Belize Barrier Reef is an outstanding natural system under the care of a government body by name 'Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System' with about 960sq km in area under it; this includes seven marine reserves, 450 cays, several mangrove forests, estuaries and three atolls. This reserve system has almost all types of formations associated with corals.
However the reef systems all over the world are coming under stress by human activity and climate change. The Belize barrier reef near Ambergris caye is indeed being impacted by development activity which occurring very swiftly. Large five star resorts, condominiums and all sort of tourist development . A large influx of tourists are being encouraged to make full use of the echo tourist packages, dive packages and diverse other marine attractions being developed.
In order to ensure that such activities develop in a sustainable manner and to be able to manage the environmental impacts of these activitiesThe Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority ( ACLBA) has been given the task to over see and monitor and regulate the civil engineering, architectural, coastal and land management activities which accompany this development.
Ambergris Caye itself has a very fragile geo-morphological make up that is characteristically susceptible to coastal erosion, soil and bedrock instability, and all other sorts of effluent pollution deriving from well water treatment, oil spillage and sewerage treatment. Furthermore the adjacent inter-connection of the island environment with the reef and marine environment poses a serious problem for environmental and ecological sustainability particularly due to human activities. In other words we can recklessly pollute the sea, kill the reef and poison the fish that sustain our very existence and livelihood.
Careful studies done by local and global science institutions has given us certain rules and principles to guide and maintain our good use of this very valuable and important environment. These principles are embodied in recommended "Guidelines for the Development of Ambergris Caye" – a study which was originally produced around 1993 and continues to be reviewed. These guidelines along with good Engineering and Architectural practices are the backbone of the requirements for our development projects.
Developers are therefore required to obtain legal permission for their projects prior to implementation through submitting plans to the Local Building Authority. An Impact Fee is charged for the purpose of mitigating what minimal impacts cannot reasonably be avoided from the developers projects, as well as for institutional management; and penalties as well as other legal means are in place to regulate these development activities To this end a recent review of the Impact Fee Schedule (Permit Fees) is being published for information and comments of the building/engineering industry in Ambergris Caye.
A public presentation and discussion was held at a public forum of contractors and developers at the Lions Den , San Pedro Town on Wednesday night 2 April 2008.
Comments can be directed thru' this medium or by ordinary mail or e-mail to the Chairman of the ACLBA, San Pedro Town Board e-mail: email@example.com.