For 130-lot subdivision

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After concerned residents reported the cutting of mangroves on a private island/area formerly known as ‘Peanut Caye’, a cease and desist order was quickly issued. The area, which is a large extension of mangroves (30 acres) was inspected by personnel of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, who discovered that clearing was underway along what seems to be approved survey lines. As a result, the activity will now be closely monitored to ensure there is no further development, unless the right permits are acquired. According to the developers of “Cayo Grande Island”, the project has received approval for a 130-lot subdivision, and the plan includes roads, open spaces, canals and natural barriers. Cayo Grande Island is listed on the website of AgroNosotros, a Panama-based company that primarily does business with coffee, chocolate and operates the Peini Cacao Plantation in Toledo District Southern Belize. Cayo Grande Island is expected to turn into ‘New San Pedro’ and eventually merge with the downtown area.

This approval process was allegedly a collective effort involving the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Land Utilization Department, the Department of the Environment, and the Lands Commissioner. This exact information could not be confirmed at press time, but in a previous interview with Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Sustainable Development, the Environment, Climate Change, and Solid Waste Management Authority, Dr. Percival Cho, he briefly stated that depending on the plans with the property; they may have to go through an Environmental Impact Assessment process (EIA). An EIA is usually needed before any development of that magnitude can be materialized on a sensitive area like this mangrove island. Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of the Environment, in consultation with the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, has temporarily postponed any public consultations for the EIA process until further notice.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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