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South Beach Belize - monster development

Posted By: Anonymous

South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/29/08 11:31 PM

For anyone who doesn't know, this is a massive development across the south end of Ambergris Caye that according to their website (http://www.southbeachbelize.com/index.php) is already approved and will definitely happen.

As many have observed already, it is essentially a recreation of Miami South Beach on a smaller scale. It will not just change Ambergris Caye, it will totally subsume it, or at any rate the southern part. And clearly it will be an ecological disaster. The most dramatic example of "killing the goose that lays the golden egg".

A local person, unnamed, lists himself as the contact point, number 226-2769. Does anyone have any idea who this person might be?

And since money is behind most of what happens here, who expects to make their millions from this project? Assuming the government does actually change in the election, it seem that stopping this and the bird caye developments is of the highest priority. Otherwise we can expect the whole island to become like Cancun, with a dead reef just offshore.

The cynical self-interest of the people who have managed to gain political control is mind-boggling.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 12:02 AM

I think it's the same developer from Reef Village.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 12:08 AM

pedro2, just call the number and maybe you will find out!!
Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 12:19 AM

I know it's the developer from Reef Village. He sent me the preliminary drawings, asking for investors. The Mayoress has approved this, as has Musa, so what can we do now? Just stand by and watch it happen?
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 12:19 AM

I have heard that it is the same developer
Posted By: lakegirl

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 12:56 AM

That's to bad. I know most of the reason we come to AC is that it is still laid back and not built up.

It makes us very sad that we will lose more of the "old" AC.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 01:25 AM

please see 'green reef' thread for more info on this. thx.
Posted By: belizeonthebeach

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 04:51 AM

Old News
//ambergriscaye.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/255449/fpart/1
Posted By: hollandboy

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 07:15 AM

I wouldn't worry too much about this. The bottomline is that the international airport arrivels combined with the border arrivels will not support an investment like this. Investors would be foolish to even think about a project like this, unless they don't care loosing a lot of dough....
Just my 2 cents.
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 04:49 PM

In the past I would have said don't worry about this ever happening either. Used to be the lack of infrastructure & general Belize disorganization kept pipe dreams like this from ever becoming reality. Not so anymore. Look at Placencia....way less infrastructure and tremendous building and huge resort complexes in progress. The chain hotels will be coming too. Bet on it.
Posted By: hollandboy

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 08:21 PM

at the end of the day it's all about numbers, and numbers don't lie...
I guess time will tell....Still miss the good ole days though,the old coconuts bar,boatyard,paradise hotelbar,tarzans etc.
Posted By: Nova

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 08:26 PM

"chain hotels"....I don't think such foul language is appropriate on this message board!
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 10:53 PM

My question is "how are these tourists going to get here?"
Do they think these "high end" investors are going to come on a boat; Tropic Air flies full almost all the time now.

My daughter's friend had a lengthy conversation with Jeff Pierce (the developer of Reef Village) at Coco Locos Bar about the South Beach project. His take on it was that someone is going to do it why not him.

Reef Village has laid off the majority of their workers. I don't know if it is because money is short or if they have diverted the work south. Reef Village has been grading the road from the north end of their project to the bridge and it is helping even though they have it banked the wrong way - water does not run uphill!

By the same token Grand Caribe - about 2 1/2 miles north of the bridge - has built monster buildings with lights that blind you when you drive on the road. However, they are grading the road between Milio's project and theirs. Let's see how long it lasts. I was told they plan to keep it in good condition all the way to the bridge.
Posted By: LaraTravelBelize

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 10:59 PM

the reality is, when one buys here on the island, they are buying a moment in time. we all know that the island will and is changing. there isnt anything to be done, and to think that it wont change, is well, silly. The money hasnt even really started coming yet, but when it does, rest assured, the tourists are going to want to have luxury, at least the way they describe it.

the best thing to do is take a deep breath, watch the changes, and when they are such that you dont like it anymore, you find the next little place that offers what you want. In the meantime, the property values will still increase, and the people will still come.

you do what you can to stop some of the most aggregious events, but other than that...
Posted By: javi226

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/30/08 11:24 PM

As an architecture student and SanPedro local, i´m really impressed by all the developement that´s going on in little A C, however i´m really saddened by the lack of planning or should I rather say, lack of proper executing of drafted Master Plans? Growth is imminent, however proper, planned growth is crucial to ensure econocmic prosperity and the equilibrium of our eco-systems... then again, how can we achieve this when the authorities (GOB) that are to look after the people´s interests have biased interests of their own.
From an architectural viewpoint, the idea of South Beach Belize is really tacky, ridiculous, to say the least.... don´t get
me wrong, the ArtDeco architecture of miami is beautiful, but that´s part of Miami´s History. A project like this would better suit Las Vegas.... projects in AC should be original and reflect the island´s appeal.
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 12:26 AM

South Beach is not only an awful concept, it actually incorporates part of Hol Chan! Who thinks that’s a good idea? Good for tourism? Sport fishing? Bird watching? Living here? Anything?
Are there any standards here? Anybody to say no? Any kind of plan?
The chaos and acceptance of chaos around here is convincing me to invest someplace else.
I don’t understand a government that claims to be an ecotourism destination selling the Bird Cayes and just saying OK to anyone who wants to build a concrete box. I don’t understand destroying Hol Chan when it gets more tourists than anywhere else in Belize.
The diving is not what it was 5 years ago or 10. Who wants to bet on 5 years from now? I’m thinking I’m not going to bet my own dollars.
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 12:52 AM

Amen to javi226. The key is having a PLAN. Large numbers of people can be employed and accommodated and given sewerage when the growth and development are MANAGED. Charm, cultural traditions, architectural integrity and the natural environment can be MAINTAINED.

I am also aware of good plans developed in the past, but no one in government willing to adopt them. I think that's because if you have a plan, that means you will have to say no to somebody. Maybe even somebody who votes or has money or is in your family.

So we just let another development be built in the wrong place, and in a style that doesn’t fit, and that requires tearing out mangroves.

What are they thinking? What are we thinking? We’ll just wait and see……

Posted By: reaper

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 01:00 AM

So my question(s) to the developers is this.

Who is going to pay to upgrade the airstrip and the already gridlocked streets next to it?

Who is going to supply fresh water, sewage and power?

Where are all of these buyers coming from?

How are all of these buyers getting here?

Who is going to come visit when the reef dies?

Who is going to pay for upgrading the fire, police and EMS system?

What happens when condo prices nose dive and pre-construction sales dry up before completion?

