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Work begins on Stake Bank Belize port: 4 cruise berths #533071
11/03/18 06:12 AM
11/03/18 06:12 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,276
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Stake Bank Cruise Port - modern docking facility 10 minutes from Belize City with four berths and facilities for passengers and crew

Belize's long-awaited Stake Bank Cruise Port is a 'go.' The 25-acre island project just off Belize City will shorten the current long tender ride to Belize Tourism Village by providing berths for four cruise ships, plus expedited tours dispatch, beaches, a crafts market and retail, dining, cabanas, over-water bungalows and crew facilities.

First phase cost including piers $67m

The cost of the project's first phase—including the two finger piers, large enough to handle four of the world's biggest cruise ships simultaneously—is $67m.

Belizean businessman Michael Feinstein—who developed Belize Tourism Village years ago—told Seatrade Cruise News all permits, including environmental, are in place, and funding is guaranteed. The project, he said, has the support of both the local public and private sectors in Belize.

'All the cruise lines we have communicated with have been in favor of this project, including one [that] offered to buy us out, one [that] offered to invest and many letters of support,' Feinstein said.

2020 completion

Work has begun, with the official groundbreaking set for January. Completion is targeted for the start of the high season in 2020.

One of the western Caribbean's most popular cruise destinations, Belize City has been challenged by the need for ships to tender passengers 45 minutes to shore. Belize Tourism Village can get congested and, from there, passengers taking excursions to Belize's natural wonders face additional lengthy transfers.

Stake Bank Cruise Port will provide a modern docking facility 10 minutes from Belize City, with facilities for tenders to the mainland and tour dispatch, 'like an intermodal center,' said Mike McFadden, president of Florida-based MAC Maritime, the project's cruise industry liaison. He noted this will especially facilitate waterborne excursions.

Beaches, over-water bungalows, bars, a water park

Stake Bank itself will be developed as a beach and cultural destination with ample passenger and crew facilities. These include a swimming and snorkeling lagoon, family beach, teen beach and, in a different location, a watersports zone. There will be tranquil seaside cabanas near a beach bar, and over-water bungalows.

A separate Beach Club will feature a pool, pool bar and grill, with an ample water park and kids' play zone nearby. An oceanfront restaurant will be located near the marina where tenders connect to Belize City.

Travelers will step ashore into a grand arrival plaza, and crew will have their own area, including a pool.

Click here to read the rest of the article in Seatrade Cruise News

Re: Work begins on Stake Bank Belize port: 4 cruise berths [Re: Marty] #533196
11/10/18 05:55 AM
11/10/18 05:55 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,276
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


Investors in the Stake Bank Cruise Port, Stake Bank Enterprise Limited (SBEL), announced that design work for the much anticipated cruise port facility was set to commence this week. The project is expected to have a significant impact on the cruise tourism sector, particularly in Belize City where the need for a cruise port to accommodate larger ships as the industry continues to grow became apparent in recent years.

According to SEBL, the port will provide the cruise industry with a state-of-the-art docking facility 10 minutes away from Belize City with the capacity to accommodate four of the world’s largest cruise ships simultaneously. The 25-acre island will feature areas and facilities for tours, tender dispatches, retail, cultural attractions, beaches and passenger and crew services.

The project, is being spearheaded by Belizean investor Michael Feinstein, and is expected to be a major source of employment for the local population within the next three years. The tourism industry accounts for 30 percent of the country’s GDP and is a significant source of foreign exchange. The project has the support of both the public and private sectors and is expected to significantly boost the cruise tourism industry, which has seen consistent growth over recent years with the country seeing record numbers of arrivals.

The group of investors said groundbreaking on the project is scheduled for January 2019 with full construction set to begin immediately after. The project is expected to be completed by the start of the high season in 2020.

