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#496140 - 09/27/14 11:39 AM Beach Erodes At Alarming Pace in Hopkins Village
Marty Offline
Hopkins Beach Erosion

A resident of Hopkins Village in Southern Belize is calling on the Government of Belize and relevant authorities to help save the beach. According to Patricia Jacobs, a portion of the Hopkins Beach at the North End of the village has eroded over 200 feet in a short period of time. Jacobs explained her concerns.

PATRICIA JACOBS

“The concern is that it is gone and we must do something. I’ve talked to the Village Council and they say that they are trying but trying doesn’t work when it’s missing. We need an emergency response right about now or pretty soon our number one destination of Hopkins is no longer going to be because there is not a beach. I do believe it has a lot to do with not only Mother Nature but man. When we allow dredging and huge amounts of beach sand at the bar mouth is taken throughout the years. Me being the neighbor over there I kind of see everything that goes on and when you take a mountain of sand, several times it’s going to obviously have a strong effect which it has. Almost now 200 feet of my beach front is gone. I am trying to get anybody, we need a team; obviously I can’t do it by myself. I have been doing it with my guest helping me as they see I am trying my best. I need probably $10,000 to do a retainer wall just in my small 95 feet of my front that is from north to south. The village needs massive amounts; they think the road is important our beach is important because our villagers feed ourselves with fish. We are that Garifuna village of fishermen and farmers and you take our livelihood away which this is doing to us besides all the crap that is coming in massive swarms. So we need the government to help us, we need them to come up with a grant, put some truckloads of rock in here and basically build a new berth.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO

“How long ago did you notice that the beach was eroding?”

PATRICIA JACOBS

“This has been going on for two years.”

HIPOLITO NOVELO

“So this is the worst it has gotten?”

PATRICIA JACOBS

“This is like, when you start watching five feet a day go, then you know something has to be done. Hopkins beach erosion 2Something has to be done because where I live, I am at the very north end so every person that goes to the lagoon has to walk now on my property when before they were walking on the beach. There is no beach whatsoever; it is dangerous now to even go to the lagoon because of all the massive amounts of garbage that is collecting. I keep my beach area clean so it’s okay but walking through Hopkins harbor is a nightmare. There are a couple pictures, I can send more, you see refrigerators and people are slipping and falling and if they go at night time when they are drinking that is really bad for them. Two people have already stepped on a sting ray and they have gotten punctured and there are hypodermic needles in the water, we have a lot of those and broken glass and just wood, nails, everything.”

LOVEFM


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#503753 - 04/28/15 10:46 AM Re: Beach Erodes At Alarming Pace in Hopkins Village [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Beach Erosion Put Resorts in Hopkins at Risk

The pristine beaches of Hopkins have always attracted thousands of visitors annually and over the course of a week, its appeal has drastically changed. As a result, the owner of Coconut Row Resort in Hopkins Village is currently looking for someone with technical expertise to rebuild the beach in front of the establishment.

The owner says that the beach started to erode about a week ago at an extremely fast pace. Currently, some areas have lost 12 feet of beach in just the last few days and the coconut trees which was 8-10 feet from the water’s edge has completely collapsed.

According to information posted on the resort’s internet page, the owner along with the Chairman of Hopkins quickly called the Department of the Environment (DOE), the lands department and Belize Tourism Board (BTB) for assistance. Shortly after, BTB and DOE responded and determined that the problem was being caused by a groyne built by Hopkins Bay.

This groyne has been quite controversial already, as it is widely attributed as the reason properties on the North have lost so much beach over the last few months. Hopkins’ Bay used to be by the tree line and now it has stretched far beyond that since the groyne is pulling in all the sand from the lagoon that would normally reach areas such as the front of Coconut Row.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on the Breaking Belize News website


Massive Beach Erosion in Hopkins, Residents and Resorts Affected

Once known for its delicate shoreline, the village of Hopkins in the south is facing chronic coastal erosion. Residents woke up one morning to find that their beach had been stripped away; some have lost more than ten feet while others are losing the tourism dollar. There are well-known causes for erosion such as climatic changes, but in the case of Hopkins it is believed that a structure constructed in the north of the village is causing the shoreline to retreat rapidly. Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Hopkins Village in southern Belize has readily become an eco-friendly paradise for tourists—both local and international—who would experience the best of both worlds…the warmth of the rainforest and the cool, relaxing sandy beaches along the shores of the Caribbean Sea. That was until recently when the coastline began suffering from an extreme case of erosion. It started just over a week ago and since then up to twelve feet of beach has literally disappeared.

