Municipal pier unofficially open - with limitations

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 2            January 17, 2002

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The newly rebuilt municipal pier has been finished for some time now, but was not opened for public use. Several local businesses expressed concern over the fact that they were still forced to use a makeshift bulkhead to unload supplies from barges. Mayor Alberto Nuñez stated that the delay in officially opening the pier was supposedly due to the lack of weight limit and caution signs which were being prepared and that the official permission must come from the Project Execution Unit in Belmopan. Apparently though, one construction company grew tired of waiting for the pier to be unlocked and took it upon themselves to open it to the public. Questioned by local police, the man stated he was given permission by one of the agencies involved in the construction. Although this statement is still in question, it would seem the pier is unofficially open, but users are cautioned to abide by certain limitations.

    First, there are weight restrictions. According to Mayor Nuñez, the newer sections of the pier closest to the beach were laid in sections and are hollow six-inch concrete slabs. These are apparently a much weaker version of the previous structure which was twelve inches thick. Therefore, a maximum weight limit of five tons or 10,000 pounds TOTAL is being recommended for BOTH goods or materials being unloaded, AND the weight of the vehicle being used to transport the cargo, added together.

    Secondly, there is to be NO dragging of steel from this pier, and shipments of sand and gravel are to continue using the bulkhead structure. This was constructed for temporary use after Hurricane Keith while the pier was being repaired. The bulkhead was to be removed after the pier was finished, but due to the pier's limitations, it will now need to remain in place until the proposed commercial pier on the southwest side of the island is built.

    Regarding this new municipal pier, it was learned that the Environmental Impact Assessment had been completed and that dredging of the channel will commence when permits are obtained from the Department of Geology and Petroleum. Johnston International, who recently finished renovations on the municipal pier will also be performing this service.



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