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Protest Over Gas Station Construction #547981
02/05/21 05:53 AM
02/05/21 05:53 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,820
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Protest By The Sea

And while the UDP is leading on that Commission, their Punta Gorda Mayor, Ashton Mackenzie is still facing major backlash over an under-construction gas station on Prime SeaFront Real Estate.

The project had been given a stop order over the summer, but it seems that too was overcome and, today, construction continues. But the community isn't backing down. PGTV captured it today and Cherisse Halsall's has a review:

It's been several months since we've heard from the people of Punta Gorda but they haven't stopped rallying against the construction of that gas station on the plot of land referred to as "The Y."

And this morning another protest was staged again as a crowd assembled to voice their abiding discontent.

Kamela Palma - Concerned Resident
"We the people were asleep for so many years while this land, and paid for its upkeep through our taxes, because the owner did not pay his taxes and the town board became responsible and took over from years ago, now all of a sudden they will now find a way to sell it, which is good but he sells it for the wrong purpose as far as I'm concerned and the building has started as you can see here we know that the plans have not been followed properly, we know that there are issues with this. So we are here because we want it stopped and we want. This piece of land to become the lounge of Punta Gorda town."

And while most people share that sentiment and deeply regret that the seafront public space will be lost, they're also upset about the land's proposed purpose.

Mr. P - Concerned Resident
"Four gas stations, four gas stations we have in PG we don't need another one, the population is too small to have all of these gas stations."

Among the crowd was community activist Will Maheia who once again raised the town's environmental concerns.

Wil Maheia - Concerned Resident
"Right here you could see it look at the hole right here, right there the hole that they are digging to put a tank less than 10 feet and it's already full of water. It cannot be environmentally sound, cannot be environmentally sound It's crazy and everybody's standing up out here. We are not against development, we are against unsustainable development."

Another resident told us that the project has already started to affect the children of Punta Gorda.

Allan Hines - Concerned Resident
"Those guys were spraying the bushes and the kids they couldn't take it mein, they gotta hold their nose and run inside and say what's going on, what's going on. We had to come out and let them know what's going on, you know, don't do that."

And while the children may be at risk this youth was incensed. We got this scathing message from one firebrand who had a message about regulatory measures for his fellow townspeople and for the masses.

Glen Logan - Concerned Resident
"The government's failure to sign such conventions are what put us in this situation so for me it's more than stopping this situation that's happening here at the Y it's about the entire country we need to get the ILO convention 169 signed and we also need to get UNCAC on its way. We need to stop the corruption and stop this disregard of the people. The people are the power. I just want Belizeans to understand that we are the ones that elects the government, they are our representatives and we are the power."

Muschamp On Why Not

One Punta Gorda resident who's questioning his officials is former Central Building Authority inspector Orlando Muschamp.

He says that the town failed to hold public consultations and that he wasn't given the opportunity to offer advice on the problematic nature of the development.

And this evening-Via Zoom- He told us all the reasons: environmental, logistical, and health why the development at the Y shouldn't be allowed to go ahead.

Orlando Muschamp - Professional Building Contractor
"My main concern is the safety of my people living in Toledo, my people coming to Toledo, the youths, the older people who are driving, who don't really have that sense of looking, observing, well they're only going that way because of necessity to do their daily chores, that's my main concern. Without the gas station there, without any fence there with just the dollar sign there is already a dangerous area for any person transiting Punta Gorda, driving in or out, very verry dangerous and definitely with an 8ft wall or 10 ft wall, it's like suicide. Now on the intersection into Punta Gorda that has only a one-lane bridge which is a few meters away from that business establishment and then it's divided into a Y, you go left and you go right and imagine a huge fence around that, it's not good for PG. At the same time we have people who don't want to come to reality to say what about the other gas stations then yes, I can understand that ignorance is a pure factor there because the law clearly states that whatever was in place before remains but from the wya, I think it was in 2001 from here onwards then the law will apply. Unfortunately speaking from my experience there is not enough space at this property so something had to have gone wrong somebody signed off under the table because if there was a public consultation then they would have heard my voice bringing these problems to them. So for it to happen and the mayor of Punta Gorda Ashton McKenzie saying it's all coming from Belize City, everything is Belmopan, everything is, where is the representation we have in Punta Gorda and I ask myself, why are people putting their names on the ballot to serve us in another municipal elections that have no idea of the responsibility it takes to administrate and govern a community. We go to the Central building authority when we see that they have incompetence in what they're doing for us. So they do the inspection and they do the reinforcements, and this is the case every single action that has been taken out there I don't see it happening, I don't see it's for real how could you install tanks 8 feet away from the property line, it's not real, how can you allow a tanker to come into an intersection to refill these tanks off a main highway, again the law says you need to be 50 feet away from a main highway. This is not against the investor you know we must reiterate that, we're not against the investor I don't believe that he has the full responsibility of what is happening out there, I don't believe he is at fault, I believe the authorities are at fault not give him the necessary information that is needed to meet the requirements for such a project and I believe it is the responsibility whoever signed off to this project to reimburse the investor if by chance he would not be successful in his venture."

Muschamp says he will be running as an independent candidate in the upcoming municipal elections.

Channel 7

Re: Protest Over Gas Station Construction [Re: Marty] #548422
02/26/21 05:41 AM
02/26/21 05:41 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,820
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Stop Order Issued for Unwanted PG Gas Station

In an update to a story from June, construction of a fuel depot and convenience store near the outskirts of Punta Gorda has been halted by the Central Building Authority, following an outcry from residents who raised concerns of public health and safety. In January, a site visit was conducted and several issues of non-compliance with the approved building plans were identified. This week the director of the Central Building Authority ordered the project be put on hold until the developer can adequately address these concerns. The issue dates back to June 2020 when a public meeting was held by residents who disapproved of the planned development.

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