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#397953 - 01/21/11 03:42 PM Stakeholders oppose Saca Chispas Project
Marty Offline
The idea for a beautification project of western San Pedro was laid on the table a while ago, and on Thursday, January 13th, 2011, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. announced on a local television show, that the IDB (International Development Bank) awarded $13M USD for four projects in Belize. Among these projects was the $6M San Pedro Saca Chispas Project which included plans for a boardwalk.

The preliminary concept was presented to Stakeholders (individuals that would be directly impacted by the project) in a meeting held on Monday, November 9th, 2010. It included a multipurpose pier development and sports field; a sunset boardwalk; lighting and trash receptacles, public open space, landscaping the area for beautification purposes, shaded seating areas and potential fish cleaning stands or a fresh fish market. With its facilities for customs, immigration and border management all located in one easy access area which would also house a terminal for all water taxis, international visitors would have a very convenient entry and exit experience.

Well, that initial meeting did not go over too well with the stakeholders present, and consequently the designers went back to the drawing board and came up with a design that they hoped would be more acceptable to all involved.

The new revised concept was to have customized piers to replace each existing personal pier. The new design also included an area to haul out and repair boats. In case of hurricanes, the new plan had a designated pull out area in the Saca Chispas field which would have a permanent gate. The Boardwalk in the revised design would be ˝ it's originally planned length, still providing for small businesses/vendors for food and drink. An artificial beach was also included for people to rest or watch the sunset.

A meeting was held on Friday January 14th at the San Pedro Town Council and attended by Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation; Mayor Elsa Paz, Members of the STP (Sustainable Tourism Project) and stakeholders in the Saca Chispas area, where the new concept was presented.

While stakeholders maintain that they are not objecting to change and even find it necessary for some sort of a beautification project in the area and welcome the prospect of creating a state-of-the-art sporting facility for the island; the "lack of respect" in planning what is to become of western San Pedro - their livelihood for the past 50 years - was of dire concern.

Stakeholders expressed the emotional ties that many of them have with the area slated to become the board walk; some fishermen have used that area for over 50 years as their work stations. Docking areas have been passed from generation to generation. Western San Pedro Town is the only part of the island that provides a glimpse into what San Pedro started off as, a fishing industry. Residents stressed that that is the aspect of San Pedro that initially invited visitors to the island and still does.

While the project claims to provide stakeholders with private modified docks, the terms and conditions are unsure and stakeholders feel they have no security that any of the claims will actually come to pass as they have not received lease rights to the area they currently occupy.

Apart from the leasing rights and the possible destruction of an area of much historical value for the island, residents involved are concerned about the inevitable damage that this project would cause on the already poor ecosystem that exists in and around the island. One stakeholder pointed out that the dredging that would be needed for the project - the destruction of much needed mangrove habitat- depleting the breeding ground for many marine lives that later migrate to the sea and reefs - in effect would negatively affect a major section of the tourism industry.

The San Pedro Sun attempted to reach Hon. Manuel Heredia for comment on the outcome of the latest meeting, but he was unavailable. In speaking with a representative from the STP, we were informed that the STP, Minister of Tourism and the Belize Tourism Board will be regrouping to discuss the outcome of January 14th's meeting at a later date.

San Pedro Sun

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#398006 - 01/21/11 08:56 PM Re: Stakeholders oppose Saca Chispas Project [Re: Marty]
GwenA Offline
Not to mention, that it doesn't cost six million dollars to do a "beautification project". So, as Mike Campbell said in another thread...six million for a project that acually costs 4 million (where two million would disappear into somebodys pockets), that sorry to paraphrase, isn't wanted by anybody, that wasn't asked for, not planned, and would take additional monies for up keep, that would kill off valuable mangroves, and flood various times of the year.


Edited by GwenA (01/21/11 08:56 PM)

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#398010 - 01/21/11 09:08 PM Re: Stakeholders oppose Saca Chispas Project [Re: GwenA]
Otteralum Offline
Originally Posted By: GwenA
Not to mention, that it doesn't cost six million dollars to do a "beautification project". So, as Mike Campbell said in another thread...six million for a project that acually costs 4 million (where two million would disappear into somebodys pockets), that sorry to paraphrase, isn't wanted by anybody, that wasn't asked for, not planned, and would take additional monies for up keep, that would kill off valuable mangroves, and flood various times of the year.


Geesh, what's not to love? smile Sounds like a typical project here in the states...
_________________________
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

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#398046 - 01/22/11 12:12 AM Re: Stakeholders oppose Saca Chispas Project [Re: Marty]
Mike Campbell Offline
I must say that I am insulted that I and every other San Pedro resident are not considered stakeholders. The entire town are the stakeholders in this just as the entire town are the stakeholders in the road north. I and many others would have liked to attend that meeting.

This habit of targeting "stakeholders" seems to be a ploy to keep the general public uninformed but yet have the appearance of a public consultation. The only reasons could be that other interests are involved or they just don't care about or respect what we think. We need open town meetings on all these issues. Now.

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#400694 - 02/21/11 03:49 PM Re: Stakeholders oppose Saca Chispas Project [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
26 San Pedro families oppose $6 million development plan

Twenty-two families in San Pedro are saying that a $6 million tourism beautification project, which proposes to build a multipurpose pier and sunset boardwalks, is threatening to displace them and take away their livelihood.
San Pedro Town Mayor Elsa Paz explained to The Reporter on Wednesday, February 16 that the project, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, will in no way displace those families. The families vociferously objected to the project when it was first presented to them last November; and after hearing their complaints, the officials modified the plan.

The new plan for the upgrade factored in the residents’ interest and guaranteed that their livelihood would be preserved. For example, the boardwalk would cover areas which the protesting residents presently use for vending, fishing or parking their boats. All who fish or do other business in the area each have their own pier.

Paz explained that the new multipurpose pier would replace those piers, but they would maintain their individual spaces. Despite these measures of good faith, she said, many of the interested parties remain opposed to the idea. She added that they are trying to reach a compromise with the residents even though the land, which the residents have claimed as theirs, is actually a government reserved area.

Despite assurances from the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Jr. and other officials, the residents maintain their stance because they say none of these promises have been made to them in writing and so they seriously doubt that the project will benefit them. The interested parties who oppose the project say they have been using, or in some cases living in the area, for more than 40 years.

Others also say they don’t see why any “beautification” is necessary, because the tourists have always been attracted to San Pedro because of its natural beauty and its quaint, quiet village charm.

The Reporter

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