Blackadore Caye Development Still Under Fire by Tour Guides & Fishermen
“One of the biggest concerns after the very first public consultation in January was that we were not meeting with the people who would be impacted by this project, both directly and indirectly,” stated Dionne Chamberlain (Dr.), Public Relations Representative, Blackadore Development Group in an email sent out to development stake holders.
Thus, before the final edits and presentation of Blackadore’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) were made, the development’s group set out to work diligently to remedy the situation and met wit over 100 people from May to August.
With these consultations, Dionne indicated that the Blackadore Development Group would make edits to the EIA. The public consultation with amendments to the EIA were then presented in a public forum held on Wednesday, August 24. Only a very small fraction of the island community was in attendance and most of the tour guides and fishermen who were there were very vocal about not being in agreement with the caye’s development. Again, their main concerns were of the over-the-water structures which the guides and fishermen say would destroy the natural breeding/fishing ground habitats around the island.
Contrary to their concerns, the Blackadore Development Team pointed out that the The large outrigger structure (over-the-water) has been removed and replaced with 33% less space; about three acres will be used over the water. The resort will have 44 units, 36 villas and one club house on the 105 acre caye.
The development will utilize less than 50% of the total acreage of the island with the remaining areas being set aside as conservation zones. Their research indicates that Blackadore Caye is dying. Current studies have concluded the biodiversity of the island has been significantly affected by a combination of historical usage dating back to the time of the Maya, and being in the wake of repeated natural disasters. Blackadore is providing ongoing analysis that will direct guidance on how to restore habitats and increase the island’s biodiversity, inclusive of the infrastructure development stage.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in The Ambergris Today
Blackadore Caye’s 2nd Public Consultation For Development: Reaching A Balance for Belize
The ultimate point was that there needs to be a BALANCE – positive vs. negative for the people of San Pedro and for all of Belize. Unemployment in Belize is over 29% and for women and youth, it’s about 35%. This is the biggest project that Belize has ever seen – 1000 jobs at the peak. We can’t just think of ourselves.
While all resorts on Ambergris Caye have harmed our island (Heredia), this plan is looking to better Blackadore Caye.
The mayor argued that this is not just about flyfishing, we need to look at the bigger picture and perhaps “clean up OUR act”. Ambergris Caye has enough of her own issues: traffic, trash, over-building, erosion. Perhaps we should focus there first.
Maybe, he suggested somewhat jokingly, we shouldn’t rebuild any over-the-water structures like bars and dive shops here on Ambergris Caye.
My opinion? This is arguably the best (and largest) investment opportunity the country has ever seen. I do understand that this is in a reserve – but as was mention by Minister Heredia, they knew that when they expanded Hol Chan. And they always expected development.
A tour guide brought up an important point – an old Belizean saying “if snake bite wen you see lizard you run”. If you’ve been bitten by a snake, when you see a lizard you are going to run.
Basically, we don’t trust outside developers on this island for good reason. We have been burned by half-done, half-ass constructions in the past. Some boiled down to blatant ponzi schemes.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Scoop
Blackadore Caye’s second consultation sparks heated debate
The Blackadore group asserts that the project has many positive impacts both globally, and locally. The group hopes that their environmental concept is brought to life and can be delivered worldwide. Over the span of 20 years, the group will be investing $400 million dollars to provide a series of construction, managerial, and technical jobs. On a local level, it means: bringing in a new revenue and economy stream for the country, providing stable employment, training and certifying employees, a new quality of tourists, investors, and philanthropists, exposure to Belize for using green technology, and growth in tourism.
After the presentation, attendants had the opportunity to express their concerns, give advice, share local knowledge, comment, and make deliberations in front of a panel of nine Blackadore Caye experts. A few members of the Tour Guide Association, some local fishermen, and business owners voiced their disapproval with the project. Not only were they displeased with the presentation, but they stated that the adjustments were minimal, and therefore, unsettling.
Commenters pointed out that Blackadore did not have marine biologists for consultation; that they would dredge the reserve and build over-the-water structures, thus affecting the fly-fishing industry. In response, the panel did their best to tackle the questions/comments with evidence supported in their EIA.
The final decision will be made on Wednesday, August 31st, and the revised EIA could be reviewed at: http://www.doe.gov.bz/index.php/eias. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, you may contact Dionne Chamberlin at 608-3440 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun
Blackadore Caye or Cayo Negro
On a recent consultation, part of the EIA for the development of this island never said or clarified that this island has never been a mangrove island. It has been a sand bar, and on one side coconut trees as well as plum trees grow. A small littoral forest is on the eastern side of the island, the middle has temporary watersheds that, when dry, become a salt bank, and the western side or most of the island contains strand vegetation.
The San Pedro Tourist Guide Association has no objection to the development on the island, but we are in full objection to the proposed over the water structures. We feel that it will be damaging to the recently declared bajos around the Island. It has been a long 3years of lobbying to convince the authorities that we will benefit more by declaring it a protected area.
Here is our position:
* We disagree to the proposed over the water structures which fall in the conservation zone V of the marine reserve Hol Chan.
* We fear that the mega development over the water will deter fishermen from fishing in that area that is used daily.
* That the study shows that the island remains with the vegetation that it has had for years.
Please reconsider the development plan. Do not allow the over water structures to be created, especially rooms on public property of which they will be making and collecting rent.
Phillip Billy Leslie, President, San Pedro Tourist Guide Association