Why will folks pay higher prices to fly to Belize when the charm is gone and it becomes Cancun South? Unless import laws in Belize change no one can afford to run "All Inclusive" resorts(ugh, I can't believe I just typed that!).



Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 01:08 AM

I don't think we as "visitors" will have any pull in stopping or retarding this effort. It will be up to the residents to make enough noise that it is stopped. We visitors could contact the powers that be, Mayoress, the Prime Ministers Office, and re-iterate that we will not be as likely to visit the island if this proceeds. But, whether it makes a difference in the end will remain to be seen.
I know everyone is disappointed at the prospect of South Beach Belize. I am very disturbed by it. But unless we are all willing to make a step towards stopping it, it will become a reality, and what follows will be any one's guess. Perhaps a petition started there, and forwarded to the correct offices? Maybe one started here, on line, and printed off and routed to the powers in control? I don't know the answer, but we need ideas, not just complaints.
Posted By: reaper

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 01:27 AM

It is already in the works with the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce.
Posted By: Nova

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 01:31 AM

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080130.oilportraitdhillon30/BNStory/oilsands/
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 02:17 AM

Totally agree with javi226. It's up to San Pedranos to protect their heritage and have a destination that reflects that heritage. It's up to those who care to help ensure that they are successful.

There are many destinations in the world that have managed to do just that and those are the kinds of places that people put on their list of things to do before they die. Those are also the places that always have people that are willing to pay a little extra to see even when times are tough at home.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 02:27 AM

READ ME:

http://belizenews.com/pdfs/Pelican_Review.pdf

nice posts javi, scubaldy, ert, simon & reaper. s&s - show me where to sign.

down the road, i hope the residents turning a blind eye for whatever reasons enjoy the company of all those who will be invading your island who are just like those folks who ripped exotic caye a new one and ran back home crying "OMG - they are POOR there!! it's a rubbish strewn slum!! it isn't miaaaaami".

two more questions to add to reaper's list:

- what will happen (short or long term) to the fish, lobster, and conch populations when all these people demand to eat? how about dozens of more fishermen fishing the waters daily?

- and the million dollar question: where is all the trash they generate going to go??
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:07 AM

I'm not sure how Pelican Reef plays into this other than being another disaster.

As far as lobster and conch go it's just a matter of supplying the local market instead of the export market, which in the long run should be more profitable (higher margins to the distributors due to lower shipping and handling costs. Most lobster, shrimp and conch are exported.) This is something that the co-ops are more than able to deal with. The only hold back I see is that local purchases are in BZ$ whereas exports are in US$.

Increased marketing of farmed species like Tilapia (and we have some fine Tilapia) will decrease pressure on SW stocks and create more jobs. Catch and release regulations for Grouper and Snapper will also be an eventuality as they are with Bonefish and Tarpon. Farming of Cobia is growing as another food fish, which will also create more jobs. God forbid that we end up with a collapse of the SW species as happened with Cod in Canada.

Trash is a whole different question but also opens up a world of opportunities for those that have the foresight.

P.S. Had this discussion the other night, if anyone is thinking of starting a Port-A-Potti business now is the time (not kidding.)
Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:13 AM

"nova - nice to know s&s and suecate are helping him buy more armani suits and fund HIS travel"
Sweetjane, wtf? I don't remember encouraging this, and have you ever seen the way Jeff dresses??? Armani it ain't.
I am as disguested as you over this, but pointing the finger seems to be pretty childish....put that anger towards a resolution, OK?
Posted By: dogmatic prevaricator

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 12:04 PM

when all you got is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:11 PM

sorry, s&s - again my written words were not correctly expressing what my mind wanted to say - a short-coming of mine. it wasn't meant as a slur at you girls at all - but at mr dhillon's alleged flamboyant lifestyle he is creating with others' investment dollars, with no thought to anything but personal profit. ("oops, sorry about the mangroves and changing the face of AC forever, guys...i just want the $$") i never met or saw mr dhillon - i based the statement on the link that Nova posted above.

"It will go into a BMW, that house in Windermere, to a Holt Renfrew Armani suit, and into vacations."

what i MEANT was, that he is living the big life on others' investment dollars. i know (at least hope) that they will most likely have wonderful returns on the investment, and enjoyment of the place. but he is hitting folks up to invest in his next project...so they can continue to fund this "flamboyant" lifestyle.

hope that makes it more clear - if i'm not totally off the mark.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:20 PM

oh, i don't think i read anything about him taking ANY profit and donating even a little bit to the library, schools, saga, feeding or clothing the kids of SP, improving the areas of poverty, preservation of hol chan, buying equipment for the police or ff....
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:23 PM

LOL Last rant - yes simon - the pelican reef link was just to show another disaster. i wanted to show that this isnt one isolated incident by the gob...but one in a string of 'not quite above board' dealings to developers that will impact the environment of Bz. i also wanted folks to see (as i learned from it) what is meant when someone talks about mangroves being cleared, and what ripple effect it creates.
Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:27 PM

Sweetjane, I accept your apology. You are not too close to the mark, tho.
Jeff Pierce, while may not be the posterboy for all things good and fair, is not a flamboyant person. He lives a normal lifestyle, but is making pretty good money off of his projects, and it reflects in daily lifestyle. While his standard of living is higher than mine, he was still flying coach until his frequent flyer miles earned upgrades, wearing GAP clothes, not Armani, and his family is a God fearing Christian based unit. His kids are as sweet and normal as anyone could expect, and his wife, Pam, is a wonderful, genuine lady. Jeff has the most positive outlook of anyone I've ever met. He is a man of his word, although timing isn't an obvious attribute. It is normal for developers to look for investors. Banks typically don't lend the full amount for anything, much less than for speculative efforts.
Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:36 PM

I am not a "Jeff Pierce" advocate, nor do I know all about him. I do know that Jeff and his wife are generous to the people of the island, whether it's helping out a single family, or donating to a cause. Perhaps not known to most people, but belive me, they are not just takers. I am aware of several incidents where they stepped up to the plate. And, I am not there to see it all.
I appreciate your concerns for the island. I think we all feel that way. Lets try to figure out a way to get some constructive efforts to have an impact on this.
Posted By: suecate

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:42 PM

Sweet jane I take a little offense to the statement you made. My family and I want to invest in Belize for a long term committment. It will be someplace that my husband and I will someday call home. We are very concerned about the destruction of the enviornment particularly the reefs. We saw what happened to the keys and thats how we found AC. We dive and when we do we clean up debris and this is what we teach our young children. I even posted Jeff's info and when there is a concern about something I go directly to the source. But being from the states we are limited in our say and try to do what we can. I have not seen any direction for "us visitors" to take in order to aid in this.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 03:46 PM

oh LOL LOL - i looked at nova's link again (cuz the description i read didnt match yours) and it is A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GUY!!

