Caribbean Developers Belize Limited is proposing to create a diversified residential, commercial amenity-based tourism development project on 3,000 acres of land, which is approximately 13 miles north of San Pedro Town. The development site itself is situated centrally on Ambergris Caye, forming a land bridge between Laguna de Cayo Frances and Santa Cruz Lagoon, the latter of which falls within the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. The announcement of the project’s preliminary public consultation scheduled for November 16th, has revealed a first look into the proposed development. Some of the key elements of this $100US million dollar project to be completed in three phases, will consist of multi-family and single family residence sites; 10 casino hotels; an 18-hole 190-acre golf course with single family golf residences; restaurants and bars; pools; piers with slips, overwater villas; a beach club condominium-hotel and a free zone.
The overall planning concept was developed by a United States-based land planning firm, which has been modified to accommodate the key findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by Ecoworks. In order to afford the developer maximum flexibility during the operation, the overall design plan follows an approach that uses distinct sections of the land for select development components.
The construction project will be divided into three phases, and is set to be completed over a period of 10 to 20 years. The development is designed to be equipped with 12 hotel complexes spanning 375 acres and offering 6,100 suites; 302 multi-family complexes spanning 430 acres and offering a total of 1,210 units; 835 single family residences spanning 965 acres; 20 over-water villas spanning 30 acres; 400 beach club condominium units on 20 acres of Caribbean beach front; as well as a transit pier on five acres, and a free zone established on 140 acres; for a total of 8,565 suits, units and residences, to be established on 2,110 acres. The amenities include: boating facilities; spa and fitness clubs, and a golf course.
The first phase is estimated to have a construction time frame of three to four years. The proposal in the EIA states that approximately eight components will be constructed: primarily a dockyard, lagoon hotel and two casino hotels of 250 keys each, three multi-family residence sites (including a staff residence site) of 400 keys each, a single family residential block of 100 keys each, and a free zone development site.
In the second phase of development, the construction will geared at building two casino hotels of 250 keys each, and the single family golf residences of 400 keys each. This is projected to take a total of three years. Within the final phase of this development, five components will be constructed, which include a boutique hotel of 100 keys each, 2 family residential blocks of 335 keys, combined; 20-key overwater villas; and a beach club condominium-hotel of 400 keys.
According to the EIA, the development site estimated to have a total human capacity of 1,500 staff and 15,732 guests. The development footprint will consist of approximately 62% of the entire 3,000 acres site planned for placement of the project, including 127 acres (4.2%) of vertical construction (i.e. condominiums, free zone, bar and restaurant hotels, gas station, etc.), and 297 acres (9.9%) for carriage way alignments for a total of approximately 424 acres of total land area as development space. However, the EIA states that a significant portion of the property is being set aside as ‘green space’.
Before this development commences, a preliminary public forum will be hosted by Belize Environmental Technologies (BET) to consult the public on the “North Ambergris Caye Proposed Development Project Caribbean Developers (Belize) Limited” on Wednesday, November 16th. The consultation will take place at the Lions Den from 6PM to 8PM, and BET will provide factual information about the proposed development project.
By attending this forum, the community will be able to better understand the key issues that should be considered during the EIA update process, discuss the more significant environmental and socio-economic aspects of the proposed development project, present on the EIA standards and the way forward for updating of the 2009 EIA studies, and hear and document concerns and offer clarifications as required.
For further information, you may contact Ismael Fabro, Managing Director BET at 223-1819/607-1957 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of the “Summary Development Project Document”, can be viewed at: drive.google.com/file/d/0B9rqXlUnnRFkNExmd1VoTmVKd00/view?usp=sharing
The San Pedro Sun
Caribbean Developers Ltd. building on Maya Sites
Letter to the Editor
by Jan Brown, MGMSAC, Ltd, a Belizean Non-Profit Organization to preserve the history of Marco Gonzalez
I’m writing you because of reading another article on what this corporation proposes to do to our delicate island. Not only do I see the threat to natural habitat, wildlife, mangrove affected nurseries and its babies who will no longer thrive and grow up to become a tourist attraction somewhere on the reef, I’m also seeing it from a history aspect. The article defines the 3,000 acres as being “partially in the Bacalar Chico World Heritage Site area”, taking in the western locations of Laguna de Frances and Santa Clara. Can you say Maya sites? REGISTERED Maya Sites? Then to the center of the development map lies Basil Jones, very close to the proposed reconstructed airport. Another REGISTERED Maya Site.
I’m attaching a map from the Dr. Thomas Guderjan book “Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye”. (An archaeological team came to AC in the early ’80’s, sought out the Maya presence and Dr. Graham registered them with GOB.) See a pattern of dots? #17 – Santa Cruz; #16 (to the south and perhaps out of the proposed development) Laguna Frances; #18 (again not on the proposed development map) is Punta Limon; #8 – Basil Jones. A route and home sites of the Coastal Maya Traders on Ambergris Caye. I have been on walk abouts’ in the area of Basil Jones and there are more sites which have NOT been registered back in the 1980’s.
In the haste to sell off land to foreign investors, we are losing sight of what came before us. #11 Tres Cocos is all but gone behind The Hotel. #10 Hancock…where is that one along with #12 Guerrero? In the mangroves, or already built over for San Mateo? As for #13……well, folks, that’s your CENTRAL PARK down town San Pedro. Yes, it’s registered as San Pedro. From water to water, the SP Preschool to the (now) water taxi dock at Central Park – THAT’s a Maya site. All gone, except for what is still under a building or street.
Look at the Caribbean Developers (Belize) Ltd. maps and you will see an arrow indicating “Ancient Maya Site” by Santa Cruz. The next map of the actual development plan showing the western side by the lake indention as completely built out on top of any existing ruins. BUT, geez, they built in a “Maya Museum-Archaeological? How nice. Wonder who will control what comes out of the ground in that section? Institute of Archaeology is on top of this one, I hope.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful and a lovely tourist adventure if someone, some group on island could take interest in our Maya Heritage, besides myself at Marco Gonzalez, and create a tour of the Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye. If we could support archaeologists with a grant to come explore/excavate some of the sites before they’re all gone? GOB doesn’t have the money! Marco Gonzalez is authenticated to date to 100BC and perhaps older. Chac Balam on the opposite end of island is thought to be a vacation place for Maya elite, dating in the 900-1200AD. The canal separating Mexico and Belize was completed by the Maya somewhere in 600AD – think about it – 1400 years ago. And NONE OF THIS is being taught to our children, much less the tour guides by the very expensive Tour Guide Handbook.
Soooo, another sell off, if it happens in my lifetime, a proposed populace of over 15,000 to the north end to visit the 20 casino hotels, most likely without infrastructure before building (isn’t Grand Belizean Estates pretty and functional?) and Ambergris Caye starts looking like the strip of Cancun. No wonder powers-that-be have been talking about an “international airport” up north. A Duty Free area is to be included. Think about it and I hope to see you at the consultation on Wednesday. If you have anything to say, now is the time to start.
PS. Blackadore Caye isn’t on the map, but it’s registered as well. And a new one was registered in March just above the turn into GB Estates. Ta’ab Na, Maya for Salt Making.