A ruling is expected to be handed down on October 16 to determine the way forward for 4M Harbour Island Limited’s Briland Club Residences and Marina development, after a judicial review proceeding was brought against it by Ben Simmons, owner of The Other Side hotel, and Br-Island Responsible Development Ltd. (BIRD).
The parties were back in court yesterday, where they found out that next month Justice Diane Stewart will clarify whether the Planning and Subdivision Act or the Town Planning Act governs the process for obtaining approvals to develop the Briland Club’s marina and resort project.
According to the Planning and Subdivision Act, Harbour Island is not specifically referenced as one of the islands where the Planning and Subdivision Act applies, which would mean approvals for such developments rest with the Harbour Island District Council.
The attorneys for Briland Club developers 4M have argued this interpretation, while opposing council representing Ben Simmons and BIRD suggest that the Planning and Subdivision Act applies in this case.
In the act only the island of Eleuthera is referenced, not Harbour Island.
Yesterday, more than a dozen Harbour Island residents attended the hearing and expressed their interest and support for the development.
Martin Lee Grant, the public relations officer for the Harbour Island District Council, said there is support for the project because of the opportunities it will present for Harbour Island residents.
“It’s going to give Brilanders the opportunity for a better way of life,” Grant said.
“The project itself is an upgrade for the island. For the past 30 to 40 years we have been going back and forth with the small interest groups that want to keep Harbour Island back in the stone age.
“We have young Bahamians who have an opportunity to come back home to work for a reasonable wage. We are looking at the 4M project as an eye opener for us. It is going to upgrade our hospitality skills, it will upgrade the local vendors. This will be transformative for the young people who want to be entrepreneurs.”
According to Grant, of the 910 registered voters on Harbour Island, 724 signed the petition in favor of the 4M project.
“The morale in Harbour Island is very low,” he said. “We’re excited about it.”
Head of Harbour Island District Council Terrance Davis said Harbour Island residents went to court yesterday as the project is of importance to many of the island’s locals.
Davis said the island’s residents are of the view that the project will uplift tourism and bring jobs to the island.