i changed my post to read "mr dhillon" instead, and took you girls out of it.

suecate - please take no offense, i meant nothing personal - i mentioned you only cuz i knew you had a unit there.

i just get emotional about stuff that seems wrong in the big scheme, especially when it impacts someone or something i feel strongly about. my intention was just to get people to be aware, so that when it has happened and is done, no one can say they didnt know anything was going on or they would have done something back then.

and - i also was hoping someone (more qualified than me) WOULD start or suggest something we, as visitors, CAN do...
Posted By: Sir Isaac Newton

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 07:36 PM

Yo! You all can buy all the land that's left and keep it swamp. Most of the locals SOLD all their land (a long time ago), why can't the Gov't sell what's left????????????? and at the same time create employment and grow the economy. Monkey River has tons of wide open mangrove if that's your thing (and no people). Or better yet, we can make all the empty land that is left a big reserve and raise all the food, rooms and drink rates by 20 times so it can stay as it is. People would still come (less people more money).
Posted By: elbert

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 07:44 PM

SIN are any relation to Musa?
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 08:19 PM

When I lived in San Pablo I kept my mangroves along the canal frontage and had a great ecosystem in the trees and in the roots. It was just beautiful. The parrots would visit, we had a huge bright green iguana and a bright orange one too. We had a crocodile that would hang around the roots. And that was a 50ft wide lot.

If conservancy groups are given the opportunity to purchase the bird cayes and cayo cangrejo so that they can be kept pristine I will be one of the first advocates running out there to raise the funds!

I love the natural wildlife, flora and fauna. I hope that we will be able to preserve some of it for future generations.

I am not saying no development, but it would be nice to have some enforced controls on development.

I did a long rant on this subject a while ago - I'll see if I can find it again.
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 08:32 PM


People want to come and invest in Belize, but they want it to stay the same as it is. More people equals change and damage to the environment, you can't have one without the other. If you are truly concerned about the environment of Belize then stay away, and live where the environment is already decimated. You can't come to Belize and damage the environment with cruise ships, development, and all the other tourism, and then denounce the government for doing the same thing. If it wasn't for government allowing outside investors to buy Belizean land, you would have never heard of Belize, and never had the oppurtunity to visit and buy land.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either Belize is open to development or it isn't.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 08:57 PM

This is part of a development thread from the Belize Forums:
Amanda Syme said...
"I also believe that developers should be required to pay a developer fee that goes to the local municipality to help supply infrastructure to the community where the developer is planning to make his living.

It is nice for each development to have its own electricity, water, sewer, cable tv, internet systems and road - but shouldn't the folks that service these developments and resorts also be entitled to these basic services?

Currently on Ambergris Caye some of the development groups "chip in" - in some cases significantly - but there is no requirement for the developers to do this, it is simply a matter of choice. A developer fee would eliminate the need for ethical decisions to help improve infrastructure, it would be a requirement.

I don't believe that the developer fee should be onerous - maybe .25% (a quarter)of a percent of the budgeted development costs - payable over time as the project is developed. Of course as always the developer would be permitted to make heftier donations.

There are many cases of condo developments where the majority of the developer profits never hit the shores of Belize, and once the developer has sold out he is gone, never to return. The developer was able to make healthy profits, pay the required taxes, dust off his hands and leave the community in the same, if not in a worse infrastructural position than when he arrived.

What I mean to say is that when a condo development adds 30 "homes" to a community the roads are used more, the electrical supply, phone systems, cable systems, water systems etc are all now begining to be taxed (utilized) beyond their capabilities. But there is rarely any available funds for making infrastructure improvements, expansions or even maintenance.

Belize's taxation system is not ideal, and we all know that the hefty sums that are paid into central goverment are used to service many past debts. We need some of that tax money now to improve our basic living conditions. However, since that is either not going to happen, or will happen on a small scale - we need to find solutions to our present infrastructural needs and where we will garner the funds to pay these improvements."


SIN - I see your newspaper ad identifies you as an agent for South Beach Belize so it would be nice if you would be clear about your affiliations before asking people to consider your comments.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 09:03 PM

South Beach Belize is applying for a Fiscal Incentives approval - This is an application to the government asking for tax breaks or importation duty exemptions etc.


I understand the government wishing to promote development, provide jobs, produce more accommodations etc. - but I do think that developers should be required to provide the infrastructure to manage these projects - PLUS some types of community infrastructure assistance.

Posted By: Anonymous

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 09:22 PM

The issue is surely not whether development should be permitted at all. A quick boat ride up the island shows numerous developments under way, though I don't know where the visitors are going to come from to fill those already being built.

What we need is a proper planning and regulation authority, that both takes proper account of ecological and life style issues, is not unduly affected by financial considerations, and is incorruptible. The only way to approach these concerns is to separate the authority from revenue raising. A publicly accountable organisation with representatives from (inter alia) the ecology bodies such as Green Reef, and with regular (eg. monthly) open meetings, with all proposals to be published and maintained up-to-date on the web.

I don't know whether we technically have such a body or not, but if it exists it sure isn't effective. In addition to outrageous projects apparently being approved there is an atmosphere of secrecy about the whole process. We only hear about approval being granted after the event, which is quite improper.

"Uncle Buck" is wholly off target. Belize is and must be open to development, but that must not be at any price. I haven't come across anyone without a financial axe to grind who wants Miami or Cancun to be recreated here, let alone Las Vegas.
Posted By: elbert

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 10:01 PM

I know this isn't the photography forum but its relevant . I read this thread ,walked out side not more than 200feet, clicked this came back and posted it here.The whole thing took 15 min. scouts honor, but probably won't be able to do that next year.
http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa3/elbertgreer/greenHeron2.jpg
next year I'll probably get some good golf cart shots.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 01/31/08 10:29 PM

Originally Posted by reaper
Who is going to pay to upgrade the airstrip and the already gridlocked streets next to it?

Who is going to supply fresh water, sewage and power?

Who is going to pay for upgrading the fire, police and EMS system?


The way infrastructure costs are funded in most of the world is by property taxes. The roads get more use, but the condo and home owners pay property taxes to keep the roads in good repair....its not a proposition from Wittgenstein (to quote John Cleese!)