The Reporter

Re: Work begins on Stake Bank Belize port: 4 cruise berths [Re: Marty] #534980
02/21/19 04:54 AM
02/21/19 04:54 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,276
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Stake Bank is a project that had as many twists and turns in its development as any Disney themed ride. The project was given parliamentary approval in 2014. The exclusivity issue for the Fort Street Tourism Village was an issue, but that had been resolved. Therefore in August, 2017, the Government signed “Definitive Agreement” with the Feinstein Group to build the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility. The developer Mike Feinstein had received financing from Atlantic Bank and a consortium of international investors for the world class facility with two docks that would accommodate 4 Voyager class vessels and feature an 80 room resort and a marina, a theme park with water rides, a roller coaster and aquarium spread over 17 acres. At the time a Government press release stated that at least 500 Belizeans would be employed by the investment which was then estimated at 50 Million US dollars. Fast-forward to today’s groundbreaking that featured bipartisan support that would make the ICJ Referendum jealous, the Stakebank groundbreaking ceremony had the attendance of former Minister of Finance Ralph Fonseca; Leader of the Opposition John Briceno; UDP Senator Aldo Salazar; Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte; Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber; Pup Cayo South’s Julius Espat; Minister of Trade and Investment Tracy Taegar Panton, and Caribbean Area Shores Representative Kareem Musa. Mike Feinstein said that by the time the project is completed, the cost would be up to 82 million US dollars.

Mike Feinstein: “The Bankers for this project is being led by the Atlantic Bank Group. The Atlantic Bank is the lead organizer for the money for this project which is $67 million US on the island for a total of about $82 million before this project is done. This again will be 95 percent Belizean and from here the tenuring has been reduced by 40 percent going over to North Round Caye in much calmer waters, in a much more stable scenario. The terminals will be there, parking for 200 buses. Nobody will be left out of that one. Inside the terminal we make space for everybody so again all Belizean so the proposals is to do a causeway from Belize City to North Ground which is two miles. The causeway from here to North ground I have a feeling that will not be necessary but I will have to do what I have to do but the tenuring will work just fine, now reduced by 40%.

Jose Sanchez: “So have you completed all the EIA’s, gotten approval from NEAC, did your consultation. Did you expect any issues with environmentalist or people concerned about the environment.

Mike Feinstein: “Well this one is a done deal. North ground has full environmental clearances, the Cabinet sub committee has approved it. We are working out a few technicalities on moving forward with that project but there is no hold up with this one.

John Allyn VP EDSA INC.:  ‘We are Resort designers. We do destination Resort design all over the world. We have worked in six continents for over 50 years.

Jose Sanchez: “Okay so what do you expect to do in relation to State Bank?”

John Allyn VP EDSA INC.: “Well we want to create an experience that is unique and I have worked on projects in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and one thing that struck me from day one is that it is extremely unusual to find a place in Belize that offers everything. You have centuries of culture, you have history going back to the Mayans, natural beauty. Opportunities for all kinds of different things and you can find elements of those things all over the place but it is hard to find a place that has the potential for everything so I am very excited to find out what this can be. I think this project can become a gateway to the world, to the rest of Belize and to what Belzie has to offer but what we are trying to do is create a private pristine tranquil environment. Guests can get off the ship, they can spend the day in snorkel lagoon, they have opportunities to relax, to enjoy a water park. They can shop, dine and have fun and if go no further they can have an amazing time but the wonderful thing is you are literally minutes from the mainland. You’ve got everything that Belize has to offer there then you are literally minutes from offshore experiences, the best diving and fishing in the world so for guest experience that combination is phenomenal so I really think this project is going to be great for Belize.”

The project could be completed in two years.


Finally, A Stake Bank Groundbreaking

We first reported in the possibility of a cruise port with a docking facility at the Stake Bank Caye in 2006. It's an island owned by Mike Feinstein which is 6 miles off the Belize City Coast - and it promises to be the first Cruise Port in the Belize District with a berthing facility - meaning that cruise ships can pull right up and there would be no need for tendering.

But the promise has been lost in legal, political and financing battles for 13 years - and for a long time, it seemed to be a sure thing, but just never materialized. Matter of fact, there was even an act of parliament with bipartisan support to push it through...but until today, there were no shovels in the ground.

