Given the revelation of the Supreme Court that the approval of developments for Harbour Island must be decided by the Harbour Island District Council, Council member Ashley Percentie told Guardian Business that the council, given its “newfound” power, “could actually get some things done”.
Percentie said the council was shocked to learn, at the conclusion of a case brought against the Briland Residences and Marina development by owner of The Other Side hotel Ben Simmons and the Br-Island Responsible Development Ltd. (BIRD), that it would have the final say on the future of the multimillion-dollar project.
“What was so mysterious was we gave our approval in principle, but because of the size of the project we thought it had to go through Nassau,” said Percentie.
“Then we found out we could approve anything. We were amazed. We actually are the governing board. We could actually get some things done.
“Once you have folks that are elected and they study the local government act and everyone is knowledgeable, we could actually see some things happen.”
The Harbour Island District Council is the island’s local governing body now, given the precedent set in the Briland Residences and Marina development case, where it was found that Harbour Island is not specifically referenced as one of the islands where the Planning and Subdivision Act applies, which means approvals for developments rest with the Harbour Island District Council.
4M Harbour Island Limited, the developers of Briland Residences and Marina, were forced to secure new approvals for its Harbour Island project after the court ruling that found that approvals were granted by the wrong entity, due to confusion in the language of the Planning and Subdivision Act.
That approval was granted by the Harbour Island District Council on Friday after it held a mandatory town hall meeting on Thursday to properly exercise its power to approve projects for the island.