planning and development of a town such as San Pedro is of vital importance.
Proper infrastructure and supervised construction is crucial so it does not
interfere with or harm the natural environment. This week we are happy to
introduce a person whose work in the field of architecture has contributed a lot
to the growth of our island - Mrs. Vicky Nelder.
truly a Pan-American girl. She was born in Chile and grew up in various places
in South America such as Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Coming from a family of
architects, she enrolled at the Andes University in Colombia where she received
her Architectural Degree and Master's Degree in Urban Planning. Vicky was also
interested in flying and worked hard to receive her commercial pilot license. As
a pilot, she found that learning to speak English would be very beneficial so
this became her next goal. With much practice she learned the language. Her
travels took her to England and eventually Aruba and Barbados where she polished
her English-speaking skills.
While living in Barbados,
Vicky became very interested in the protection of the environment, as this also
was of keen interest to Barbadians, who strive to protect their coastal areas,
flora and fauna. Vicky felt that by attaining a Master's degree in Landscape
Architecture she could do her part to protect the environment and went in search
of a college to achieve this. After careful consideration, she moved to Ontario,
Canada where she received her degree from the University of Guelph. After
graduation, Vicky married Cliff Nelder, a Canadian pilot whom she had met while
in Barbados. Having found both love and good career opportunities there, Mrs.
Nelder remained in Canada working as a planner and architect. She also taught
construction and worked intensely on Environmental Impact Assessments. Whenever
opportunities arose for Vicky to move away from the cold, she gladly accepted
jobs in warmer climates like Singapore and Indonesia.
Vicky first visited Belize in 1985 when she took her landscaping students on a
class trip to Mexico. Being so close to Belize she decided to make a short visit
to Belize City and Caye Caulker. Vicky was amazed at the primitive, laid-back
lifestyle here and instantly knew she wanted to return. In 1994, she returned
with Cliff to dive the barrier reef, after being told that San Pedro was the
best place for this, and by her third day in San Pedro she had made up her mind
to stay. Everything Vicky enjoyed was right here; wonderful job potential, an
excellent climate and friendly people. To strengthen this decision, while
strolling down the main street of San Pedro, she entered the office of an
engineer and playfully inquired whether he needed an architect. To her surprise,
she was told that there was no resident architect on the island and that one was
needed. This response sealed her decision to remain in La Isla Bonita.
After finishing all her business in Canada, she
permanently relocated to San Pedro in September 1994. At first, Vicky says, it
was difficult because she did not know anyone and in those times it was not
common for women to do this type of work. Nevertheless, she was determined to
prove herself and continued to pursue her career. She recalls that her first big
break came after Mr. Romel Gomez of Ruby's Hotel offered her the opportunity to
build his home. Upon completion of that job, Vicky's skills were sought after by
many local businesses such as the Belize Yacht Club, Mata Chica Resort, Island
Supermarket and Sunset Beach Resort.
everything has always gone smoothly for Vicky. In December of 1999 she lost all
her possessions and all the work she had accumulated for the past twenty years
in a disastrous fire. Once again, her strong will power and determination put
her back on her feet and she has managed to conquer obstacles in her way. Vicky
has also been very involved with the community, offering her services to the San
Pedro Town Council, people with limited resources and most recently, SAGA
Society, the non-profit "humane society" in San Pedro.
Mrs. Nelder commented, "My job does not only consist of designing buildings and
making blueprints, it means installing safety factors and taking into
consideration the building's environment. A professional architect needs to look
at the pros and cons that come with building." Vicky's friends keep asking
her why she chose San Pedro as her home and she replies that one only
needs to look around to find the answer. She is a welcomed professional who
adds expertise and integrity to the design and planning of "Our