But, this morning, ground was actually broken on the mega million dollar project which promises to re-map the face of cruise tourism in the Belize District. Daniel Ortiz reports:...

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Government Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, the Mayor of Belize City, and even past ministers of Government were among the VIP's who all travelled this morning to Stake Bank Caye.

To participate in the ground breaking ceremony for the Stake Bank Cruise Port project.

Developer Mike Feinstein, and his family enterprise, the Feinstein Group, went through quite a struggle, cutting through executive red tape for years, and they even had to win a legal battle against the owners of FSTV to make this day a reality.

Mike Feinstein - Developer, Stake Bank Cruise Port
"It has a very long time, but as I told one of the ministers, I said, I have a tiger by the tail, and I refuse to let it go. It will turn around and bite my ass (beep out "ass") but, I rest my case."

The Stake Bank Cruise Port should be up and running in about 2 years from today.

Troy Gabb - Project Manager, Stakebank
"In 18 to 24 months, these cruise vessels will now be able to turn off their engines, while in the Belize harbor, and additionally, the older passengers can now be encouraged to disembark, as well as majority of the cruise. This is not an option presently available to the cruise lines. Since the project is to construct the docking facilities which was announced back in August, many cruise lines that do not presently visit Belize, such as Holland America, and MSC etc., have formally expressed interest in obtaining docking space, so that they can now place Belize on their future itineraries."

Mike McFadden - Consultant
"We will start seeing many brands calling Belize that have not called before. My discussions with Disney, with MSC, with Viking, with Virgin, a brand new cruise ship under Sir Richard Brandson, are all very excited about this project, and most especially that they can come to a dock."

And that's because Stake Bank will become the second berthing and docking facility in Belize that can accommodate the latest models of cruise ships used by the worlds biggest cruise lines.

Mike McFadden - Consultant
"3 weeks ago, I attended a Florida Caribbean Cruise Association conference and presented this project to a number of cruise executives. The response was very positive, and 1 clear message was repeated over and over. The Western Caribbean needs a more dedicated cruise berths and port infrastructures to accommodate the latest generation of cruise ships to be deployed to the region. So, please get this project up and running ASAP. We heard that over and over again."

Developer Mike Feinstein now has the Government's full support build this facility.

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General
"Brother Mike, you have more bipartisan support than when we proposed to legalize 10 grams or less for marijuana. You have even have an Imam and a catholic priest."

Mike Feinstein - Developer, Stake Bank Cruise Port
"The bankers for this project is being led by the Atlantic Bank group. The Atlantic Bank is the lead organizer for the money for this project which is 67 million US dollars on the island and a total of 82 million before this project is done."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney General
"The time has come for Belize and Belizeans to stop thinking small. We have to accept that we have the ability to do anything on a world class level, like anybody else in the world. Brother Mike, you are extremely brave, and adventurous to start an investment like this from this stage. And the vision that you have for this place only an aggressive entrepreneur like yourself could see it, could envision it, could want it, and are willing to work so hard to get it."

And even though He's is a homegrown developer, Feinstein isn't compromising on what his vision for Stake Bank is.

John Allen - VP, EDSA INC
"What we're trying to is create a private, pristine, tranquil environment. Guests can get off their ship. They can spend the day here snorkel the Lagoon. They have opportunities to relax, to enjoy a water park. They can shop, dine, have fun, and if they go no further, they'll have an amazing time. But, the wonderful thing is you're literally minutes from the mainland. You have everything that Belize has to offer there. You're literally minutes to off-shore experiences, the best diving and fishing in the world. So, from a guest experience, that combination is phenomenal. So, I really think this project it gonna be great for Belize."

Feinstein says that Stake Bank will also make space for local tour operators to conduct business.

Mike Feinstein
"When we did the FSTV, it was called BTV at the time, Belize Tourism Village. It was 95% Belizean owned, all the stores and operating everything inside that village. Since we sold it, it became 95% foreign. This, again, will be 95% Belizean. And from here, the tendering has been reduced by 40%, going over to North Drowned Caye, in much calmer waters, a much more stable scenario. The terminals will be there, parking for 200 buses. Nobody will be left out of that one. We'll make space for everybody."

