One of the challenges that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is facing right now is the Cayo Rosario project. As we have reported, Cayo Rosario Development Limited wants to construct of a resort on Cayo Rosario, a 10-acre island off the northwest coast of San Pedro, which is smack in the middle of the Hol Chan Reserve.
Viewers will remember that the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development lost their court case against the DOE for granting environmental clearance to Cayo Rosario Development Limited. While that case is dead, the Hol Chan Marin Reserve is not giving up that easily. The Executive Director says the reserve's attorney's will file another injunction to stop any further developments. He says this case will be strong and backed by research. Here are his comments.
Javier Paredez, Executive Director, Hol Chan Marine Reserve
"What Hol Chan has done is informed the minister of the environment that we are opposed to certain aspects of the project such as over the water structures, there is commercial dredging on a large scale which dredging is allowed to a certain extent but not at that scale so that is something else that we have to look at. How the sewage will be disposed of on the island so what we have done is we have engaged our attorney's to kind of file."
"Our concern is that it has to be approached from something a little wider than that, environmental, socio-economic impact, a really broader look at it, what's the impact of this project on the reef system, the health of the reserve and the citizens or most of the citizens of San Pedro have indicated that they are not too keen on this project from an environmental perspective at least so we have hired consultants to monitor the area because the ACCSD did not rely heavily on biological data so we are doing out research to bolster our case and we are also taking the legal option and at the same time we have been, the consultant for the developer or the owner and has met with us and they say they are willing to do certain concessions but as far we feel, they are not going far enough in terms of their concessions."
"I think the island has recently gone through a change of ownership actually so these are really the new owners who will be pursuing the development so I guess after that recent change they have reached out to us."
"We have already engaged our attorney's so it is not that if they continue we will start, we have already engaged our attorney's, they are doing their work, I think the Supreme Court is in recess right now so I guess when they open again, they will file that motion."
Paredez says he is in communication with the new owners of the island and they spoke as recently as last week. But regardless of consultations, he says they must continue with this new injunction to protect the reserve.