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#466937 - 06/20/13 11:31 AM Puerto Azul Development
Marty Online   happy

Another hundred million U.S. dollar development

Recently, the environmental community as well as the Belize Tourism Industry Association and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization have been united in their objection to a proposed cruise terminal and development near the Placencia Peninsula. While the Norwegian Cruise Line’s hundred million dollar project is looking for another home, there is yet another project that is developing and is also causing major concern. News Five Jose Sanchez reports on the Puerto Azul project that is being proposed on islands near the Half Moon atoll.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Blue Hole Natural Monument and Half Moon Caye Natural Monument are both located within Light House Reef Atoll.  Both sites are designated as two of the seven components that makes up the ‘Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System’—Belize’s World Heritage Site. These two sites are located just south of a proposed development, Puerto Azul. The land documents show that in 2005 under Natural Resource Minister John Briceño, a lease was given to Northern Caye Two via Barrow and Williams. Now that the land has been sold, Puerto Azul would occupy nine hundred and sixty point two acres of Northern Two Caye and Sanborn Cayes. Eleven hotels would be built on Sandbore alone, with a total of seven hundred units of living space. Dredging may also be necessary for a new airport. It is a concern for all environmentalists including Healthy Reefs for Healthy People.

Roberto Pott

Roberto Pott, Belize Coordinator, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People

“Well the caye has a lot of fringing reef coming right off Northern Two Caye. From what we understand there is also plans to develop Sanborn Caye and for anybody who knows Lighthouse Reeef, that has the highest turtle nesting density for all of Lighthouse Reef. Northern Two Caye, now is only one of two cayes with mangroves. So you have only five cayes on Lighthouse Reef and you have one caye that we think will be shredded to pieces by a huge marina, a mega marina. All of this is speculation now because we haven’t seen the proposal, it hasn’t been shared with the public and we have to wait until that is done.”

Jose Sanchez

“At least the designs that I’ve seen, it calls for a very massive complex. It seems there are several hotels on the island, it seems a lot of infrastructure. Is pollution an issue with large development in this proposed area?”

Roberto Pott

“Well even before the pollution, they are shredding all the mangrove so we lose allt he nursery habitat for all the fishes that depend on that one of two cayes out at Lighthouse Reef. So when you look at it, you will end up losing commercial species. We have one of the largest Nassau grouper spawning aggregation in Belize just outside of Sanborn. So the loss of mangroves, will translate into loss of fish. Not only fish for commercial consumption, but the parrot fish that depend on that nursery habitat to grow their offsprings into juveniles then go back out to the reef to keep the reef clean and healthy.”

Puerto Azul is also designed to accommodate a thousand guests and two thousand employees. It’s a beautiful layout that even boasts an underwater laboratory for scientific study. But the Blue Hole Natural Monument is only 8 miles south, and Half Moon Caye is 16 miles South East of Northern Two and Sandbore’s fantasy called Puerto Azul. Marine Scientist, Robin Ramdeen, has seen similar proposed developments in her home country, Trinidad.

Robin Ramdeen

Jose Sanchez

“How much does dredging, how much does the development, waste material; in your view, what would be your concerns?”

Robin Ramdeen, Marine Scientist

“Reefs globally are very stressed; I can’t recall the exact statistics, but because of climate change and the rising temperature, reefs are not in a good condition by any means. And so the last stress that we can give to those reefs as possible would be batter. So silting the reef is not good for the coral polyps; they need sunlight to be able to do their thing. And mangroves…mangroves are the nurseries for our fishes which we need for food. So at what cost should this development go through? Can we eat this development? Can we even access it? are locals allowed to go there. Is the stress something for tourists to come in and also we need to consider the burden that those tourists have on the fisheries as well. And so if we destroy them, we are setting ourselves up for disaster.”

Roberto Pott

“I’m not impressed with engineers who say that it can be done; tha tit can be mitigated. We’ve seen cases in the Caribbean where marinas are promised and the marinas aren’t delivered. We have a proposed port right out in Port Loyola. We started to dump and then it is left there as an eye-sore. So as a community, we are willing to make compromises, but if you don’t deliver on your side, then we are left holding the bag. And it is the people of Belize, it is the government that has to do the cleanup, it is the people of Belize who has to pay. The developers don’t pay; they walk away.”

