Cayman Islands is ninth signatory to the Hamilton DeclarationNovember 29, 2018
The Cayman Islands is the newest signatory of the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea. The Hon. D. Kurt Tibbetts, OBE, JP, Minister for Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure signed the Hamilton Declaration on behalf of the Government of the Cayman Islands on 3 January.
The Hon. N. Cole Simons, JP, MP, Minister of the Environment, said, “I am very pleased that the Cayman Islands is now part of a growing number of jurisdictions lending oversight and protection to this important ecosystem. The Cayman Islands is the ninth signatory to date.”
The Hamilton Declaration, as the name implies, was originally signed in Bermuda in March 2014 by five governments – The Azores, Bermuda, Monaco, the United Kingdom and the United States. The British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Canada signed in 2016.
The Hamilton Declaration is a political commitment by the signatories to work with the Government of Bermuda and the Sargasso Sea Commission to conserve the Sargasso Sea—the huge, iconic high seas ecosystem in the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre.
The Hamilton Declaration mandated the Government of Bermuda to establish the Sargasso Sea Commission to “exercise a stewardship role for the Sargasso Sea and keep its health, productivity and resilience under continual review. “
The Sargasso Sea Commission is appointed by the Government of Bermuda after consultation with the other signatories. It is composed of “distinguished scientists and other persons of international repute committed to the conservation of high seas ecosystems that would serve in their personal capacity.” The Bermudian commissioner is Dr. Tammy Trott.
Dr. David Freestone, Executive Secretary of the Sargasso Sea Commission, added, “The signing of the Hamilton Declaration in 2014 was an historic event in the move toward conservation of the high seas. The Commission is delighted to welcome the Cayman Islands as the most recent signatory.”
Solar photovoltaic rebate initiative (SPRI)November 29, 2018
Solar photovoltaic panels convert light energy from the sun into electrical energy which you can use in your home. A device called an inverter conditions the electricity from the solar panels so it is compatible with your appliances and can be exported back into the electrical grid when the panels produce more electricity than you need. The inverter also ensures the system operates safely by automatically disconnecting the system from the electrical grid when necessary.
Solar photovoltaic panels contain no moving parts to wear out, break or replace and therefore minimal maintenance is required to keep the system running. The systems are robust, modular and can be installed almost anywhere, they produce no noise, harmful emissions or polluting gases during normal operation.
Although solar energy is free, solar photovoltaic systems are not, so the Department of Energy has created the Solar Photovoltaic Rebate Initiative (SPRI) to help offset some of the associated costs. The funds are limited, so participation in the SPRI will be on a first come, first serve basis.
Who is Eligible for the Rebate?
The SPRI is available to residents of Bermuda who wish to install a solar photovoltaic generation system on a residential dwelling which they own provided that the ARV is $120,000 or less. This rebate was launched on October 11th, 2018. Installations in receipt of a certificate of occupancy prior to this date will not be considered for a rebate.
The SPRI applicant will be awarded on a tiered basis:
Solar PV rebate
0 > $30,000
$2/Watt, up to $8K
$30,001 > $65,000
$1/Watt, up to $4K
$65,001 > $120,000
$1/Watt, up to $2K
Only one SPRI application will be allowed per assessment number. Once you have selected a participating installer, they should be able to assist you in determining the exact amount for which you are eligible.
Solar Photovoltaic Quality Standards and Installer Certification
All solar photovoltaic panels used for the SPRI must be UL 1703 listed and inverters must comply with IEEE
1547 and UL 1741. The manufacturer of solar photovoltaic panels used for the SPRI should also provide a multi-year warranty on their performance and structural integrity.
Installations should be carried out by a participating solar photovoltaic installer. They should be able to assist you in determining if solar technology is right for your home and help you with the SPRI and Planning application processes.
SPRI Application Procedure
The steps below provide guidance on the required Government processes for securing permission to have a solar photovoltaic system installed and payment to be made through SPRI, if eligible.