How can a water processing, waste treatment or recycling plant be the responsibility of a single developer? It’s a local government issue…Duh

An observation I cannot help but make after 5 trips to SP in the last 12 months, is that locals, natives, or whatever this months Politically Correct terminology is, are far less environmentally conscious than us big bad gringos?

My first and favorite food stop on the island is always the wonderful Sun Up (thanks for the intro SIN), where in 20+ visits I have always been the only white guy in the place. The debate on food quality can wait for another time, but the streets around this fine dinning emporium are littered with Styrofoam containers: On a recent trip from up north into SP with several locals (one of whom was a licensed boat captain, Elbert!) we docked by the lagoon side gas station and went to Sun Up for rice, which we ate on the boat. I was horrified to see that while I was putting my container back in the bag to later put in a trash can, the others just tossed their containers in the water! As I looked along the banks of the lagoon, the amount of trash is astounding, (even though it pales by comparison to the flotsam by the swing bridge in Belize City). Surely a clean up San Pedro (or even clean up Belize?) weekend would be a wonderful opportunity for a company such a Bowen and Bowen to get involved with: There are always weekend events going on in the Central Park or the old soccer stadium, and to hand out empty trash bags, and collect the full ones at a central area for disposal, in conjunction with free sodas for kids, and Belikin available in the evening time would be a great reason for a party!

There are times when its hard to make an honest observation without being branded as some sort of hater, but a constant I have noted, from living in Hawaii, to several years around Native American reservations in Montana, and now looking at Belize, is that the lower the income level and educational norm, the less the majority local inhabitants seem to care about the cleanliness of their environment.There are of course always exceptions, but these are not the ones thowing out the trash!

I’m about as far away from a bleeding heart liberal as you are likely to find, but some things are beyond politics as usual: planning and zoning, or master planning committees would be a positive step, but nothing will help Belize more than further education of ALL residents with regard to environmental issues.
Posted By: Otteralum

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 01:09 AM

Beautiful pic elbert --- man!
Posted By: reaper

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 01:33 AM

Pugwash,
The local government can't afford to buy fuel for the only fire truck on the island most of the time, and you expect them to support all of this development, DUH!
We will have to meet for a beer sometime and I will give you a Belize Politics 101 course at BC's! Tax $$$'s don't stay on the island.
And there have been MANY clean up efforts over the past few years on the island. I agree that education needs to be done with the locals AND visitors regarding litter.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 02:05 AM

A key component to Property Tax revenue is that it is used in the district it is levied in, (in the US, greater than 60% of property tax revenue typically goes to education funding).

If the GOB wants to appropriate all funds and distribute (or steal?) them elsewhere, then nothing you or I say or surmise is going to make any difference....

The fact that the local government cannot buy fuel does not shift the burden to developers, it highlights the problem of an under funded local government!

I was suggesting a solution that works worldwide......
Posted By: Barnacle

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 03:25 AM

"Tax $$$'s don't stay on the island."

don't go feelin' like the only turd in the toilet!!
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 03:47 AM

Condos on average pay around $100 US per year in property taxes. One barge load of rock to fill the San Pedro streets cossts $12,500 US landed on the island. Then the town workers have to fill the holes. Every time it rains...

How many condos are there on the island? I remember Wil Lala made a report last year. Times that number by $100.

How many holes did that patch?

Duh.

Saying "I pay my taxes" doesn't always mean the same thing here that it does when you are paying $5 -10,000 per year elsewhere.

No I don't expect all developers to put in all of the infrastructure - but if a developer chooses to build somewhere that isn't serviced by town amenities - then the developer should be responsible to either supply the services or draw the existing service to the development. Duh.

We are all horrified when we see people littering. I SAY something about it. And I pick up litter and deposit it in the trash receptacles (that I provided) and I ensure the town council picks it up or I pay for a truck to haul it off. It doesn't do any good to simply watch people littering and be horrified. We can all lead by example.

My kids go to a school that does not allow any lunches or snacks that are packed in styrofoam - must be reuseable containers. That's a good start! The kids are required to tidy up the school yard, pick up their trash and clean up after themselves. Yes, these kids are on the island going to school.

This will be an uphill struggle for a long time, but if we keep beating our heads against the wall something will give. Have to wait and see what gives out first, the head or the wall.

Elbert, your photo was wonderfully timed. These are sights we all enjoy and wish to continue to enjoy.

I love Belize, this is my home, I don't plan on leaving - its not perfect, but name me a place that is. Let's keep working together to maintain and preserve what we can and learn to conserve and bend a little when necessary.






Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 06:17 AM

Amanda,

Your posts always seem well informed, so I wonder if you could enlighten me as to why property taxes are almost non existent in Belize?

Does the town of San Pedro, or the district of Belize Rural South have the ability to levy a tax, whether Property Tax or otherwise, that remains in the district?

A seemingly little known fact about property taxes in the US is that while a primary residence may pay tax at 33-34% of the “taxable value” a second, or vacation home will be rated at 100%. Given that a median Belize style home on the lagoon side south will have a “value” of around $75-100,000 bze, (taxed at $25-33,000 rating) as opposed to a north shore seafront house at $1-1,500,000 bze (taxed at 100% !)

This would mean a non resident home owner with a $1,500,000 bze home would pay approx 60 times the property tax paid on a small Belizean style lagoon house, and even a small (?) $250,000 US condo would pay out 20 times the taxes a local would pay, which would go a long way towards roads, water and trash treatment and also funding of schools and youth activities, while shifting the burden to those more able to pay?

I can't believe I'm suggesting this, don't tell anyone at the country club!!

While is is, or should be, common practice for a developer to pay a connection fee, one time charges don't do much towards sustaining an infrastructure: Paying to connect to the water line does nothing to cover the ongoing costs of producing potable water, its just not the same thing….double duh!!

Is the issue being discussed:
1) How to fund infrastructure costs, or
2) How to stop future development

These are 2 very separate issues……
Posted By: RathaBnBelize

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 09:29 AM

Everyone seems to agree that the local government is under-funded....town councils job is to correct that. We can all come up with ideas for new revenue sources (including getting fair share from Belmopan). Just out of curiosity...what IS the annual budget for San Pedro?
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 01:49 PM

Government of Belize collects a LOT of taxes already. Import duty, GST, etc. etc. - were it not for these taxes the goods and services we pay for each day would cost less. Our poor would be more comfortable and our tourist product would be more competitively priced.
There is PLENTY of money coming in. The problem is what happens after the money is collected - or in many cases diverted.
Central Government controls the money. Without going into gruesome detail on where it does go, we can safely say that it does not go to San Pedro, does not go to education and does not go to policing.
Our police and our teachers need to be amongst the best paid civil servants in the country - and some of the best educated as well. I would like to see better roads too, but education and safety need to top the list. A safe, secure and educated public can figure out how to fix roads.

