On Friday June 8th 2012, Tracy Panton, CEO of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, signed a contract for BZ $142,130.16 with Mr. Liam Stewart of Cayo Steel Works for the construction of the new Xunantunich ferry.
The new ferry will retain much of the characteristics of the iconic hand-cranked ferry which has faithfully served tourists and local visitors for over 3 decades. The ferry currently transports around 50, 000 visitors a year and up to 300 visitors a day on peak days, with the assistance of the strong arms of the Institute of Archaeology ferry captains! Funded through the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) the new ferry will have a larger capacity to assist visitor flow, incorporate improved safety measures and include motorized assistance to the traditional hand-crank operations.
Cayo Steel Works Ltd. was incorporated in Belize in 2001, and has vast experience as a local supplier and manufacturer of steel engineered products. Mr. Stewart is excited to be selected for this project and has his materials ready to go, with completion and final installation of the ferry anticipated within 3 months.
"The new ferry will retain much of the characteristics of the iconic hand-cranked ferry which has faithfully served tourists and local visitors for over 3 decades. The ferry currently transports around 50, 000 visitors a year and up to 300 visitors a day on peak days, with the assistance of the strong arms of the Institute of Archaeology ferry captains! Funded through the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) the new ferry will have a larger capacity to assist visitor flow, incorporate improved safety measures and include motorized assistance to the traditional hand-crank operations."
To reach the Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich you need to take this free hand-cranked ferry across Mopan River. It comes and goes on demand, and you can handle it. After it´s about 1 mile uphill to reach the ruins.
On Friday June 8th, CEO of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Tracy Panton signed a one hundred and forty two thousand one hundred and thirty Belize Dollar contract for the construction of a new Xunantunich Ferry to be funded by the Sustainable Tourism Program, STP. Project Director of STP, Christy Mastry spoke to Love News about the plans that are underway
CHRISTY MASTRY, PROJECT DIRECTOR
“Under the STP Program, improvements for the archaeological sites, one of the components was a new ferry to access Xunantunich and we put that out to the national competitive bidding for goods process under the IDB program and we just signed a contract, little over a week ago to start the new ferry.”
NATALIE NOVELA, Reporter
“And why is this upgrade necessary?”
CHRISTY MASTRY, PROJECT DIRECTOR
“Well the existing ferry right now is over thirty five years old. It has ,you know, the usual wear and tear, from -- any piece of equipment that has been working this hard for so long, it transports over 50,000 visitors across that river a year. With peek days something up to 300 visitors, so that’s, I don’t know, X amount of trips and the hand crank is getting older and parts of the edges of the ferry where the steel was starting to erode was becoming compromise and also because of the nature of some of the larger buses now, the actual canopy on the ferry cannot take the larger buses so we wanted to do that upgrade to allow the larger buses to cross which would definitely eliminate some of the pressure on getting people back and forth. Well the new ferry, as I mention, one of the main thing would be slightly taller, so it can accommodate some of the larger buses. It will still have the iconic hand crank system as we see today but we’ll also include a motorise assistant system. So it will move slightly faster across the river but not that anyone will notice in that consideration but it will be kind of an upgrade as far as what exist today.”
IT'S A Belizean landmark - and a fairly ancient one - but the Succotz Ferry is on its way out - and will be replaced with a new ferry.
And that's why the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve will be closed to the Public from October 29th to November first.
According to a press release sent out by NICH, the closure has become necessary in order to facilitate the removal of the old ferry and the installation of a new one.
Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve is closed while Succotz Ferry is replaced
A contract for the construction of the new ferry was signed in June of this year. According to Christy Mastre of the Sustainable Tourism Project, the new Xunantunich Ferry is being contracted to a local company and should be up and running in a couple of weeks. The ferry has been an iconic Belizean landmark but with its long life came deterioration. So it will be retired and replaced with a new ferry as was explained by Christy.
CHRISTY MASTRE: And that's going to be a former contraction process taking place off-site. The final bid for the ferry was 142 thousand, and the winning firm was Cayo Steel Works, under Mr Leon Stewart. So that's a former contraction process, and we hope to have the ferry on site by November, the beginning of high season this year. All the funding for the Sustainable Tourism Program comes from a loan by the IDB, given to the Government of Belize, and housed in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, with counterpart funding from the Belize Tourism Board.
Work date for the replacement ferry is fast approaching and it’s for that reason that the Xunantunich Archaeological Reserve will be closed to the Public from October 29th to the 1st of November. The closure is necessary in order to facilitate the removal of the old ferry and the installation of a new one.
Xunantunich, one of the most popular Mayan ruins in Cayo, will be closed from today, Monday the 29th, until noon on Thursday, November 1st, for the installation of the new ferry. Thanks for the improvements, NICH!
Since it was installed in 1975, the old hand-cranked Succotz Ferry has probably served more visitors to Xunantunich than McDonalds has served burgers.