As viewers may be aware, the Stake Bank project has two major parts to it: Stake Bank and North Drown Caye. Mike Feinstein told reporters that there are some "technicalities" being worked out for North Drowned Caye.

Channel 7

Re: Work begins on Stake Bank Belize port: 4 cruise berths [Re: Marty] #535405
03/16/19 06:30 AM
03/16/19 06:30 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,276
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Looking at environmental aspects of Stake Bank Project during REEF WEEK

The Oceana website says the objective of Reef Week, an annual celebration of all things marine started by the organization in 2013, is “to raise awareness of the pivotal role the Barrier Reef plays in Belizean lives and livelihood.” The Stake Bank Project is of substantial concern in relation to the reef. Our observation is that this project will need special monitoring by the authorities, for the protection of the environment and the good of all involved.

Most Belizeans have welcomed the Stake Bank project because it will inject a sizable amount of capital into our economy, the estimates ranging from US$50 million to US$82 million when all the phases of the project are complete. Most of the investment will go toward purchases of raw materials and rental of mining equipment from abroad, but a sizable number of jobs will be created for Belizeans, both during the construction phase and when the enterprise is up and running. The developers expect the facility to be opened for business sometime in 2020.

It is reported that the Stake Bank Project is primarily owned by Belizeans, the Feinstein Group, and it is the largest project to come on stream in our country with a Belizean being the controlling shareholder. Mr. Mike Feinstein, the major shareholder, has said that there are international investors and the arrangements are being handled by the Atlantic Bank in Belize. The Belize Government is fully behind the project. The Government passed the STAKE BANK CRUISE DOCKING FACILITY DEVELOPMENT (AMENDMENT) ACT 2017, a 25-year agreement that allows the Group certain tax incentives, some limited to the development phase of the project and some over the life of the agreement, and the sharing of a head tax to be levied on cruise tourists who enter the facility.

Stake Bank, where most of the project is located, is a 21-acre, largely manmade mangrove island about four miles east of Belize City. Much of the island’s foundation is made of ballast (bricks, stones, etc.) dumped from sailing ships that came to Belize for cargo, and logs for export that broke free and sank into the mud. The Feinstein Group’s website said Stake Bank Island will have “a deep water cruise port capable of hosting an impressive four voyager-class cruise ships at any given time…will provide visitors high quality services and amenities including a marina, shops, restaurants and other entertainment venues…an independent entertainment and shopping area for cruise crew members and an exciting Mayan-themed water park.”

There is also another project envisioned by the Group, Ocean View Grand. The Group says this project will be “on the 538-acre island of North Drowned Caye, 2.5 miles offshore from Belize City.” This will have “exclusive single family beachfront estates and homes, lakefront multi-family units and marina condos… boutique hotel and spa…a beach hotel, beach club and casino conference center… 200 boat slips and dry-stack facilities.” The Group said “Stake Bank and Ocean View Grand will be connected to each other via a vehicular causeway and another causeway will connect Ocean View Grand to the mainland.” At the grand launch of the project a couple weeks ago, the causeway linking Grand Ocean View to the mainland was not included. But even without that, by our standards this is a massive project. These islands, Stake Bank and Drowned Cayes, are swamps, so a never-before-seen in Belize scale of dredging will have to be done to fill them, and when the project is up and running there will be major issues with handling of wastes.

We have seen the 2006 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) done on a somewhat smaller project,US$25 million, involving the same Stake Bank Island. A significant amount of mangroves, habitat for marine life and birds, will be lost to the project. But the experts say we can absorb that.