Posted By: bywarren

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 03:12 PM

Before work became a four-letter word for me, I was involved in developing 230 acres of land in rural Arkansas. There were 70 lots that were developed for sale on the 230 acres. These were all “upscale” properties as evidenced not only by the size of each lot but also due to being lake property.
As the developer I had to build two and one half miles of hard surface road, install underground phone and electric lines, water lines and fire hydrants all to connect to the nearest existing government or utility service.
Once the development was completed the county took over ownership and maintenance of the roads and the water, electric and phone companies maintained their services.
The costs providing these on going services came from the rates charged by the phone, electric and water providers and property taxes paid for the maintenance of the roads.

Draw whatever comparisons you want, but Belize, and especially Ambergris Caye, must find ways to develop in a more controlled and planed way and tax in a way that provides the services government is responsible for.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/01/08 05:48 PM

Very concise: Developer pays for extension of services to the development, and then property taxes help sustain the service....
Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 05:50 PM

Just a quick note, now that I'm here in San pedro, and I've spoken to some about the project, I am not as concerned about it as I was. It is an opportunity to provide a lot of people with jobs, bring in money to the island, which it badly needs, and also allows some who otherwise couldn't live the dream to have a piece of paradise to call their own.
I remove myself from this subject from this point on, since I care about my friends, and I consider Jeff to be among them, and I hope everyone else who feels the need to do a little Jeff bashing will consider his contributions to the island before you treat him with such contempt. He's a good guy, and I'm proud to know him.
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 07:07 PM

Are you seriously suggesting that your opinion of a development will be determined on the basis of your friendships?
Do you think official approvals and permits should be given on the same basis?
Development on Ambergris Caye is not a personal matter. If we reduce decisions on such matters to a popularity contest, God help us. I think we've already had enough decision-making based on personal ties rather than analyis, foresight and integrity.
No one I know of opposes South Beach on the basis of "Jeff's not a nice guy" or "Jeff hasn't done anything for the community." His personality and community service are not relevant to this issue.
Posted By: Belize-N-Us

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 09:29 PM

ERT, do you live in a mangrove swamp? Do you own land, a house, rent on the island? If so is your land, house, appartment in a mangrove swamp?

I dare say that most of AC was mangrove not too long ago. Now that many people are already there with their piece of tropical paradise which is cleared of it's mangrove all the sudden it's not politically correct to clear mangrove and develop land.

Seems to me that a lot of anti-development posts are hypocrital. You got yours but now you don't want anyone else to get theirs seems to be a common theme here.

Currently a woman has to fly to Belize City to deliver her baby if she needs a c-section due to lack of facilities on the island which averages a baby delivery per day and is home to some 18,000 people.

Wings burned through the night due to lack of adequate fire response/equipment.

Anyone severely injured or ill on the island must be flown to Belize City for care, maybe they won't die waiting on or being transferred. Maybe that person won't be YOU.

Why should progress / development be viewed as negative? More hotels, condos, houses = more tourists = more jobs = more $ = better benefits for the community.

Growth is coming to AC. You can embrace it and benefit from it. You can run away from it. You can sit around and complain about it. But you cannot stop it.
Posted By: sunandsand

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 09:49 PM

I knew this would get a rise out of some. Let me tell you how it is, here, with the people I have talked to. I am currently in San Pedro, and have had the opportunity to speak with some, not a lot, mind you, but some who know of this project.
Some of these residents need work, and this project will provide that work, so they can take care of their families. It is difficult to put ourselves in this situation if you have never been there.
I agree that the mangrove destruction is not a good thing, but now I am thinking of it as collateral damages, something that will unfortunately have to happen in order to make the rest of this a reality.
The project will bring an awful lot of money to the island, and hopefully will be used wisely, but that isn't our place to determine. Hopefully, medical facilities, better roads, improved schools will all benefit from this
We are bringing our American or European ideas to a place that is finally getting it's piece of the action. We are imposing our views, our ideals, on a population that isn't where we are, yet, and have no idea what is around the bend. We are maybe a bit more environmentally friendly, but if it was a choice of feeding your family, or tearing up some mangroves, which would you choose.
BelizeNus has the right idea about this. I wish it was so that nothing had to suffer in order for this project to be completed, but again, collateral damage is a given.
Now, on the other side, I have watched the lagoon behind Reef Village flourish. The fear of the wildlife being run away was unjustified. Yesterday, I walked back to the back of the project, and saw all kinds of wildlife, and the amazing thing is they watched me without flying or running off. They are comfortable, apparently feel safe, and are a great joy to watch. Who would have thought that was going to happen two or three years ago? Everyone was so worried about them, but they survived, and are living in harmony with their surroundings.
I hope I have shed a little light on this, but if not, that's OK, too. I just know that we don't have the right to force our opinions on others, no matter what the subject. I feel OK with this project, now, and withdraw from the battle. Think what you want, do what you need to do.
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 10:55 PM

I am by no means opposed to the further growth and development of Ambergris Caye and have no desire to “run away” from them. What I support is the intelligent MANAGEMENT of growth and development.
--Managed growth does NOT mean no updated medical facilities, no adequate firefighting infrastructure, never cutting a mangrove or refusing to build another hotel. It does NOT mean telling people they can’t get their shares of paradise because I have mine, nor does it mean an end to employment on the island.
--Managed growth DOES mean planning, thinking ahead, making sure paradise survives to be enjoyed by anyone. It means considering the quality of life here, including encouragement of prosperity and employment (which means taking into account the jobs sustained in the long term more than those created in the short term).
--For example, managed growth involves ensuring adequate infrastructure BEFORE new construction -- planning for garbage disposal, water and sewerage services, firefighting, traffic management, adequate classrooms, and other needs of a growing population.
--Managed growth involves setting aside space for FUTURE needs, such as for construction of a medical facility, a vocational school or satellite police stations. It means planning for housing for new workers and their families.
--Managed growth involves balancing growth and development with preserving and conserving some of what makes this paradise and gives this island a tourism industry. If we kill off the reef, take away the habitats for birds, etc., etc., then it won’t matter what kind of employment levels we’d like to have.
--In other words, managed growth allows paving a bit of paradise, but it doesn’t allow paving the whole thing. Managed growth involves planning for the whole so that no one piece puts the whole in jeopardy.
--For example, South Beach strikes me as an example of a piece that can damage the whole. No matter how desirable it might be otherwise, I am hearing South Beach will negatively affect Hol Chan, which I understand gets more visitors than any other place in Belize. Hol Chan provides a lot of employment to Ambergris Caye. I am no scientist and I don’t know what the environmental assessment for South Beach shows or even where to get a copy, but it is obviously treading on fragile territory. South Beach needs to be viewed in the context of the big picture.
Posted By: reaper

