, 2003. Although only a dozen or so
residents attended the meeting, several interesting topics were
Mayoress Paz opened the meeting and expressed the Town Council's
determination to provide and maintain as much of the essential infrastructure of
San Pedro as the budget allows. She announced budgeted revenue in excess of $1.9
million for the year April 2003 to March 2004. The Mayoress then noted that the
Council only receives $69,000 or 3.5% of the budget in yearly subventions from
Central Government. She also encouraged all government agencies, civic groups,
business owners and individuals to act responsibly in making Ambergris Caye a
safer, healthier and more attractive place in which to live, work and enjoy our
families, friends and visitors.
The Mayoress expressed the Council's
appreciation to all local taxpayers who provide the money to pay for the
island's capital improvements and maintenance at the direction of the Council.
She expressed her commitment to the policy of consulting with the public before
making a final decision to initiate a project. Mayoress Paz stated her praise
for the many people who have thoughtfully contributed their time and energy to
consider and discuss the problems confronting San Pedro. She explained that
whenever possible, the Council wishes to act in a way that will reflect the
desires of the majority and enhance the quality of life for all who live
The Mayoress then reviewed the projects undertaken by local government
in the past five months. These include the construction of a new ramp on the
south side of the Boca del Rio ferry, water service for the many people living
along the north side of the river, refinishing the popular Tarpon Street
5-A-Side court, and the construction of five bike- and golf cart-friendly speed
Future SPTC plans and announcements were revealed as follows:
ramp on the north side of Boca del Rio is expected to be in place before the end
of the year. Also, a grant from the Basic Needs Trust Fund will provide the
necessary funds to make electrical service available to the homes on the north
side of the river by this year's end.
SP Town Councilor Mel Spain now chairs
the Ambergris Caye Planning Committee (ACPC). Fees collected by the ACPC are
used to support their work including research, clerical and inspector's
salaries. The requirement of businesses to plan for off street parking is not to
be applied retroactively.
The Town Council is continuing to work with Central
Government to locate a site for a new cemetery.
photographs of an "ideal" tourism and resident-friendly Central Park were
circulated. Full details of this renovation will be disclosed at a more
The San Pedro Marina, located in the San Pablo area, should
be up and running in early September. Agreements have been reached with all
barge companies to use this pier. An asphalt road is planned to support the
heavy equipment traffic from the Marina to approximately the site of the current
Caribbean Queen depot.
Cobble stoning of streets will re-commence in
September or October, depending on the availability of funds from Central
Government. The next stretch of cobblestone paving is planned from the San Juan
statue to the airstrip. An alternative route, that will by-pass the diesel plant
during the construction phase, is being considered. Additional speed bumps are
planned in an effort to keep traffic from exceeding safe speed limits.
completion of the new police station on Pescador Drive will secure the
appointment of a resident magistrate and the availability of five-day-a-week
court hearings. Timely court proceedings are expected to increase the number of
traffic tickets written in San Pedro, with the monies collected from fines going
to the SPTC.
Garbage containers, sandwich signs, steps etc., are again
encroaching on the streets. Voluntary compliance is inadequate and other
enforcement alternatives are complicated by the lack of a resident magistrate.
SPTC was urged to exercise their authority in this matter.
The San Pedro Town
Council, and all but one person at the meeting, voiced strong support for the
upcoming Vehicle Census. Concern was expressed that vehicle permits would only
be available to the highest bidder. That was the first of many ideas expressed
about criteria for vehicle ownership on Ambergris Caye. Other proposals include
possession of a Belize driver's license, citizenship or legal residency, and the
requirement of off-street parking.
Mayoress Paz requested comments on a
bridge to replace the ferry at Boca del Rio. She said that the SPTC is fully
committed to hearing ideas from all residents before deciding to build, or not
build, a bridge. Any bridge the Town Council would consider would be limited to
pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes and golf carts.
More streetlights were
requested for the south end of the island. Work continues on surveys to
ascertain the legal right of way, and streetlights will be installed following
this determination. It was noted that the north side had declined the
installation of streetlights with the exception of the landing ramp area on the
north side of the ferry.
A non-agenda topic that generated a great deal of
interest was the garbage situation north of the river.At present, there is a
service in the Tres Cocos area that collects garbage daily from approximately 27
residences and one business. Collection is made between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. using
a hand drawn, Mennonite-built cart. The service costs $1 a day and the cart
operators are paid $25 per day. They take the cart across the ferry to a nearby
municipal collection site. The business pays an additional $50 a month to Town
Transfer of garbage from the north side to the main disposal site is
a problem that needs attention. Automotive hauling, even by a road-friendly
tractor/trailer, is not possible year-round due to road conditions. A
marine-based service with designated pier pickups was suggested as a more
Topics discussed, but not presented at the meeting
included issues related to the increasing presence of cruise ship tourists,
Belize Electricity Limited issues, mandatory bicycle registration with stickers,
and asking the ACPC to regulate commercial signs that exceed ten square
Mayoress Paz concluded the meeting with the promise of another public
meeting in the near future.