Authorities demand new application for rebuilding of docks and piers
The strong surge and winds of Hurricane Earl left hundreds of docks/piers partially or totally destroyed on Ambergris Caye. The majority of these over-the water structures are on the eastern side of the island and many of its proprietors are beginning to make plans for rebuilding. However, in order for that to happen, dock/pier owners will now need to reapply for a new permit, as stated by not only The San Pedro Town Council, but Central Government as well.
The implementation has not been well received among residents of the island, who find it unnecessary and time consuming having to go through the paper work in order to start repairing their docks. Many of them still have unexpired permits and the request is a threat to their day to day businesses. However, other residents see this rule as something positive, and as an opportunity to re-evaluate the dock situation on Ambergris Caye. Some residents in San Pedro Town believe, the high concentration of docks in front of the island has taken away the charm and natural beauty of the island.
Fidel Ancona, of the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority, said that the law states that permission needs to be obtained before reconstructing, building or refurbishing any of the docks or over-water structures. “That is the law,” said Ancona. “The dock owners are only leasing the seabed from the Government, thus, it is important to follow the official process for obtaining permission to continue utilizing the seabed or the 66 feet reserve.” He commented that so far, many of the proprietors have already re-applied for either re-building or refurbishing.
The local authorities are also working to get the jurisdiction of the dock fees in order to increase the revenue and development of Ambergris Caye. The SPTC and the ACLBA also seek to taken on the process for dock approvals. Many dock owners complain about the delay they suffer when applications are taken to Belmopan. In order to speed up the process, the authorities on the island will focus on getting, at least that jurisdiction and process the applications on Ambergris Caye saving residents time and money.
The ACLBA is located at the SPTC building located on Barrier Reef Drive, and opens Monday to Friday from 8AM to 5PM. For appointments call 226-2198.
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