- Step 1: Select an experienced/reputable installer
- Step 2: Submit the following applications:
- SPRI Application to the Department of Energy
- You should expect to be assigned a reference number for your project, which is what confirms the availability of funds for your project.
- Estimated Process Time: 1 Week
If the total collector area is 1,000 square feet or less and not located within a required setback submit the following application (call the Department of Planning if unsure of setback requirements):
- Permitted Development Permit to the Department of Planning
- Estimated Cost: $240
- Estimated Process Time: 5 Working Days
If the total collector area is more than 1,000 square feet submit the following application to the Department of Planning:
- DAP1 planning application for development as well as the following documents:
- 4 x Lcation plans, showing the property outlined in red and access to the site highlighted in yellw
- 4 x Site plans, shwing the position of the proposed system in relation to boundaries, buildings and existing vegetatin.
- 4 x elevatin plans and/or photo montage, showing what the panels will look like
- 3 x Cmpleted DAP1 applicatins forms, including details of the system dimensions, height, construction type and clour.
- A letter f acknowledgement signed by the owner of an adjacent prperty located within a required setback (call the Department of Planning if unsure of setback requirements)
- Estimated Cost: $350 *(A retroactive application fee costs $6,000)
- Estimated Process Time: 4 – 6 weeks
- Building Permit application to the Department of Planning once the system is approved
- Estimated Process Time: 2 weeks
Once a building permit has been issued, (either a Permitted Development Permit or DAP1), various mandatory inspections by a building inspector are required during the system installation process.
The documentation that accompanies the building permit contains information for the mandatory required inspections.
The Department of Planning will issue a Certificate of Completion and Occupancy once the system has been installed to the required standards as determined during the inspection process. BELCO can then connect you to the grid.
Submit an SPRI Payment Application Form to the Department of Energy,
with copies of your Certificate of Occupancy and Completion. The Department of Energy cannot issue any payment without that Certificate.
Bermuda represented at World Heritage conferenceNovember 29, 2018
Representatives for ‘The Historic Town of St. George and Related Fortifications’ were in London this past week for ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’, the 2018 World Heritage UK Conference.
World Heritage Site Management Committee member Councilor Elizabeth Christopher and Acting Heritage Officer in the Government Department of Planning Dr. Charlotte Andrews attended two days of sessions, networking, and tours at the Tower of London and Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Sites (photo attached).
World Heritage UK is the only organization exclusively focused on World Heritage in the UK. Its mission is to raise the profile and secure the future of UK World Heritage Sites by advocating for support and resources, promoting the Sites’ values, and facilitating networking, training and sharing of good practice.
Bermuda’s ‘Historic Town of St. George and Related Fortifications’ joins Henderson Island, Gough and Inaccessible Island, and Gorham’s Cave Complex in Gibraltar as the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in UK Overseas Territories.
Dr. Andrews is coordinating a UNESCO-required review of the Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Plan with the World Heritage Site Management Committee, for which she served as volunteer Chair for the past two years. Elizabeth Christopher is a longstanding member of the World Heritage Site Management Committee, a Councilor for the Corporation of St. George and a St. George’s resident.
“The timing and theme of the World Heritage UK conference aligned with our current work,” said Dr. Andrews. “The issues we explored in London are informing our management plan review, which is taking a holistic look at the needs of the World Heritage Site and will involve extensive public consultation. The conference was also a chance for us to introduce Bermuda’s World Heritage Site to fellow delegates and to benefit from their expertise and experience, especially those who had recently reviewed their management plans.”
Dr. Andrews added, “Whilst in London, Councilor Christopher and I also took the opportunity to meet with advisors from the UK State Party to the World Heritage Convention. We also met with World Heritage UK President Chris Blandford. Mr. Blandford visited Bermuda in May as part of a survey he is conducting of all 31 UK World Heritage Sites.”