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 11:41 PM

The problem with "managed" development in AC is that the developers build, and build, which brings more outside workers to the island. They bring their families to the already overcrowded schools. They use the already impacted medical resources. The developments bring more residents. The streets built for a few fishermen get bottlenecked. The trash needs somewhere to go, so does the sewage. The power goes out regularly. The Police Department doesn't expand, nor does the Fire Department. The construction vehicles kill the streets, and clog them. The schools get zero new funding. If it weren't for the generosity of so many visitors and residents, many school aged children would be on the streets or beach all day instead of the classroom.
The island needs to come to terms with what it wants to become. For many it will be a horrible place to vacation if these mega resorts get built. For others it will be great. The only thing I know for sure is that the island is already 10 years and millions of dollars behind in infastructure for it's current condition. And don't be fooled in to thinking that new development tax dollars will bring the relief that is needed.
We have had "managed" development here in Southern California for years. Come on out and drive me to work one morning and see how that has worked out for us here...
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/12/08 11:57 PM

What you are describing is UNMANAGED DEVELOPMENT. I agree with you completely on the problems you point out.

I guess I wasn’t clear because a continuation of the current chaos is what I would like to stop. Call it what you will—we need a MASTER PLAN.
Posted By: reaper

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 12:40 AM

There is a master plan for the island.
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 12:45 AM

The last master plan of which I am aware was developed in 1992. But the government did not approve it, and the island today has been developed entirely contrary to it.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 02:58 AM

Correct, and the area that South Beach is slated to be built in was specifically zoned as NO development.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 01:44 PM

marty posted that zoning plan here for all to view.
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 02:05 PM

Once AC reaches a growth point where it loses its character, tourists will stop coming. This year has been incredibly slow and major work will have to be done to revive the tourist industry. Large scale developments based on a Miami "south beach" model will be devastating for the island.Permitting for these large scale projects, I am sure, will be under review. No one in their right mind would issue permits to dredge large amounts of lagoon north or south in an ecotourism market.You can maintain a steady market by small projects that hire local people.
As for the master plan, it is solid work that needs some revision. I would recommend "chapter meetings" each month, review each chapter in an open town meeting and revise. Then at the end of that process bring it to a town vote and send it to the legislature for approval. This is the time that it has to happen, while the government is new and wants to show that it will listen to the people
Posted By: Bobber

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 03:10 PM

I agree with Pam and Reaper, however... The tourists will not stop coming, it will just be a different type of tourist. Tourists range between backpackers in south America and people who never get off their cruise ships.
Development was why our family bailed on Cozumel in the mid 90's. Things got too developed. Too many people, not enough flavor. We are going back to Coz next month for a week and I fear it is just going to re-enforce in my mind why we left. One thing that is apparent, there is no shortage of money or tourists there, just not the same kind of people. This is pretty much what has happened to the whole Caribbean, tourist creep, and the people who had enjoyed these places just keep moving farther south to stay ahead of it. In their wake they leave prosperity (? ? ? ?)
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 03:36 PM

bobber - i made a similar comment some time ago...you just added more insight.

tourists will still come, just a different type. the type like those ones who slammed exotic caye and left after 3 days. the cruise-shipper set, the kind who want the beach and palms but do not care what the flavor of the place or people may be. the kind who will point and cringe when seeing the SP that's off the main drag.

i got a pm from someone recently that i knew from this board years ago ...she & her hubby were back on AC for new years...she told me "we are done with AC now.". i first went to AC in '93. i told her by next year, i may say the same thing.

just my personal observations, please don't pound me.
Posted By: 6string

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 03:44 PM

It kinda gets to be a double edged sword, development means tourist $$ and jobs and income for many. It also means AC could turn into Cancun in 20 years, or even worse, it could turn into a skeleton of large run down resorts. We love the quaint, easy going, safe, etc.. San Pedro lifestyle, and would very much love to own property with all of you and live this lifestyle. We also would like to see a planned growth, for that is necessary to keep the island alive and prosperous, and update the infrasture systems that are necessary for all. The key is in the planning, and it already might be too late for some areas.

One thing that really strikes me as odd, and maybe my data is inaccurate: We were told last year that over 700 resort/condo permits were issued on the island. We visited several resorts north as far as Journey's End, during the Easter week. There were hardly any people there. I realize that this could improve with a road, and other infrastructues but will those new 700 resorts survive until then? With 700 resorts occupying oh maybe 20,000 tourists everyday change AC? I would guess very much so, again if they survive. Change will come, and if its planned and managed, hopefully it will be good change, minimal collateral damage and lots of $$ going to the education, safety and environmentals needed to make AC better for everyone that lives there. We wish you all the very best, and we hope to join you all soon in helping to make AC a great place.
Posted By: Bobber

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 03:51 PM

Jane, we might just hang around a bit longer. We are in that transition period of our lives. We used to start fights, then we just joined in the fights. Now we pretty much just sit at the bar and watch the fights. laugh If we do move on it will be with the same attitude, lookin for something closer to what this used to be. smile
Posted By: Belize-N-Us

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 03:51 PM

For those that prefer sand streets and a much slower pace there's Caye Caulker. I love to visit Caye Caulker for the day and do so on each trip. I wouldn't however, want to live there.

I like the fact that San Pedro has more to offer.

I think Belize is diverse enough that folks who want solitude can find it and folks who like to have a tropical drink and listen to some good live music can find that also.
Posted By: Bobber

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 03:54 PM

P.S. Not just what we want, but hope for the people of AC. Specifically those great little kids who enjoy their life pretty much as it is. An upgrade in services, but no change in their attitude.
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 04:39 PM

The master plan that Marty posted was not adopted. And obviously it was not implemented.
Posted By: pamkillen

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 04:45 PM

You can not stop development but you can manage it. The place that starts is the planning board. They need to enforce the exsisting laws. Hopefully the new government will do that. And as residents or tourists or investors, we have to stop asking for or buying favors. We are the ones that bring the big bucks down and add to the corruption of the system. All the large developments are from US or Canadian investors and we all give them a pass. It is not OK to destroy the island in pursuit of the almighty dollars. Develop a small, ecofriendly resort and make some money. Don't build huge resorts that need acres of lagoon to be filled and dredged. Do that somewhere else where it is congruent with the culture and environment. There are places that it makes sense. (because they are already ruined probably).
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 04:54 PM

There are comments here about development being positive if properly manaaged ....... and about sacrifices that might need to come if we are to have that managed development.

