| Fidel Ancona, soon-to-be new ACLBA chairman. |
With development booming on Ambergris Caye, many plans need to be reviewed before the green light is given. The body responsible for making those decisions, whether a building is approved or not, falls squarely on the shoulders of the members of the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority (ACLBA). Since the Authority was dissolved shortly after elections, a new board had not been constituted. Although it has not been officially announced, The San Pedro Sun was reliably informed that Mr. Fidel Ancona will be taking the Chairmanship of the Authority.
Ancona, San Pedro Deputy Mayor from 1994-1997, is a Senior Justice of the Peace and business manager. As Deputy Mayor, Ancona was instrumental in formulating the original town’s master plan. “What we had done,” he explains, “was to formulate a town plan that would have zoning for residential and commercial areas. There were many acres of land that were also reserved and we agreed to keep them natural and untouched.” However, according to Ancona, plans were, “strayed away from the basics due to friendships, family and greed.”
Biggest on his agenda is returning the planning back to the original ideas. “These ideas that we had implemented before remain. We do have regulations within the Authority when it comes to building, we are simply not implementing what is in place,” he stated. ACLBA faces issues which would include infringement on property, property lines and boundaries. These directly affect fire safety, as well as structural and construction worker safety. Many are the issues that will be tackled head on and these include easements and accesses between properties, parking and that developments not only follow the guidelines in place but that they do so in an environmentally friendly manner.
“I am pro-development,” Ancona said, “but we have do it in the right manner. We can’t go too high with our buildings or make them condensed and dense within a certain parameter. This is where the old master plan comes into place. Once, the plan has been revised San Pedro Town can moved forward with a vision. This is also one of my priorities.”
Although, an advocate for development, Ancona states that he does plan on being firm with investors. These investors that genuinely want to make San Pedro Town their home will look out for the best interests of the island and not in making a quick buck.” Investors play a big role in the way the island is shaped, since development affects our environment and will affect how our island shapes up in the long run, is Ancona’s strong belief.
With many ideas in place, with the drive to get ACLBA in motion, Ancona states that this can only be accomplished with the help of the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC). “Decisions made by the Authority need to be backed up by SPTC. We can not have separate agendas,” he explained. “I only have one reason for accepting this position and there is no other. I intend on getting ACLBA on its feet and in the place it needs to be. Once this has been accomplished, then I will feel better handing the reigns over to someone else,” he ended.
Ancona’s position will be made official when documentation arrives from the Government of Belize. On Wednesday night, Ancona met with other incoming board members, as well as SPTC to start dialogue on how ACLBA will move forward.