Happy September Celebrations to all Belizeans and those visiting us from abroad. Over the 10th weekend the Wonderer wandered on the Placencia peninsula for a short weekend. While wandering I was impressed with all the development taking place. Development is good when it is responsibly done. Saw some lots near the lagoon that are barely 60 feet from the roadside to the lagoon side. Where is the 66 feet reserve? Is it only a myth or are some land-owners more special than others? I wonder if the officers in charge of all departments are aware of many infractions occurring or they are doing like their political boses? If you di do I wan do too!

Two projects aroused my curiousity. While having lunch at “The Placencia” I noticed dredging occurring within their so called marina (see photo 1 taken Friday 9th) built some years ago. There were structures of rock (A, B, C) placed in the sea partially encircling the pier. Before the marina was built lots of people used to enjoy swimming at the Placencia. The beach was sandy and you could swim out as far as possible. Two years later everyone stopped swimming at “The Placencia” because the beach suffered some drastic erosion and it also became mucky. The entire bottom of the seabed became mucky. Obviously this was not a good project and perhaps the engineering was not adequate because anyone could have told you that the rock structures were going to reduce the flow or speed of the currents which are normally from north to south.

Also the natural wave action was drastically reduced thus causing settlement of the fines in the marina zone. Now they are dredging to clean up the mess. The wonderer predicts that erosion will increase in the region. Let’s watch and see! On that same picture (photo 1) look at point D which is the most narrow section of the peninsula. It’s eroding constantly. Something should be done by the Ministry of Works (MOW) or the developers’ association – BTIA, before it totally joins the lagoon and the sea. Interestingly look at point E and F, is there any 66 feet reserve. Talking about special people!

As I wandered around after lunch I noticed severe erosion on the property just south of The Placencia. This usually happens to the nearby property downstream of the shoreline currents.

Another project we drove by and wandered around was the famous ARA MACAO project. I noticed a new sign (photo 3) that went up showcasing a new project, totally different than the one some 10 years ago. This project is using only the 340 acres west of the main road up to the coast. Photo 4 shows the original project which was to relocate the main road as a huge marina would be built. See the red dotted line for the present location of the main road. The original project had two entrances which is standard engineering design for proper flushing effects. Normally an international engineering firm knowledgeable in coastal management is hired to study and design these things. If you notice the 2 marinas are completely different and a complete new study would have to be done to determine its shape, depth, etc. to ensure proper flushing effects. One entrance is a great concern as proper flushing will never occur because of the magnitude of the marina.

Photo 2 shows an aerial photograph of the region including Riversdale. Notice the erosion that has occurred south of Riversdale, especially inside the Ara Macao Property. This past weekend as I wandered around the Ara Macao property I noticed that the new project has begun. The marina is being excavated internally and the roads are being built. I checked the DOE webpage to find out if a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was posted and saw “nada”. A project of this magnitude requires a complete new EIA especially because it is a totally different project. Also I’m wondering if the new owners were charged for starting a project without an EIA and Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP). I understand they can be charged up to $ 100,000. I’m wondering how much was the fine? I know about several smaller projects that have been fined recently for commencing a project without environmental approval. The wonderer believes that all this information should be placed on their webpage. Who is developing? Where? LLES or EIA is required? Showcase the document(s) submitted. We also need to see the ECP every project signs. Is this a free country or what! Don’t hide the data like the passport data. Please don’t! Mr. Minister of Environment you are new and clean, please ensure openness in your portfolios. I’m wondering how much more new and clean Ministers the government has? Development is important for our nation to go forward, good development, let’s stop wandering and start wondering how we shall ensure this to happen!

THE WONDERER – [email protected]

The Belize Times