St George is special – this is widely recognised! It is unique and retains so much charm, natural beauty, and original built heritage that it holds the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. This is a source of pride to residents and should be a significant visitor-based economic opportunity. Yet it is widely recognised that this opportunity has not yet been optimally leveraged. Just as significant, St. George is also a living town, with residents who aspire to the benefits of modern society.
A report by the Bermuda Economic Development Council as part of the background to declaring St George an Economic Empowerment Zone in 2011, considered that historically at least, St Georgians have been liberal and progressive in their thinking and open to new ideas, but it also concluded that throughout its history, the economic success of the town was largely driven by external forces. The report concluded that St. George has been reactionary in its economic development; that good times came when outside forces brought pulses of people to the town
The Corporation of St George recognises that we can no longer afford such a reactionary approach. In planning for the future of St George, we also know that like many other towns and cities, we are faced with a growing list of challenges that include economic (rising costs, supply chain issues, declining tourism, changing retail habits, small internal markets and vulnerability to external market shocks), social (lack of affordable housing, ageing population, inflation), environmental (increasing pollution, loss of natural habitat) and some, such a climate change, which have an over-arching impact on all of these.
This Strategic Plan represents our commitment to address the current challenges facing the Town, and to be prepared for those challenges yet to come. We believe we can use these challenges as opportunities to strengthen our resilience.
But it’s a commitment that needs us to work together towards what we hope is a collective goal, to deal with the problems head on, to make tough decisions, to embrace hard work and to seek innovative solutions. It calls for us to remain open minded.