The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is getting ready to launch a project that will hopefully save the eastern shoreline of Ambergris Caye from erosion. Work is expected to start in the upcoming week, and the cooperation of all residents, particularly those who live near the coast, is being requested for its success.

Mayor Daniel Guerrero says that this is not the first attempt in fighting the speedy erosion along the island’s beaches. This time, however, he believes that the project will be successful. “The erosion is taking most of the sand to the southern part of the island, so we plan to use that same sand and spread it along the stretch of the beach from the Boca del Rio Park to the dock by Palapa Bar,” said Guerrero.

SPTC believes one of the culprits for the degradation of the beach is the pipe system some businesses and residences along the beach use to drain out rain water. The force of the water from these external pipes scar the beach and wash away extensive amounts of sand. The plan that Mayor Guerrero has is to connect everybody’s pipe system to one main hub, which will go underneath the ground. “This new system will drain rain water without affecting the surface of the beach,” said Guerrero. “The underground pipe system will take the rain water directly to the sea and will also decrease the amount of sediments settling down on the shore, thus adding to the enhancement of the beach.”

The restriction of vehicular transit has been considered, but authorities at the SPTC admitted that for the time being it cannot be fully enforced. According to Guerrero, the only vehicles that will be allowed to transit along the beach once the project starts will be golf carts only. “No big pickups, SUV’s or other heavy vehicles will be allowed to drive by the beach, except for the Town Council vehicles,” he said. “But I am in the opinion that even golf carts should be banned from transiting the beach area.” Guerrero also mentioned that the areas where the works will be taking place will be properly identified with signs so residents become aware of the project. At the same time, the SPTC asks for everyone’s cooperation.

Guerrero said that the program may not reclaim the beach entirely, however, it will make it last longer. “Another plan we have to help protect the beach is to build a retaining wall parallel to the beach level without affecting the natural form of the beach. This will slow down further erosion and it will even serve as a seating area,” he said.

The SPTC hopes that with this project, the beach could be extended up to a possible 15 to 20 feet from the existing shoreline. For more information, visit the Town Board offices located on Barrier Reef Drive or call 226-2198 during normal working hours.

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