Here are the notes from the meeting last Wednesday. The committee is looking for help from members in researching the South Beach alternatives listed in this email, please let us know if you are willing to help with this.Meeting Wed 10th June 5pm at the Sunbreeze.Points Discussed.1. East West Road
-It has stopped and the excavator has been moved.
-Dave Mitchell said he had all the permits required and had been told by the Town board to "build a road". He did not have or was not asked to submit any plans for the road.
-Minister Heredia, the Mayor and the town board do not agree with the way the road is being constructed and want it stopped
-After the committees meeting with Dave Mitchell and Frank Panton. Frank is having a topographical survey of the area made and is then going to produce several plans for the road. Plans to be sent to us on Wednesday 17th June2. Dave Mitchells development near East West Road.
-No plans seen only a one page sales brochure. Mr Mitchell did not bring these plans with him. Subdivision has around 1200 lots.
-The Town board only has a 1 year contract with Dave Mitchell for a % of the income from the sale of lots in this subdivision.
-Again no environmental studies conducted as the DOE was told it was community project. This reasoning still doesnt justify a project not having to have some sort of environmental study. This is the problem with San Mateo and other community subdivisions which were not planned properly. The Law does not state that community projects do not need environmental studies.3. Canals and Sugar Caye Development:
-Whats with the name- Sugar caye will not be the name of the subdivision, it is just the name of the development company.
-The dredging Permit for canal on Port Authority land is for 58,000 cubic yards of material and should have required an EIA. Minister Heredia and Mayor Paz wrote to Belize Port Authority asking for Dave Mitchell to be allowed to dredge the mile long canal. Dave Mitchel said he was asked by Belize Port Authority to dig the canal and it did not benefit him. For access to his development he could have used the existing canal entrance.
-New canals (a copy of the permit has been requested from Geology) has started to be excavated. The new canal is along the Marina road and is for flushing and boat access to the sugar caye development. Copies of permits have been asked for from Frank Panton.
-Issues are the closeness to the Sewage ponds and the way the laws have been circumvented. The livelihoods of the people of the island are at risk from developments such as these.
-Minimum setbacks from the Ponds should be 300m or 750ft this is with the mangroves in place.
-Ponds are designed to remove all the bacteria. The nitrates and phosphates are filtered by the Mangroves. Originally sized for 66,000 people. Are they being used correctly? It can be seen from the size and color of the mangroves next to the ponds that a lot of nitrates etc are coming out of the Ponds feeding these plants.
Discussion about DOE allowing these projects without environmental studies. Nothing has been found in the laws that refers to community projects not needing any environmental studies. DOE using wording within Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 to allow these projects to go ahead without studies.
-Frank Panton to get the EIAs for the area when the Sewer system was proposed.
-We are asking for all developments to have the proper study conducted. DOE and the Town board should not be circumventing the laws but upholding them.
-Beverly Castillo has said that the Ministry is working on a MOU - memorandum of understanding - with Jeff Pierce.
-We don't want to sit back and wait but come up with alternative proposals for that land.
1. Offer acres for sale/adopt an acre for a land trust <http://www.possibility.com/LandTrust/
2. offer small parcels for high-end eco developments or homes, the rest to be made into a reserve, added to Hol Chan. Simlar to the Long caye development.
3. Wind farm - Major question with this is the length of time for gathering wind data and whether BEL will buy the electricity
The Ambergris Caye Planning subcommittee for the master plan has had meetings with Coastal Zone management (CZM) and Eco-works and studied proposals from each organization.
The Planning committee that Eco-works was a better, more comprehensive plan and were undoubtedly more capable of producing the plan in the shortest possible time. CZM plan relied on hiring a planner and a GIS specialist. A plus for CZM is thier ability to find finance - they have already been paid for a draft plan by Hol Chan ($25,000bz) and secured funds from WWF and CZA. To move forward with the Eco-works plan $15,000bz would need to be found as an initial payment.
It was decided that as CZM's next hurdle is on the 15th June - producing a concise document that uses all data collected (field, meta) with analysis and present it to the planning subcommittee - the master plan should be left in the hands of CZM at this time.
Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development. website - http://www.accsdbelize.com