Bermuda’s World Heritage UK annual membership and attendance at this year’s conference is supported by the Bermuda-based UNESCO World Heritage Fund, which is administered by the Corporation of St. George.
Department of Planning Celebrates its Summer InternsNovember 9, 2018
“Where are Bermuda’s vacant lots located and is there a potential for future building?”, “What is the status of Bermuda’s protected trees?”, “What is the correlation between abandoned buildings and crime on the island?” – These are just a few examples of the many questions four of Bermuda’s young people have been answering this summer during their internship at the Department of Planning.
Under the supervision of Information Systems Officer Stewart Bruce and Senior Planning Officer Julie Marshall, Jessica Tannock, Onè Hart, Antonio Bailey and Meredith Gillespie have been doing research and writing reports about different aspects involved in the planning of the island.
Acting Director of the Department of Planning Chris Bulley said, “While it’s vital that we all support and develop the skills of young Bermudians, the real delight has been to witness their enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and the fresh perspectives they brought to the tasks they were assigned. We believe they will return to their studies with a fuller understanding of how their theoretical knowledge needs to be adapted and applied to real project situations.
“We are both pleased and proud to have hosted each one of our talented interns and take this opportunity to thank them for their valued contributions to the Department, to celebrate their individual achievements and to wish them well as they continue their studies.”
Jessica Tannock commenced her summer internship with the Department of Planning on August 7th 2017.
Jessica said, “I began with learning how to use the ArcGIS map-making software and was proud of the compositions resulting from my practice assignments. For the remainder of the internship I will focus on a project which entails recording and assessing the island’s abandoned buildings. The data gained can be used to identify demographic trends that occur in the vicinity of these structures. There will be a map and research report generated from this project. In addition to increasing my knowledge of ArcGIS, the project will assist me in furthering my abilities in research, report writing and public consultation. I am confident that the skills to be developed through this internship will be of value to me in the immediate and distant future.”
Onè Hart is currently working on Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) during her internship. TPOs protect specific trees or a particular area, group or woodland from deliberate damage and destruction.
Onè said, “My job is to plot the name of the trees, their location and their description. It is also important for me to identify areas missing protected trees. If I find a protected tree is no longer in place, I must make a note of the missing tree on the ArcGIS mapping software. Once I’ve plotted all of the trees, I will print the maps and photograph preserved trees.”
Student Antonio Bailey is about to begin his third year of university, studying Computer Networking at London Metropolitan University. For the past 10 weeks he has been assigned to the Forward Planning Section of the Department for his internship.
Antonio said, “Working in the Forward Planning Section has exposed me to many new things and opportunities such as learning how to use a geographical information system known as ArcGIS. Many of the projects I have worked on for the Department have been based around ArcGIS; doing things such as editing conservation areas (i.e. Woodland Reserves and Agricultural Reserves) and mapping Conservation Management Plans.
“Working in the Department has been a great experience in all aspects – the people, the work, and the exposure that you receive. Before this internship I didn’t have a full understanding of what Planning actually did or what they are responsible for. Being here for the past 10 weeks has really opened my eyes and allowed me to appreciate the many things that they are involved in throughout Bermuda and all of the hard work that is required for each of the different processes. I would definitely recommend more people take the opportunity to intern with the Department.”
Meredith Gillespie described her experience at the Department of Planning as “incredible”.
Meredith said, “I was given the opportunity to create a report on residential land availability on the island. The objective was to determine whether there is enough land which is currently zoned as residential. The report involved examining the current amount of residential zoned land, land use and land supply. I was also able to analyze vacant lot and uninhabitable unit data. Using these data sources, I was able to determine the extra carrying capacity of residentially zoned land to support future residential demand. Not only did I gain experience using the ArcGIS software in this position, I also strengthened my report writing skills. My data analysis and representation skills were enhanced through the creation of a professional report with tables, charts and maps. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about the different sections within Planning and I even went out on some site visits! This experience has been invaluable and I am looking forward to applying what I have learnt in my future endeavors.”