Vanterpool’s comments were made at the dedication of the 6-storney building ‘The Cutlass Tower’ yesterday. The building is owned by Patsy Lake.
In making the keynote address, Vanterpool spoke about changes taking place in Road Town as it continues to be developed and the size of buildings that will be expected.
He spoke of visiting Bermuda along with BVI architect Romney Penn about 10 years ago where they observed the make up of buildings in Hamilton. His mission on his return was to get the people of the BVI to understand and agree that the city of Road Town would grow and emerge and be built and therefore certain rules and regulations that were in place had to change. One of those rules was the maximum height for buildings in Road Town which was only 3 floors at the time.
Vanterpool who was also the Fourth District representative at the time, said discussions on this issue were held with the then Chief Minister Ralph O’Neal whom he said was very welcoming and entertaining to the idea and tried to understand it.
“Naturally when you forge through with changes, there is always opposition and that is healthy,” Vanterpool said.
He however said that the real test came when Romney Penn decided to put up a building which is more than 3 floors and he was stopped on various occasions by Town and Country Planning. Vanterpool spoke about the many meetings he held with the Chief Minister and cabinet to get the final decision to have the building constructed.
While they did not want to see the city of Road Town look like New York, Vanterpool and his colleagues just wanted to at least allow the understanding that it is commercially viable and is very possible to build taller buildings and yet maintain a green and beautiful city of Road Town.
According to the Communications and Works Minister, it’s not the government that creates this type of development. It is entrepreneurs and private citizens who believe in what they do, believe in what the future may hold and therefore take the risk and the chances to make the investments that are made in the city of Road Town, knowing fully well that 50 years ago, the Virgin islands was one way, today its another way and tomorrow regardless of how we think, change will come.
The Fourth District representative mentioned that change should not come without proper planning and that we should be thinking of what we do, what we want to see happen and it should not be automatic.
According to Vanterpool, from the time he was representative for the Road Town district in 1999 and when he came back into politics after the break he has been saying that, “no matter what we do or what we develop, we should develop it with BV Islanders in mind and we should develop it clearly to ensure that the city of Road Town is a pedestrian friendly city.”
He said when one is driving through RoadTown, they must understand that drivers, cars are guests of the city but pedestrians own the city, so cars need to prepare to drive slow to allow pedestrians to traverse through the city easily and comfortably; we must not expect to traverse through the city at a fast pace whether its morning, noon or night.