Wayne Casimiro

Wayne Casimiro, Chairman, Hopkins Village

“Over last week, we had massive beach erosion and from the looks of it this has been the worst beach erosion ever. I have spoken with a couple elders; even up to this morning, I spoke to the oldest woman in Hopkins village; she has experience here and in new town and she is saying that she has never seen such drastic erosion. It has been a situation because the banks…it’s a bank now and no longer a straight beach. So residents are concerned now because in some areas where there are no trees, they have lost more than twelve feet of beach. So it is a major concern.”

Many residents have since lost a large chunk of their beachfronts and the value of their properties has depreciated drastically. For one resort, not only has its picturesque seafront disappeared, but most of its guests ended up cutting their vacations short while others canceled when they arrived and saw that there was no beach.

Damian Grieco, Owner, Coconut Row Guesthouse

“All of a sudden we woke up one day. We had a fence that was about ten feet away from the water’s edge and we woke up one day and part of it was under water. The rest fell in a few days later as the erosion continued. We had some of the most gorgeous beach on the mainland in fact and our guests come just to swim in the ocean and enjoy the beach. Everybody ended up checking out earlier or canceling because we turned from a beach to a cliff overnight.”

Panicking, Hopkins Chairman, Wayne Casimiro, and Coconut Row’s Damian Grieco—with the assistance of the Belize Tourism Board—called the Department of Environment, who visited the village late last week. They would later be notified that it is the purview of the Lands Department to make recommendations on corrective measures. The erosion, however, has worsened since then and within two days, approximately four feet was gone, leaving behind a cliff instead of a beach.

Damien Grieco

“Our business is, we’ll be out of business unless this is resolved quickly. That’s part of the frustration, you know. A few departmental…I don’t know if they are squabbles or environment has control of one part and lands has control of the other and these things take time, but this is immediate. We are averaging two feet of beach loss a night. So we will be under water pretty soon unless this is resolved.”

Aside from environmental conditions such as climate change, it is believed that the unprecedented erosion is the result of a groyne built by Hopkins Bay on the north side of the village. Essentially, the manmade hydraulic structure interrupts water flow and limits the movement of sediments; hence creating beach. The controversial groyne has been at the center of complaints made by several other properties that have also lost a large portion of their beach in the past few months.

Wayne Casimiro

“Yes, they came in on Friday to do a preliminary study of the situation and one of the things that they are pinning their assessment on is a groyne at one of the major resorts here in Hopkins on the northern end that is keeping some of the sand from moving in. So that is one of the major things that we think may be a factor that is causing the erosion, but they said that there might be other things that is contributing to the present situation. So we are waiting for them to give us a final conclusion as to what to do and where to go from here.”

Damian Grieco

Duane Moody

“Is there any kind of maybe measures that you can do right now to slow down the process?”

Damian Grieco

“Well there is a few things that we are doing. We are putting sandbags along the edge of the beach just to slow down the material that is being loss. The beach is eroding less because the waterline has come up to where all the coconut trees are and the root system is working. But now the trees are starting to fall in, so we are actually roping up the trees, trying to shore them up…build little boxes of sand around them to keep them alive. We’ll hope to slow it down that way.”

With time quickly running out; Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Junior’s intervention was sought.

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“My understanding is that a certain area was allowed to put a jetty, but I believe that there was not planning, there was not much consultation. When you do these things, you have to look at the entire length of the area and to see if your neighbors have the resources to do what you are doing. but definitely I believe that we have to take a serious look as to what is happening in that area and make sure that the areas are not affected drastically or that serious erosion doesn’t continue because it is really something that we need to put a lot of attention. And definitely, even though it is not my area, even though probably it doesn’t have much to do with tourism, but beaches are future tourist destinations. So definitely we have to take a close look at that.”

