Archive Entry: Land reclamation project

The following piece was written nearly a year ago around the time when Dr. Brown was taking his famed trip to Dubai which has recently resulted in the Southlands proposal.  It was never published but I’ve decided to throw it up here.

Dr. Brown recently took a trip to Dubai to attend a conference on tourism.  I do wonder if perhaps he took note of some other developments going on there.  Having a background in Engineering, I’ve had an ongoing fascination with development projects around the world.  Recently, I’ve taken keen interest in the progress of Dubai as they’ve taken on some colossal projects that are so big they’re almost impossible to believe.

It is incredible to consider that tremendous wealth is being invested into a region in the Middle East that has effectively run out of oil.  The development of these projects stemming from their government’s decision to diversify away from an oil-reliant economy into one that is service and tourism based.

One truly amazing example is that of the Burj Dubai, which is a tower under construction and is set to break all records in terms of the world’s tallest structure.  It will stand at an impressive 750 meters high and be host to 200 habitable floors.  By comparison the world’s tallest free standing structure, the CN Tower of Toronto, stands at a mere 553 meters.

Some of Dubai’s other developments include the world’s tallest hotel, the Burj al-Arab, built on an artificial island; the world’s largest man-made marina, the Dubai Marina; the world’s largest artificial island, the Palm Islands; an archipelago of artificial islands shaped like the continents of the Earth, entitled The World; the Dubai Waterfront; the worlds largest airport, Jebel Ali International Airport; the world’s largest amusement park, Dubai Land, which is suggested to be more then twice the size of Disney Land; and the world’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall.

So many amazing projects all in the scope of one region that has run out of natural resources and is reshaping the face of it’s development to target a new future.  I can’t help but feel inspired to consider that perhaps we have the potential to undertake our own incredible projects. 

Land reclamation, like that which is being used to construct Palm Islands and The World, is certainly not a new concept for Bermuda having been the source of how our airport was constructed.  Such a concept could certainly be used to overcome many of our difficulties, especially in terms of great new projects to diversify our economy, encourage regrowth of tourism, and reach closer towards sustainability.

The proposed redesign of Hamilton harbour is a perfect example of how we could begin reclaiming land from the sea.  In the past, such as outlined in the ’63 Dyer Report, other land reclamation ideas have been proposed which outlined land that could be reclaimed at the causeway, great sound and spanish point.  Land reclamation was also what brought us the flat space requirement that gave us our own airport. All of these wonderful examples only spur my thoughts on to what opportunities there may be to solve our problems of today.

Thanks to modern satellite photography resources provided by the internet and companies like Google, I don’t need arial photography and expertise like those used in latter years to make a rough assessment of what potential there may be.  By simply glancing at the satellite photos of Bermuda and using relatively simplistic deductive reasoning, I can gain a tremendous overview of what Bermuda’s general surroundings look like.

From these deductions, I could only begin to wonder if perhaps we could consider our own artifical island project as a means to spur growth of not only new industry, but new development.  By viewing these maps alone, it would appear that ideal sites for such a project could be to the west of the island as well as to the north of Somerset. 

Could such a location be the site of our own great project, focused towards revitalzing tourism by creating unique resorts and new housing?  Could we reach so far ahead into our future to make ourselves competitive with other destinations like Las Vegas?  Could we build the ultimate conference center and rival the world as host to year round trade shows, events, conferences and the like? 

I suppose all it really takes is a little imagination and a few big ideas.  Dubai certainly hasn’t held back on ensuring a sustainable future.  Perhaps it’s time we ensured our own.

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4 thoughts on “Archive Entry: Land reclamation project

  1. In terms of conferences and trade shows I think Bermuda could be a good alternative as destination of choice with a venue different then the traditional, assuming we had the right facilities.
    The only reason why I mentioned Las Vegas was because I saw that as a place where many of these style of functions are held, though they are held all over.
    Thinking about it now I have little doubt that people will instantly assume I mean compete with Las Vegas in terms of casinos, which I believe would be an unfortunate waste of time. A casino in Bermuda would be nothing new that couldn’t be had elsewhere. It would add only a little to our overall product at what may end up being higher costs to our society overall.

  2. A terrible idea! We have one of the last healthy coral reefs in the Atlantic and you want to build islands all over it!
    There were plans to do such back in the 1950s. The end result, fortunately, was the North Shore Coral Reef Preserve, which was to block “developers” from covering Brackish Pond Flats, White Flats etc in rubble to make more land. One architect even proposed to Govt that we could build a wall around the rim of the platform and make our island 700 sq. km. instead of the paltry 35 km it is now. Great idea if you want to fill the island with voters that like your particular political party. But then we would all live in a flat crappy congested version of Florida, but without any reef to protect us from erosion, sea level rise or tsunami. Also gone would be the fishing industry, eco-tourism, and basically Bermuda as we know it for some new techno-bermuda. We might was well become independent and change the name of the country at that point because the Bermuda we know would be totally gone.
    Teddy Tucker did the cross-platform surveys to see if the reefs could support the weight of land-reclamation. Fortunately for us who care for the sea around us the carbonate substrate is not dense and would not work for reclamation, at least based on 1960s technology.
    The Dubai construction has caused regional devastation of their marine environment. We should not emulate their short-sighted actions!

  3. Good ideas Dennis but we need to scale it to a Bermuda setting. I think there is ample scope to create land and protect the enviroment on the Bermuda platform.I think Conservation services are presently doing surveys to establish which marine areas can be turned into Marine Parks. I think our whole Marine economic zone should be turned into the largest Marine Park in the Atlantic.Within the Bermuda rise platform there are many areas that could be transformed into land.The next big project will be the creation of a new Bermuda Port. We must do this in a careful and intelligent manner and not just create a new industrial area without regard to other uses. You are right about starting to plan now though.

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