There are comments from some folks who seem to think that dozing down the southern tip of the island and destroying the inner logoon is necesssary because there is no place else to develop. I don't mean to insult, but it really sounds like these individuals have not seen the island and do not know it's geography. It's a a huge space and there is a LOT of high ground that is undeveloped right now.

IMHO there is no need to eliminate the southern wetlands to have room for a development, and this particular location (south beach) has it's own very important contribution to the local ecology. The master plan was developed by indivdiduals who are pros at this - I trust that they have some skills and wisdom to which we should pay attention. The planners saw this area as an essential natural reserve for many reasons.

This year business is off - primarily because our main tourist market is from the US. The economy there is not good, and travel/passports and paranoia are just not nice these days.
It was the same after 9-11, and during the First Gulf War.
Americans were either afraid, broke or both at those times and when that happens travel is down. Certainly during the First Gulf War the streets were not crowded and the condos had not sprouted, but business here came to a standstill anyway. This stuff happens and is one more reason why slower development is less risky for investor and developer alike.
This time of slow-down is an opportunity for us to take stock of where we are, where we want to go and how we can get there. Together - not dog eat dog chasing the last wave of a feeding frenzy.


There are those people who will almost-always travel and who have budgets that do not break when a plane ticket goes up $200. I am not pushing an elitist social agenda here, but I am pushing an economic one ---- which is a balanced tourist product. Why do we focus on high-density low-to-moderate priced stuff if those very customers have uncertain finances.
There is a whole market of people who do not come to Belize because it's TOO CHEAP. What have we done to attract those travelers and to provide the services and ambience they seek in travel ?

The master plan allowed for a variety of kinds of places - higher density, lower density and low-low. If we can toss up a mega-resort any old place, do you really think a savy high-end investor will build an estate here?
But if you hold to the master plan and have genuine residential and genuine commercial areas, you get a place that makes sense.
If you put real zoning in place you can have an entertinment area where noise does not plague those who came to rise and fish at dawn. You can safely light that area of beach and street, and efficiently provide security and policing. In the end the economies of all concerned tend to improve in this kind of planned use.

Again being crass about money - the reef, the mangroves, the birds and nature in general are our money-makers and to loose sight of that is economic suicide.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 05:04 PM

great thoughts, pam. shame i don't think the gov't or any developers are listening. the $ speaks much louder than you do.

anyone on-island know if there is any truth to the rumors that much of the folks hired for the clearing/construction for new projects are very often NOT from SP at all - that the workers are coming from elsewhere (mainland, etc)?
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 05:13 PM

diane - i love all your points. it's nice having your knowledge included in this debate.

i'm just noting that i am nowhere near rich. i still showed up on AC less than 1 yr post-9/11, and the next year too. when the airfare goes up, i still come cuz i love it...i just pick a cheaper room.

i just can't imagine that some of the more elite folks of which you speak will love the back areas of SP - i've heard some NASTY comments about how some of the locals live, dead cars, trash, corrugated homes, laundry out...a lot of people are NOT open minded and can put a lot of negative comments out there on trip advisor and fodor's etc ,regarding their opinions of what they saw on AC.
double edged sword, indeed.
Posted By: JZB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 05:14 PM

Many, if not most are coming from the mainland. development and construction has overwhelmed the local workforce.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 05:39 PM

Many, if not most are not Belizean either.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 05:40 PM

i was just curious if or how that fact affects anything.

(sorry - i am a notorious worm-can opener)
Posted By: 6string

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 05:47 PM

Great post, Diane! That's exactly why development plans are created, and you are dead on about the environmental issues.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 06:48 PM

Well, let's see we have 12.1% unemployment in Belize. The point was made that this project will create jobs. The fact that most of the jobs are not being filled by Belizeans has a long term affect. Once the construction jobs are gone, what do those people do for a living? The other long term consideration is that if you have an excess of rooms you decrease the occupancy rate and therefore the profits of the existing businesses. What happens when profits go down? Wages are cut and staff are cut back and the level of service goes down, creating a general backlash. Once those jobs decrease then what do the Belizeans do for a living?
Posted By: reaper

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 07:08 PM

I am wondering how everyone in South beach is going to like airplanes flying overhead all day long.
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 07:44 PM

thanks, simon.

"The point was made that this project will create jobs. The fact that most of the jobs are not being filled by Belizeans has a long term affect."

these were the points i wanted to make, but i'm uninvolved, don't live there, and do not have the facts.

i assume they come, then some do not go back. the jobs are then gone. so they are non-residents residing on AC who have no work...and people wonder why theft is on the increase.

and i suppose if they were to find work, that means a resident did not get that job.

am i close?
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 07:51 PM

Generally, construction workers come from mainland Belize, leaving their families behind, to work here where the pay is double what it was at home. They manage to make trips back home to visit occasionally but when working they live in one room "apartments" and struggle to send as much of their pay as possible back to their families. When the job is over, or they get burnt out they go back home. They do not take work from San Pedro residents.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 08:48 PM

I find it interesting how an individual’s viewpoint on social issues can change so much depending on geography: if I or many others who contribute (?) had written Jessie’s last post, and only 2 words were changed, I feel sure that many on one side of this issue would be suddenly on the other?

Change Belize to Mexico, and San Pedro (ok, so its 3 words) to Phoenix (or Dallas or San Antonio etc) and the emotions shift!

Does anyone blame the non local labor market for trying to earn more, and send money home to their families? Are the developers at fault for seeking profitability? Or the new owners for wanting to buy in a beautiful country?

Constructive ideas on any side of a volatile issue are welcomed by all reasonable people, but the glaring and obvious problem is that local government is under funded, and cannot provide social and civil services as the population base expands, be it from imported workers and their families, or new residents.

If the GOB does not provide for local revenues collected to stay within the district, then the Chamber and Local Government representatives may wish to consider lobbying for legislation that would provide for a portion (50%, 75%? I don’t know, not being a local economist)of property taxes collected to stay within the region they are collected in for the specific purpose of infrastructure improvements?

Is there any other reasonable and feasible solution to the under funding problem other than levying fair and appropriate property taxes?