Duane Moody for News Five.

The Lands Department is expected to visit the village on Tuesday. 

Channel 5


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#503792 - 04/29/15 11:44 AM Re: Beach Erodes At Alarming Pace in Hopkins Village [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Commissioner of Lands on Hopkins Beach Erosion

On Monday’s newscast, we showed you the images of the massive erosion in the southern village of Hopkins. It started about a week ago and since then, some residents and resorts have lost up to fourteen feet of beach and the value of their properties has drastically depreciated. The Department of Environment was called in, but it would be the Lands and Survey Department that would take lead in the investigation. Today, a team from the department was deployed to Hopkins to assess the cause of the erosion, says Lands Commissioner, Wilbert Vallejos. Until that assessment is complete, there are many factors that can contribute to the erosion in Hopkins. A groyne constructed in the northern end of the village is believed to be causing the erosion. Well today, the management team of Hopkins Bay Belize issued a release saying that contrary to reports made, the resort got state approval to construct the groyne three years ago and that they are working with relevant parties to see if the erosion is caused by the groyne.  News Five spoke today with Vallejos who says that he was only aware of the situation down south when it was aired on this station.

Wilbert Vallejos

Via Phone: Wilbert Vallejos, Lands Commissioner

“I don’t know that the Lands Department has been contacted officially about anybody with respect to that. I myself learnt about it through the media. But just today, we commissioned a team and actually the staff from the physical planning unit is at Hopkins presently making an assessment of the situation after which we will know exactly if erosion is taking place, what is causing it and what needs to be done to ensure that it can be fixed, noh. The Lands and Surveys Department is in fact responsible for the managing of the reserve and the seabed and things like that and once we have found out the information that we need to be able to ensure that something is done to remedy the situation, then we will do so. I must tell you however, when it comes to groynes and activities happening on the beach and beach reserves, many times it is done without knowledge; one and without even consent or approval from the department. I’m saying this because couple months ago, I personally had to go down south to Placencia to ensure that a groyne that was properly hidden in the water, underneath a pier was removed. This matter was brought to our attention obviously by the people who were being negatively affected by it. I know for a fact that when it comes to activities like that, it doesn’t necessarily means that the department is aware of it or even worse that the department has granted permission for something like that to happen.”

Duane Moody

“We have a correspondence from the management of Hopkins Bay and they are saying that the groyne that they have in place was sanction by the government three years ago. Is it possible that now, after so many years, that it is having adverse effects to the area – the other residents and resorts in Hopkins?”

Via Phone: Wilbert Vallejos

“It could very well be. That’s what I am saying. We need to make a real assessment of the situation as to how this effect is coming about and why it is happening and see if in fact an approval was granted three years ago for the construction of that groyne. Why it is that now it is causing or having a negative impact on the beach?”

Is There Any Way to Reclaim Worn Beachfront?

Wilbert Vallejos

As to residents and resorts who have lost their beachfronts to the erosion and whose property values have gone down, is there any way that they can reclaim their lands or get any sort of compensation? Vallejos says that the department will be looking into the matter.

Via Phone: Wilbert Vallejos, Lands Commissioner

“Well erosion is an act of nature. Am I correct? It can be most of the times, but clearly in the past, when beach is washed away, what people have attempted to do is reclaim it and find ways to be able to do it. But now, having this situation come about, we have to be very careful because when things like that happen, it has a negative effect somewhere else. So while we want to help the public and ensure that the value of their property does not go down because of them lose the beach, we have to ensure that whatever actions they take to be able to do that that it does not have a negative effect to their neighbor or further down the beach.”

Duane Moody

“So basically they need to accept the loss?”

Via Phone: Wilbert Vallejos

“Well, like I said, it is either that or a very scientific, intelligent assessment of the entire beach needs to be done, taking into consideration not only that person loss, but the loss that may be caused in trying to recover what the person lost to other people.”

Channel 5


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