And while it is quaint - it's also out-dated - and the motorized Succotz Ferry 2.0 was launched today.
It is longer and can carry more weight. It was replaced with funds from the Sustainable Tourism Programme - and at the launching today, the programme's director told the Press Office more:..
Christy Mastry, Sustainable Tourism Project "Today we launched the new ferry that will now hold up to 4 small autos and 2 of the minivans than come across over to the Xunantunich site. It's really exciting for us, the old ferry is incredibly historical, it's been working for 37 years all on a hand crank and we mention the long line of people who did the cranking over the many years. It's really exciting to be uniting history and culture, the tourism sector and a lot of the really active local communities in the area because it's really been involvement in the STP with the twins towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio and now Benque Del Carmen and especially now San Jose Succotz which is really the home of the ferry and where we will establish the old ferry as a landmark at the entrance to the town itself."
The new ferry costs $142 thousand dollars and was constructed by Cayo Steel Works.
The old Ferry was built in 1975 by Escander Bedran Sr.
It transported around 50, 000 visitors a year and up to 300 visitors a day on peak visitor days.
After 40 years, a new ferry was inaugurated in San Jose Succotz crossing the river to Xunantunich. It was a combination of culture, tourism and local community. Xunantunich was the first site open to the public in the 1950's. The site's name has been changed numerous times and Dr. Jaime Awe from the Institute of Archeaology, enlightened those that gathered for this landmark occasion. Initially, it was called Mount Moloney in name of Sir Alfred Moloney. Then it was deemed an inappropriate name and called Benque Viejo. As this thriving community was almost named the capital of Cayo. But having a Spanish name was also considered inappropriate. An acheaologist officionado, Thomas Gann thought it fitting to name it Xunantunich, which ancient Mayas called Clay Mountain. Xunantunich refers to the ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the site, beginning in 1892. She is dressed completely in white, and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of "El Castillo", ascends the stone stairs, and disappears into a stone wall. Launching this ferry is a milestone of progress to protect and enhance tourism. Cultural toursim as Min. Heredia noted is a key factor in development. The Ministry is endeavoring more efforts in Placencia, Cayo and Ambergris Caye. Here in Cayo, there is work on the ATM Caves, Cayo Welcome Center and Cahal Pech. Our Archeaological Parks represent heritage and education. After all the Minister noted, a country that does not honor it's history, is like a man wihtout a soul! They have made efforts to preserve the hand crank mechanism that the ferry is reknown for. And as 'with every new begininning, there are moments of reflection' and Ms Diane Haylock, noted Escandar Bedran Sr. who was the creator of the old ferry. The old ferry will be relocated in San Jose Succotz and not just disgarded. It is after all an important part of history!
The New Ferry at Xunantunich The Institute of Archaeology has quite a few great pictures up from Xunantunich's new ferry inauguration.
"Today history, culture and tourism all came together in the opening of the new ferry. Tourism stakeholders, NICH, The Institute of Archaeology, BTB, STP and the ferry's engineers all came together for the maiden voyage."
New ferry installed on the Mopan River in Succotz village
New ferry installed
A new ferry was today commissioned on the Mopan River in Cayo. The new ferry provides a crucial link to the historical archaeological site, Xunantunich, via the village of San Jose Succotz. The new, modern ferry replaces one that was there for thirty seven years. Constructed by Cayo Steel Works, the ferry was opened by the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia, Junior.
The ferry is part of the national Sustainable Tourism Program, headed by Christy Mastry.
Funding for the ferry came from the Inter-American Development Bank through a thirty million-dollar loan to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for infrastructural improvement across the country.
Funny news of the day. It seems like there are some minor design flaws in the new Xunantunich ferry. 4 vehicles can fit on it though.
It was not until this morning that I had the opportunity to cross over the Mopan river at San Jose, and I had a oopps moment. I would actually classify it as an epic fail, then again I’m no engineer.
So as I was crossing the ferry with a 2012 Toyota High Roof Hi Ace van the lip of the van scratched the ferry and as I made my way into it the butt of the van scratched on the pavement of the hill. We, me and the other van merely crossed the river. On the other side is also another matter I directed the other van to move first and he did. As it was moving off the back tires pushed the ferry away form the bank. the ferry man cranked it back to the edge and I was then given the go ahead to cross.
On our way back, I realized same thing occurred I also noticed its bad design and it should be addressed before a major accident occurs.
The ramp to enter the ferry has an arch to it, the previous ramp did not have this and thus we did not have this problem. The ramp creates an angle that some vans and small cars can’t take thus the scratches to the back and front. Also the wood thats on the ferry where your tires should be is not correct and autos can easily slip off onto the river, in my van I had to come off the wood to be able to drive out of the ferry.
In conclusions the ferry itself is built very strong and I like that it can take more autos than the previous ferry four cars in total. Now both ramps need be addressed!!!… tune up or redesigned as some things may look good on paper but the practicality of is another.