One of the nearby islands also boasts a turtle nestling site, a beauty for tourists and Belizeans to enjoy. An Environmental Impact Assessment is underway but can Belize’s reef sustain the onslaught of development? Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The Belize Audubon Society co-manages the Blue Hole Natural Monument and the Half Moon Caye Atoll and on Thursday the Audubon will deliver its comments on the project. 

Channel 5


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#467062 - 06/22/13 11:32 AM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

MEGA TOURISM INVESTORS WANT TO “TOUCH” BLUE HOLE

Investors’ proposed project is only 8 miles south of the majestic Belizean wonder


The Great Blue Hole has been nominated for the designation of the 8th Wonder of the World, and environmental activists in Belize want to ensure that a multi-million-dollar, mega-tourism project by Puerto Azul Belize Limited—but which investors want to set up only 8 miles south of this majestic Belizean wonder, at the Lighthouse Reef Atoll—does not see the light of day.

The tentative project duration is December 2013–December 2017. Amandala was told that the matter has been raised at the Cabinet level; however, Government has not yet made any of that information public.

The directors for the company are Italians Domenico Giannini & Fabio Nicola La Rosa, members of the management team named for another Puerto Azul project proposed for the Dominican Republic.

The legal address of the Belize company is listed as Barrow & Williams Law Firm, the Prime Minister’s law firm.

Like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Crawl Caye proposal, which was recently turned down by Cabinet, the promise is for a major tourism development that would bring business and jobs to Belize.

The development proposal for Puerto Azul – exclusive resort, hotel, gulf, villas and spa, on Northern Two Caye (960 acres) and Sandbore Caye (10 acres), is dated April 23, 2013. It calls for accommodations for 1,000 guests and 2,000 employees. Proposed amenities include hotels, shopping centers, restaurants and bars, a golf club house, spa, airstrip and marina. The proposal also calls for an underwater lab.

Whereas the economic aspects of the proposal seem to meet some of the essential criteria the Government uses to decide on whether an investment proposal is good for Belize, Roberto Pott, Belize Coordinator for Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, has told our newspaper that the project could seriously compromise a vital part of Belize’s reef ecosystem – vital because it is in the proximity of one of the last spawning grounds of the endangered Nassau Grouper, and one of the two cayes proposed for the development is an important mangrove island, which supports a nursery for Belize’s fisheries, said Pott.

One concern is that the proposal calls for dredging of the mangrove island. According to the proposal, “Modification will be made to the shoreline on Northern Two Cayes. As well, dredging and land filling will be a part of the construction phase of this project.”

Pott said that the area has five islands, and only two of them, Northern Two and Long Caye, are mangrove islands. We note that mangroves, apart from helping to sustain the fisheries resources, mitigate the impact of hurricanes.

The plan has attached two letters dated April 29, 2013 and May 3, 2013, written to Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria, requesting facilitation for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be done. However, Alegria told us today that nothing is yet in the works.

Cabinet rejected the Crawl Caye cruise port proposal on environmental grounds, since the caye – as a part of the Great Belize Barrier Reef – is part of a World Heritage Site, which places a limit on the scale of development that can be done at the location. Government has subsequently indicated that an alternative site for the Crawl Caye project could be considered.

Amandala


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#491297 - 05/23/14 06:01 PM Re: Environmentalists work against Puerto Azul [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy


John Travolta gave an enthusiastic two thumbs up as Domenico Giannini showed the pair pictures of the construction in progress that was printed on a huge table

Puerto Azul Luxury Resort Promises 'Environment First' at Lighthouse Reef Development

PuertoAzul Belize dubbed Citadel of Luxury; plans for F1 track and amphitheater

As the 2014 Cannes Film Festival is starting to wind down, reports indicate the ultra-posh PuertoAzul Exclusive Resorts party was the place to be this year. Formal invitations to the May 21 bash, called "PuertoAzul Experience," went to noted celebrities and global socialites.

Click here for the whole article in the Examiner....




