Islanders say No to Cayo Rosario Development
Island residents strongly rejected the idea of a proposed tourism development at Cayo Rosario during the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) presentation on Wednesday, April 5th at the San Pedro’s Lions Den. Cayo Rosario, a 10-acre privately owned island, densely packed with mangroves on the leeward coast of northern Ambergris Caye, is part of the finalized expansion of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Investors intend to develop a project that will include over-the-water structures and will accommodate up to 600 guests.
During the meeting on Wednesday, the audience saw little commitment to the environment after it was disclosed that they intend to construct 80% of the project off of the island by building over-the-water structures. The proposed development claims that building 20% of the infrastructure on the island is their only financially viable option. It was an idea that was soundly rejected by those in attendance.
The full-house meeting saw a group of construction workers eager for work, and many concerned residents and tourism stakeholders who opposed the idea of the construction on the caye. The event, which started at 6:30PM, had George Myvette and Alfonso Avilez from the Tunich-Nah Consultancy Agency presenting their findings about the viability of the project. Myvette began his presentation based on the fauna and species inhabiting the island. According to him, the waters around Cayo Rosario are not pristine or biologically diverse, pointing out that only nine species of fish were found in the area. “We did some tests around the waters of the island and there was not much visible life and little presence of sea grass,” said Myvette. He explained that the information was based on his two visits to Cayo Rosario, and the audience strongly disputed his statements. One fisherman, who has been working the waters for over 30 years explained how in his decades of fishing, there have been days when there are no fish in the area, and other days when they are overwhelmingly abundant.
Avilez spoke about the engineering aspect of the project, explaining that the development will count with its own power and water source. The plan is to use a submarine pipe route between the northern coast of Ambergris Caye (in an area known as Ambergris Bay subdivision), where generators will be stationed to provide power to the over the water bungalows, 12 mangrove bungalows, 15 hotel villas, one welcome centre, one spa, one dive shop, and one island club. “There will be three cables with pipes connecting the island with the mainland of Ambergris Caye. Two of those lines will bring in potable water and one will deliver communication and electricity,” he said. According to Avilez, the water for the Cayo Rosario will come from surface water and will be treated with reverse osmosis before being used for consumption. “We have a plan for the black water, or waste water. It will be recycled and used for irrigation,” said Avilez.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
At Cayo Rosario development hearing, plans for ‘gringo rings’ rile San Pedro
It took the last fisherman of the night, a quiet gentleman named Gomez, to strip away all the sham and pretense in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the preposterous Cayo Rosario resort proposal.
It was a long and emotional hearing and San Pedranos were pretty much shredding the EIA during the Q&A. If anger were a liquified mass, it would be boiling over and spilling out of the Lion’s Den on to Front Street in San Pedro. As it was, the audience was spilling out onto the streets.
Gomez told the hearing panel that he has pursued bonefish and permit in the shallow waters around Cayo Rosario for 30 years as a tour guide.
“There were days when we saw nothing,” he acknowledged. “And the next day the fish would be so thick you felt like you could walk on them.”
Then he pointed to the engineers and scientists who compiled the report. “You went there for one or two days and concluded there were no fish!” He shook his head in a mix of disgust and amazement.