of empty promises.  It’s time to deliver on your solutions.  Again, my simple pledge to you, the constituents of Smith’s North, is to work extremely hard for you – every day – to get the job done.

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