Blue Hole Natural Monument and Half Moon Caye Natural Monument are both located within Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Puerto Azul Exclusive Resorts and Hotel is a proposed development just north of these two sites on Northern Two Caye and Sanbore Caye. Puerto Azul boasts to be a luxurious eco-development that, above all, will be very environmentally conscious, sustainable and pro-active. But like most developments in pristine and reserve areas of Belize, it is receiving quite the negative feedback and causing quite a stir within environmentalists and concerned citizens.

Show business talent and product manager Oscar Generale and businessman Domenico Giannini - the president of Puerto Azul Exclusive Resorts & Hotels have just recently hosted a star-studded Puerto Azul Experience at Villa Saint Georges at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the new luxury resort in Belize.

Special guests to the exclusive event included Belize’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and Belize Minister of Investment Promotion & Private Sector Development, Hon. Erwin Contreras.

Special guests to the exclusive event included Belize’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and Belize Minister of Investment Promotion & Private Sector Development, Hon. Erwin Contreras.

Environmentalists are strongly opposing the project as they believe it will have a major negative impact on the reef eco system. Here are a few concern of their concerns:

  • Northern Two Caye is one of two cayes in the Lighthouse Reed Atoll with mangroves
  • Shredding all mangrove will destroy the nursery habitat for all the fishes
  • Belize has one of the largest Nassau grouper spawning aggregation just outside of Sanbore Caye
  • Northern Two Caye and Sanbore Caye are two protected areas which are components of the World Heritage Site
  • Massive Dredging will impact the fishing industry- destroying sea grass beds, conch population in the area, and mangrove ecosystem
  • Blue Hole is an icon for Belize and if any sedimentation or silt or massive development is to happen, there will be some devastating impact to the Blue Hole and Halfmoon Caye

But developers from Puerto Azul state that they have no interest in tarnishing the gem, but do quite the opposite and that is to polish it and make it shine as bright as possible – environment first. Although the project is just at the stage of submitting an Environmental Impact Assessment, with no actual development taking place yet, they have started cleaning up the area and protecting turtle nesting sites.

Developers state that they are bringing in the best and highly accredited environmental firms to do all the necessary studies and using the latest in technology to protect, preserve and enhance the environment in which it will be located as the demographic of their clientele they are targeting are also very environmentally conscious.

“We are very positive about the outcome,” stated one of their representatives to Ambergris Today. “These developers are going to help the entire country develop properly. They will be investing in preservation, propagation and enforcement of protected areas around the country."

Mass celebrity photos and more information here: Daily Mail
Also, more information in the Ambergris Today
And in the Examiner


Shane Young, Marine Protected Areas Manager, Belize Audubon

“What we need to understand is that those two protected areas are components of the World Heritage Site…two out of the seven that makes up the World Heritage Site. In terms of development at Northern Two Cayes, there will be some impact in terms of the fishing industry. We are talking about massive dredging if that is the case. Lighthouse Reef Atoll on a whole has a healthy sea grass bed and if silt and sedimentation is to happen due to dredging, definitely it will have an impact on the sea grass bed. We all know basic ecology that the sea grass provides nursery grounds for the fishery and especially the commercial conch. Lighthouse Reef has a healthy conch population and definitely there will be some impact to the fishing industry. In terms of the mangrove ecosystem, Lighthouse Reef Atoll has five islands, five main cayes and out of those five, you have two that comprises of mangrove ecosystem. And again if you remove one, there will definitely be an impact on the fishing industry considering that the mangrove provide habitat for the fisheries as well. When you look at it at a tourism stand point, we have stakeholders from San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, the Turneffe Atoll that depend on the services provided by Blue Hole. Its natural service is that Blue Hole is an icon for Belize and if any sedimentation or silt or massive development is to happen, there will be some devastating impact to the Blue Hole and Halfmoon Caye. Considering that Blue Hole and Halfmoon Caye; they are popular dive sites and if heavy development will occur, what happens in the marine system is that point A affects point B. And considering that Blue Hole and Halfmoon Caye is just south of Northern Two Cayes where the development is proposed to happen, there could be some impact on the reef system within these protected areas.”

