GOB permits destroy beaches and Ara Macao wants one

Friday, 21 July 2006

During Hundreds of years Belize’s beaches were formed and replenished by the sands washed down Belize’s rivers and creeks.

When the sand migrated further south, due to the currents, it was replaced by additional sand that had washed down the rivers and creeks from the north.

Nature developed Belize’s beautiful and valuable beaches.

The problem is that Nature’s process of building and replacing Belize’s beaches with river sand has been obstructed by the issuance of Government permits.

The result is that beaches of the Placencia Peninsula are now in danger of being destroyed.

Presently, a request by Ara Macao for a permit that would further endanger the beaches is before the Government.

For hundreds of years both the North Stann-Creek, which is sometimes referred to as the Stann-Creek River, and South Stann-Creek have provided sand that formed and maintained the Peninsula’s beaches.

Due to the Governments issuance of permits neither creek now provides sufficient sand to maintain those beaches.

During the dry season, large quantities of water are taken from both the North Stann-Creek and South for irrigation of the banana plantations. The flow of water in the creeks is thereby reduced to where they do not produce currents of sufficient force during the dry season to carry the sand down to the sea. As a result sand is deposited in the creeks.

Prior permits that were issued to mine sand were revoked. A member of a prominent Belizean family was then given an exclusive permit to mine sand from Belize’s rivers and creeks.

The same person who extracts great quantities of water from both the north and south creeks for irrigation purposes, holds the exclusive mining permit.

Thousands of cubic yards of sand are mined from both creeks by large front end excavators that pile the sand and load it into trucks to be used for land fill, in other areas, and for concrete products.

The sand excavated from both of the creeks is the same sand that nature provided to replace the sand that migrates south from the Peninsula’s beaches.

The result of the mining of the sand is that the beach areas south of the North Stann Creek and South Stann-Creek have begun to erode.

Such erosion is the result of the areas being deprived of the very sand nature provided, to replace the sand that has migrated further south.

The same erosion will continue to creep down into the Peninsula until there are no suitable beaches remaining.

Developers are now seeking another permit that will add a further destructive blow to the Peninsula’s beaches.

The proposed destructive blow will come from any approval plan to construct Ara Macao with its 12-foot deep channels and broad entrance, that is open to the sea.

The 582-acre development is to be built mostly on swamp land that they wish to fill and elevate using 1.2 million cubic yards of material that is to be dug out of their entrance and deep canals.

The deep dredging is primarily a means of obtaining enough fill to raise the level of the surrounding swamp land, thereby increasing its value and providing greater useable acreage for Ara Macao.

Their deep dredging and proposed breakwater will combine with the present problems that restrict the replenishing of sand on the Placencia Peninsula. The 1.2 million cubic yard basin, that Ara Macao is seeking a permit to dig, will become a depository, trapping and retaining, any sand that would otherwise migrate south.

The Ara Macao’s project’s glib promoter, Paul Gaugeun, has acknowledged there is a problem with erosion.

He had to admit to the erosion as it was there for anyone to see. The erosion extends south from the South Stann-Creek to the Riverdale area where the promoter hopes to build the gigantic project.

Gaugeun, attempted to mislead the public when he stated the erosion was “the result of storm and other weather conditions”.

The storms did not cause the erosion until after the sand that previously made up the beaches had migrated south and had not been replaced, leaving the shore line barren and subject to erosion.

Ara Macao’s proposed extensive breakwater will stop wave action and create slack water in the protected area seaward of Ara Macao’s broad entrance. The entrance is to be dredged to accommodate vessels up to 100 feet.

The slack water resulting from the breakwater and deep dredging will provide a basin depository that will trap any sand that would have otherwise migrated south to replenish the Peninsula’s beaches.

It will continue to trap and divert sand that would otherwise migrate south until a large portion of Ara Macao’s 1.2 million cubic yard excavation is filled and the sand.