Multi-purpose building inaugurated at Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 47            December 18, 2003

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Bacalar Chico staff in front of new facility

Press Release - GOB Press Office - December 10th, 2003 - Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. John Briceño and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Servulo Baeza, were both present today for the inauguration of a multi-purpose building at the Bacalar Chico Nature Reserve on Ambergris Caye. The newly completed building houses an administrative office, visitors' center, bathrooms, a V.I.P. room with self-contained bathroom, two ranger rooms, a kitchen and warehouse.

    During his welcome address, Hon. John Briceño stressed the importance of protecting Belize's natural environment. "This facility will help us in our efforts to preserve the environment for future generations and bring sustainable development to our country," stated the Minister.

    Spearheaded by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Systems, the construction project was completed at a cost of some $200,000 through funding provided by the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank. It is envisioned that the new Bacalar Chico Multi-purpose Center will enhance the public's appreciation and awareness of the sensitive ecological area on Northern Ambergris. It will also serve to promote an understanding of Marine Protected Areas, and responsibilities for natural resource and environmental quality management. Additionally, the new building will serve as a base from which to implement the Bacalar Chico Management Plan.

    A variety of programs and services will be provided by the trained staff at the center. The programs are designed to be environmentally educational and entertaining for individuals, families and organized groups. Public educational programs, guided walks through a nature trail and ecological demonstrations are also planned for the area surrounding the new multi-purpose environmental center.

    Present at today's inaugural ceremonies was World Bank representative Dr. Kathy Mackinnon and representatives of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Systems. The Bacalar Chico Nature Reserve is located in the proximity of the Belize/Mexico territorial waters and was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1996.
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