It is difficult for small boats to navigate the channel, so there is a possibility of the coral reef system been blown up at the northern point of the Light House Reef Atoll, to create a channel way to accommodate vessels to enter the proposed Mariner at Northern 2 Cayes. Running aground and damaging the reef are only some of the risks associated with Puerto Azul development.

Advocacy Program Manager, Belize Audubon Society

“There are nesting grounds on Sanborn for protected turtles. Our biologist goes out there and gets data on nesting turtles out there.”

Jose Sanchez

“When you talk aobut two thousand employees and a thousand guests, you have the issue of waste material; just the simple use of soaps. Where does all that go?”

Advocacy Program Manager, Belize Audubon Society

“Right. It is quite a distance from land. We anticipate that there will be solid waste issues. Again this was a project proposal and we would like to hope that the EIA preparer will advise the developer to size and scale. We want responsible development, sustainable development. We understand that there is a need for investment in the country, but we want that investment to be smart because at the end of the day, some of our more beautiful icon features are the most valuable and the most vulnerable.”

Does the availability of jobs outweigh the possible damage to the environment?


Celebrities and Ministers Erwin Contreras and Manuel Heredia show support at the Cannes Film Festival in France for the Puerto Azul Project.




Belizean politician Erwin Contreras with John Travolta.

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#491324 - 05/24/14 10:52 AM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Hon. Heredia & Hon. Contreras Going “Cray-Cray” At Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera – it’s the biggest, most glamorous film festival on earth – and this year, Belize is being represented by two A list political celebrities, complete with entourage. Tourism Minister Manuel Junior Heredia and Investment Minister Erwin Contreras are seen here hamming it up at a reception in Cannes. But, they weren’t there to see which film would get the prized “Palme d’or,” they were there to profile for investors who want to build a mega resort on Northern 2 Caye, which is in the Lighthouse Caye range in Belize. The Italian development group held a star – studded event in Cannes called the “Puerto Azul Experience Party at Cannes 2014.” Heredia and Contreras were there, apparently as photo-bombing, tuxedo-wearing, government of Belize glitterati .

Channel 7


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#491354 - 05/24/14 03:17 PM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
SFJeff Offline
Wow! Puerto Azul looks like it's going to be even more luxurious than http://www.pacificommultimedia.com/BlackadoreCaye.html

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#491355 - 05/24/14 04:32 PM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
reefenit Offline
Glitz rules? maybe maybe not. Lets get real here! Talk and glamor is not reality! Push all you want. In the end Nature wins. Try to control the environment to your desires, laugh at the concerned individuals on the planet that watch as you pay attention to your dreams and forget about your brothers and sisters and children that are abused so you can reap what little is left> Make more babies and?????????There has to be a better way! I See in in my dreams and while awake. Is there an equal partner or just take what you can because you have a fat bank account.....I imagine history will repeat itself. Greed,Ego,Fear......Meditate on death and be aware that the gifts you have are for all. Shilling, give me shilling,..........
_________________________
Namiste/Have a blessed day

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#491356 - 05/24/14 04:34 PM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
In an effort to compete with Jeff's often acerbic sense of humour may I state my own views on the subject of this project - anything and anybody who/that purposely associates with John Travolta is terrifying.

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#491357 - 05/24/14 04:42 PM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
reefenit Offline
Would you not agree that you have to get inside of the individual's mind in order to get a grip on how to handle the situation? I could be wrong. It is all about approach and the impact that in can have to move in the positive direction. Maybe I am a dreamer, but this is the best effort I can give at the moment/
_________________________
Namiste/Have a blessed day

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#491358 - 05/24/14 04:45 PM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
reefenit Offline
The communications on this form are little but it is something/food for thought for myself first and then others.......I do not have the answers, mostly questions, and they are painful because I do not control the outcome nor do I want to. just wanting to give food for thought.....
_________________________
Namiste/Have a blessed day

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#491393 - 05/26/14 11:03 AM Re: Puerto Azul Development [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Concern grows over trending Puerto Azul Development

Environmentalists are in an uproar at the Cabinet’s approval for the multi-million dollar tourism development within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Puerto Azul Belize Limited is proposing an exclusive resort, hotel, golf course, villas and spa to be built on Northern Two Caye and Sandbore Caye. The island proposed for development are a short distance from the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, both extensively protected areas for their importance in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).


