Chief Justice deals blow to Government ATV approval

Chief Justice deals blow to Government ATV approval

The Public Works Minister’s decision to allow an ATV tour company to operate in the West End has been quashed by The Chief Justice of Bermuda.

Chief Justice Narinder Hargun, in a written judgment said Public Works Minister Colonel David Burch,” assumed that planning permission was not required” in granting the approval for this ATV proposal and equates to an error in law.

The public rejected the introduction of a new guide tour company with access to National parks in the Railway Trail, Hog Bay Park and Fort Scaur in Sands during public consultation period in November 2017.

Out of 628 valid responses – 2 were in favour and 626 against.

Despite this, the Minister approved a “Licence to Use Vehicles on Government of Bermuda Property” for a trial period of one year to Rudolph Buddy Hollis’ tour company.

The Bermuda National Trust joined the legal action as an interested party and welcomes the Justice’s ruling. Its Bill Zuill told Bermuda Broadcasting News: “One of the major issues here is that nobody really knows what the effects will be.

“Had the Government made an application to planning… then it’s likely the Development Applications Board would have required an environmental impact assessment be done on the proposal”.

Mr Zuill added the Trust encourages echo tourism in Bermuda. “You don’t want to conduct echo tourism that may actually have the effect of damaging the very  environment we’re promoting to our visitors,” he added.