As a new year starts in ernest, it is time to wonder what it may bring this little island of ours. The Village Council with have elections in a couple of months and perhaps now is a good time to start thinking about what we did wrong, what we need and how we need to go about getting it right.

One thing that has become obvious to everyone is the huge amount of construction going on, and this reporter wants to know how they got permission to build some of it. The most obvious one is the new, often referred to ’Enjoy’ building of Mr Ming. Whilst it looks like it complies with setbacks, we wonder how they got permission to go 4 floors and then another small building on top of that and then of of course that big sided, often referred to as ‘Mickey Mouse ears’ or ‘love heart’ at the top with another apparently blank 8 ft wall too.

Most will remember heated CCVC meetings two years ago about Chinatowns’ building.

Take a walk around the island and you will see countless other infractions, but the questions is of course is that if the rules are so easily flouted how can we know, as residents, that more dangerous rules are also not being flouted? Can we trust that they have a full sized septic system that isn’t going to run effluent down our main streets for example. That the wiring is installed correctly and will not cause a massive fire?

Can we trust that we can trust the Central Building Authority?

It has been said in CCVC meetings that the local council (us here) are no longer asked to approve building permits. Without that surely they are powerless to control any kind of building here and the mainland authorities can apply mainland, sometimes substandard, standards to our buildings – like height, setbacks and more. The rules actually stipulate that you cannot building on more than 66% of the land. The idea is to allow breeze and green areas between buildings so that we don’t end up like San Pedro with buildings all along the front and stifling the middle and back streets.

The answer? At the very least we need to bring back the CCVC into the system. Locally we know what works and what doesn’t. Additionally if there are any rules that are intended to be flouted (on purpose like a setback for the store) then it should go to local and public consultation. Use the Chronicles, FaceBook, newspapers, media to ask neighbors how they feel about it. If nobody has an issue then, sure go ahead. Large buildings over 10,000 sq feet should have a public consultation process too. Personally I want a ‘bad taste’ check box but I know we cant do that!!

Last thought, how about constructors are required to let neighbors and local business know when they intend to have an early start (big cement pour days) or a particularly loud day? Forewarned is forearmed.

Caye Caulker Chronicles