The development is expected to consist of over 970 acres of luxury amenities for the world’s elite including shopping centers, restaurants and bars, a golf club house, spa, airstrip, marina, churches, business centers, botanical garden, health care center, not to mention accommodations for approximately 1,000 guests and 2,000 employees. Puerto Azul is expected to be the most luxurious and expensive tourism destination in Belize, offering seven star exclusivity of nature and services.


Minister of Labor, Local Government, Rural Development and National Emergency Management and Immigration and Nationality Godwin Hulse has stated to the media that the Cabinet has approved permission for Puerto Azul to conduct an environmental study to confirm if the project is sustainable. Environmentalists are claiming that no sort of development can be sustainable with Lighthouse Reef Atoll so close to the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye. The area is known for complex fringed coral systems, turtle nesting and habitats for the red-footed boobies, iguanas, frigate birds, sea hawks and warblers.

“Sandbore Caye has the highest turtle nesting density for all Lighthouse Reef. Northern Two Caye is now only one of two cayes with mangroves in the Atoll. So you have only five cayes on Lighthouse Reef and you have one caye that we think will be shredded to pieces by a huge marina, a mega marina,” said Roberto Pott, Belize Coordinator of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People.


The vision of Puerto Azul states “The challenge of Puerto Azul is to combine the excellence of its luxury project with the uniqueness of an oasis which is unique in the world without degenerating the soul, but instead exalting the protection and enhancing of natural and environmental resources and social services.” But local environmentalists are saying that it is impossible create such a mega development without damaging the surrounding environment. “With the removal of all the mangroves we lose the entire nursery habitat for all the fish that depend on that one of two cayes out at Lighthouse Reef. So when you look at it, you will end up losing commercial species. We have one of the largest Nassau grouper spawning aggregation in Belize just outside of Sandbore. So the loss of mangroves, will translate into loss of fish. Not only fish for commercial consumption, but the parrot fish that depend on that nursery habitat to grow their off spring into juveniles then go back out to the reef to keep the reef clean and healthy,” said Pott. Other problems considered by environmentalist include dredging and mass pollution. “We are talking about massive dredging if that is the case. Lighthouse Reef Atoll on a whole has a healthy sea grass bed and if silt and sedimentation is to happen due to dredging, definitely it will have an impact on the sea grass bed. We all know basic ecology: the sea grass provides nursery grounds for the fishery and especially the commercial Queen Conch. It is difficult for small boats to navigate the channel, so there is a possibility of the coral reef system being blown up at the northern point of the Light House Reef Atoll to create a channel to accommodate vessels to enter the proposed Marina at Northern Two Cayes. Running aground and damaging the reef are only some of the risks associated with Puerto Azul development,” said Shane Young, Marine Protected Areas Manager of The Belize Audubon Society.


Promotion for the development has already commenced at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival. The Puerto Azul Experience Night was hosted at the Villa Saint Georges on Wednesday, May 21st, as was the new project for Oscar Generale and President of Puerto Azul Domenico Giannini. Attending the event was Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. and Belize Minister of Investment Promotion & Private Sector Development, Honorable Erwin Contreras, along with a host of movie stars and celebrities. The event promoted Puerto Azul as the “dream luxury experience that will be built in the clear and beautiful waters of Lighthouse Reef, Belize.” Pictures have surfaced on social media of Ministers alongside Puerto Azul investor John Travolta and other notable figures.

At the event it was also revealed that Puerto Azul will be undertaking a non-profit organization for the benefit of the people of Belize and the environment. The Tree of Dreams Foundation is aimed to support protection and conservation projects as well as education and health improvement for the country. Puerto Azul will provide a percentage of their profits to fund the foundations’ projects. Specific initiatives for Tree of Dreams Foundations will include the creation and maintenance of wells and watersheds, the development of medical centers, expanded educational facilities and the preservation of marine life in the reef of Belize.

The project is expected to be completed by December of 2017 if there are no impediments or restrictions by the Government.

San Pedro Sun


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