Many of you might be familiar with Dolphin Park - in the West Landivar area - since it was featured on the news many times in 2007.
That was because residences of that area were up in arms about the plans of businessman David Gegg who wanted to build a marina and office complex on the property abutting the park.
And while the furor has subsided, the once proud Dolphin Park has gone to the dogs. When Monica Bodden visited with a concerned resident today - she found it in decrepitude and disarray:....
In 2007, residents of West Landivar literally fought to keep Dolphin Park standing - until this day. But according to one concerned resident of the area - the park has been ghetto-ized - since there simply hasn't been any maintenance being done for some time now.
Lennox Lamb, Concern Resident
"No maintenance has been done on the park. Back then I know you had a caretaker and a fulltime security that ensure that the amenities were kept intact and safe. He no longer works out here so you see park the way it is, we have no maintenance and no upkeep of the park what so ever."
According to Lamb, he was one of the very first persons involved in the construction of the park.
"Construction for this park cost something like nearly $150.000.00 for the construction of this park. Now look where we are at 7 years later. The park is completely a mist. I was one of the persons involve in the construction of the park. I was just out of UB, the construction started in late 2002. The actual plan for this park was done by a city resident Alex Tillett who actually drew the plans for the park. It was a wonderful park, very beautiful park. I could say clearly that this was the best park in the country of Belize."
This is what the over 100 thousand dollar park looks like today.
"It had a fully functional sea-salt water fountain that was built by a company E-Tech own by Elston Shaw, he is a resident of Caribbean Shores as well. It cost about maybe $15,000.00 to built that fountain, now its completely gone. If you look there you will see the pump, its cost the government about $4,000.00 to buy that salt water pump, it's there completely rotted and non-functional. Over there you had a beach volleyball court. Sand was actually imported all the way from San Pedro for the beach volleyball court. It no longer exists and over grown by grass, it cannot be use now; it was used by the Volleyball Association for numerous tournaments. But because of no maintenance, no care what so ever it was left to deteriorate. We had light bulbs all along the park. All the light bulbs have been damage, stolen and broken up, there are birds nesting in the light bulbs. That was actually a salt water aquarium, we allowed salt water to come in there, fishes were able to come in and swim, we had lights in the, kids could have come and see the fishes. If you look over there its swamp, garbage and all the lights are out, it's just heart breaking.
PACT is one of the sponsors on the side. How could we allow in the middle of a park like this to have some disrespectful resident to have their sewage pipe running through the park into the sea. I mean that is definitely a no, a health hazard and environmental hazard. What is happening to these people? They are ridiculous."
Lamb's biggest fear is that a couple years from now the Park will no longer exist. He says he would like to see the area representative along with the Belize City Council ensure that the Dolphin Park is properly maintained.
"My concern is this, if you look around you have people right now enjoying the park. Couple years from now this won't exist and its pretty sad that in 2010 we have governments come in and the truth is we should have continuity in projects, you cant invest $150,000.00 in the Belizean people and because you did not build it or you weren't here when it started you allow it to deteriorate. I my mind that is what you considered to be mass negligent on the part a area representative and the duly elected people at the city council who should be the one to ensure that this park is maintain and kept properly."
He believes the one thing that residents of West Landivar had to be proud of was taken away.
"Just ridiculous the way they have disrespected a project of this magnitude and the residents of West Landivar does not deserve this. We are law abiding citizen, we have no gangs, we have no major crimes in this area and the one thing that we as residents were proud of they took away from us because of just not caring. There is no other you can say but not caring. The truth on the matter is Monica, everybody uses this park, you have politicians who launch their careers from here, you have TV commercials that is done out here, you have weddings, you have parties, you have students who come and utilize this park. we had internet out here, we had lights switches here. You could have come out here with your laptop and do your homework, church group use to come out here. Everybody use this park. So what's the problem now? Aren't we important? Shouldn't we be served?"
Reporting for 7 News, I am Monica Bodden.
The city council adopted the park in 2006 and we were unable to reach the councilor in charge Leila Peyrefitte.