In its present state, with just one cabin, the researchers found that there was a relatively high concentration of E.coli around Stake Bank Island. The EIA stated: “The possibility of these bacteria coming from marine traffic and human settlement should not be ruled out [Pers. comm.., G. Myvett]. Given that there has not been any historical human habitation of Stake Bank it would be likely that these microflora are not derived from the caye: The cruise ships which are berthed in the vicinity of the caye cannot be ruled out as a potential source of E. coli [Pers. comm.., G. Myvett]. The values recorded by the Tunich (a group of environmental experts) are significantly in excess of national standards: Thus the beaches that are an integral part of the proposed development are not to be bathing beaches.”

The time when the sampling of the water was done is critical. In our “winter” months, which is the peak of the cruise tourism season, contaminants in the water around Belize City would be taken by the seasonal westerly winds all the way out to Stake Bank. However, beaches on the east side of the sister Ocean View project shouldn’t have problems with water quality at any time of the year. The massive increase in physical structures and human activity should put the ecosystem here under great pressure. In the project envisioned in 2006, the EIA estimated 14,000 tourists and 3,600 crew members landing on Stake Bank, with 15% staying on the island. The enterprise was expected to hire 375 full-time staff. The 2006 Stake Bank project, expected to cater to over 2,000 tourists per day, was expected to generate 28,074 gallons of gray water and sewer water per day, and 39,235 pounds of solid waste per week. The gray water and sewer water were to be stored in prefabricated tanks, where they would undergo a process, after which the water would be re-used for flushing toilets and irrigation. Any excess would be monitored before being dumped into the sea. Organic solid waste would be composted on the island and used to fertilize plants, while inorganic solid waste would be transported to a dumping site on the mainland.

The EIA mentioned three dredging operations associated with the project, one for a “domestic luxury yacht marina”, one for the excavation of lagoons and waterways for “water rides of the proposed theme park”, and the third is for the dredging of an access channel which would significantly shorten “the time for the ships to reach their anchorage and consequently the time for passengers to disembark.” The first two projects called for the excavation of 1,000 cubic yards of material, while the access channel called for the excavation of 2.66 million cubic meters of material. The argument for the access channel is that it would cut down the transit time to Stake Bank by 2-3 hours. The EIA experts measured a distance savings of 10.2 km, if the access channel is cut in an area near the buoy at Water Caye, on a straight line to Stake Bank. The present roundabout route which goes down to Robinson’s Point and then back up to Stake Bank, is 18.8 km. From our experience the actual time savings would be about an hour and a half. That is quite substantial for a cruise tourist who is only here for a day.

The material excavated would be used as fill for Stake Bank. The EIA said that it is important for this dredging to be done “during the warmer months… when the prevailing winds are from the east and southeast”, so that “the wind-driven effects of the surface current” would deflect the sediments to the west, “towards the mainland and away from the barrier reef.” We did not hear mention of the access channel during the ceremonies, but when we consider the advantages that brings to the project we have to believe it’s a part of the package or will be done later. The EIA said the access channel is to be 150 meters wide, 8.97 km long, with 8.4 km of that 8.97 km needing “to be dredged to the requisite 12 m depth.”

Stake Bank and Drowned Cayes are part of one of the most productive lobster flats in our country, running from San Pedro all the way down to Cay Glory, and beyond. This area will be impacted negatively, particularly if the guidelines set by the Department of the Environment (DoE) are not adhered to. It is a fact in our country that our technical experts at the DoE make great recommendations, but there is insufficient monitoring.

Santander dug a canal across the Jaguar Corridor and DoE didn’t find out about it until the deed had been done. The sand islands in the Belize River, between Roaring Creek and Teakettle, have been decimated, when they should have been mined sustainably. The decimation of the sand islands has impacted severely on at least one species, the iguana. It’s on the sand islands that they lay their eggs, and it is the sand islands that give their young a greater chance for survival. They are but two of many examples of poor supervision.

The Stake Bank Island project comes on stream at a time when our nation is desperate for an injection of capital. A lot of Belizeans are hopeful for this project. This area is fragile and so it will need special monitoring. The EIA experts have pointed out what needs to be done. But the DoE never seems to have the capacity, the finances, to do the critical supervising. It must be done, for the good of this project, and for the environment.


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