|The proposed road that is currently in question.|
In January of this year, The San Pedro Sun was the first to report on the Grand Belizean Estate Subdivision in the northwestern part of Ambergris Caye. That subdivision, which is a joint venture between the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and Grand Belizean Estate Subdivision, is offering individuals the opportunity to purchase a 60 x 75 piece of paradise and it includes 1,200 house lots. Currently, the only access to Grand Belizean Estate Subdivision is by boat. That, however, will soon change as Grand Belizean Estate Subdivision has commenced work on a road that will not only connect that subdivision but three other subdivisions in that area of Ambergris Caye.
As part of the agreement made with SPTC, the Grand Belizean Estate investors promised to build an access road from the new subdivision to the main road which is just south of the Journey’s End Resort area. This agreement will assure Belizeans wanting to purchase land that they could reach to and from their property. After receiving the necessary mangrove clearance and dredging permits, Grand Belizean Estate Subdivision started work on the new road. Last week however, the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) expressed environmental concerns regarding the new access road.
According to ACCSD, the new road would affect the proper flow and interconnectivity between the wetlands found in that area and the main source of water. The wetlands in that area form part of the island’s many lagoon systems. These areas are heavily used by local fisher folk and tour guides. ACCSD expressed that while investors have the necessary permits to proceed, the investors should provide a detailed plan that would indicate how the road would fit into the ecosystem area.
In an effort to work along with the ACCSD, during a meeting held last week, investors for Grand Belizean Estate agreed to put the road on hold until the necessary studies are conducted. Grand Belizean Estate has acquired the services of Chief Hydraulic Engineer Frank Panton who is leading a series of studies that would determine the best possible option on how the road should proceed. “We do want the area to remain as sustainable as possible and that is why we are doing a topography study of the area,” stated Panton. The topography study will show the undulation of the land; the shape or configuration of the land, represented on a map by contour lines, physical geography including relief shading and also the vegetative and human-made features and even local history of the area.
Panton told The Sun that currently surveyors are collecting and conducting a number of studies in the area. These studies will determine the flow of water in the area, elevation studies and high and low vegetation density areas. In addition, land surveys are also being conducted and these will determine the best possible pathway for the road while taking into consideration the proper tidal fluctuation in the area.
After all the studies are put together Panton says that they will have to see what method will be used taking into consideration the effects to the ecosystem. “The only area of concern relates to the lagoon area,” stated Panton adding that, “we will ensure that the road has as little effect to the eco-system as possible.”
It is not certain when work will continue but when the new road is completed, lot owners will have access to their over 2,000 properties in the Colonia San Diego Area for both Phase 1 and 2, as well as to Ambergris Bay Subdivision. In the planning stage of those government led subdivisions, there was no indication as to how land owners would have access to their properties. The new road will include the construction of bridges and culverts where necessary and all expenses will be footed by Grand Belizean Estate Subdivision.
San Pedro Sun