Posted By: SP Daily

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 08:51 PM

Right now we keep 100% of the property taxes collected.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 08:55 PM

Originally Posted by pugwash
I find it interesting how that individual’s viewpoint on social issues can change so much depending on geography: if I or many others who contribute (?) had written Jessie’s last post, and only 2 words were changed, I feel sure that many on one side of this issue would be suddenly on the other?

Change Belize to Mexico, and San Pedro (ok, so its 3 words) to Phoenix (or Dallas or San Antonio etc) and the emotions shift!

HUH???
What is the point you are trying to make?
Are you disagreeing with me??? Or?
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 09:08 PM

"Generally, construction workers come from mainland Belize" I would disagree with that, the majority seem to come from Honduras and Guatemala. This while unemployment runs high in Belize City and the Southern districts. Personally I respect the Belizeans that come from the mainland and work their butts off on the island. I do not believe that mainland Belizeans take jobs from San Pedro residents.

If pugwash is trying to compare US immigration to Belize they're way off base. US unemployment rate is 4.9%.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 09:23 PM

P.S. My commentary is about the short-sighted immigration policies of the government. If they spent some funds on training programs in the construction industry it would go a long way towards reducing unemployment. Instead they look outwards for workers instead of inwards. Youth unemployment is 24%. Wouldn't it make sense to do something for them to get them off the streets? There's plenty of infrastructure jobs to be had/created and there will always be construction going on (hopefully well planned.)
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 09:41 PM

Originally Posted by SimonB
"Generally, construction workers come from mainland Belize" I would disagree with that, the majority seem to come from Honduras and Guatemala.

So how do they escape the immigration raids on jobsites? They may have come from other countries but they are legal residents of Belize...and most have families on the mainland.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 10:34 PM

I’m not disagreeing with either Simon or Jesse, my point was that debate on an emotional issue is likely to spawn emotional responses.

I was advised earlier in either this post or a similar one last week that the GOB “took” all tax monies. If as Jesse states any taxes levied remain within the taxing area, this is a further reason for a revision of the property tax rates currently charged?
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 10:37 PM

That is the issue with the immigration policies, the workers are not illegals but due to current policies they well outnumber Belizeans. That while unemployment runs rampant. A trip to immigration will quickly show the lines of people coming into the country. What is the cost for residency for Central Americans, isn't it something like $50.

Posted By: pamkillen

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 10:53 PM

The people funding these large projects are not illegals , they are developers. I agree with Diane and would add the don't kill the golden goose cliche. The only reason people have been attracted to Belize is because of ecotourism. They were willing to pay a bit more for that. Once we become like every other destination, they will leave. The sad thing is that the developers and many US and Canadian residents will also leave and the Belizean people will be stuck with a disaster we created( by spending the money to corrupt officials).
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 10:54 PM

Originally Posted by SimonB
If pugwash is trying to compare US immigration to Belize they're way off base. US unemployment rate is 4.9%.

I was not comparing unemployment rates! That is so off message!!!

I clearly (so I thought) stated that it was an emotional issue, in as much as residents of any city, county or country tend to be protective of others taking jobs (or anything, for that matter!)that they consider to be “theirs” by right: Look at the recent Captains License debates, or comments from those who already have homes in Belize where mangroves used to grow, and now do not want any more clearing done? That is a surely a completely different mindset from realizing the fiscal shortfalls of Local Government, and offering a solution to better roads, refuse collection and school funding?
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 11:14 PM

Originally Posted by pugwash

I was advised earlier in either this post or a similar one last week that the GOB “took” all tax monies. If as Jesse states any taxes levied remain within the taxing area, this is a further reason for a revision of the property tax rates currently charged?

The property taxes are levied by central government but left to the town to collect, then operate the town on those funds, plus a small sum from central government. The property tax valuations and rates are very low so don't go far...and then a major amount is never collected. Land owners simply don't pay, and the town has no authority to seize property or otherwise force collection...only take someone to court....a time consuming proposition.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 11:44 PM

Then a property tax system that values each property at fair market value, but taxes primary residences of legal residents or citizens at a different rate to vacation or rental pool homes would seem to be the obvious solution.

A developer’s fee is only good for one time fundraising, while the levying of more reasonable and appropriate property taxes can ensure the continuing quality of vital services, (as long as the administration of these funds is above board of course!)

PS taking someone to court becomes a more viable option if the taxed amount is acctualy worth collecting, or conversley the loss of property is a real threat for non payment
Posted By: SimonB

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 11:46 PM

Totally agree on the property tax issue, the town has many debts owed to it, notices go in the paper but you never hear of any action being taken. Probably costs more to collect than the value of the taxes themselves in most cases.
Posted By: pugwash

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/13/08 11:48 PM

I was adding the PS as you replied!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/15/08 01:16 AM

Tom McPeak, PhD (no less) has posted an advertisement in the forum pages of Scubaboard.
http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/belize/219783-diving-recommendations-ambergris-caye-belize.html

He said "i ALSO HAPPEN TO BE THE u.s. sALES ADMINISTRATOR FOR A NEW 800+ ACRE RESORT DEVELOPMENT ON THE SOUTH END OF aMBERGRIS cAYE, CALLED sOUTH bEACH bELIZE (pRE-CONSTRUCTION PRICES ARE VERY REASONABLE - HOUSE AND LOT FOR ABOUT $135/sQUARE FOOT. cHECK OUT www3.southbeachbelize.com/invitation.php, AND CONTACT ME IF i CAN FILL IN ANY DETAILS: TOM MCPEAK, PH.d., [email protected], CELL: 850-774-8501"

Doesn't sound as if it's been halted.
Posted By: Mikeywaz

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/15/08 07:02 PM

He also posted the same "comment" on my blog.
http://nexpatriates.blogspot.com/2008/02/3-days-in-belize.html
Posted By: elbert

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/15/08 07:46 PM

"criteria for the ideal destination for nexpatriates - Ambergris Caye, Belize meets most of them. Here they are:
1.Naturally beautiful, and beauty is protected."


:-)
Posted By: ERT

Re: South Beach Belize - monster development - 02/15/08 08:27 PM

Here was the response to Tom McPeak's "criteria" and advertisement on nexpatriates.blogspot:

Excellent criteria, and most apply to San Pedro. The cultural experience is what I desire rather than the resort holiday, but to each his own. AC provides both. I'm afraid the balance may tip too far to the resort experience soon. And ugly condo buildings are going up just north of the cut. I hope AC retains some of its charm. But thanks for the post!

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