On Tuesday, April 13, The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) held a public consultation at the San Pedro Lions Den for the Master Development Plan of Ambergris Caye. Heading the consultation were Mr. Vincent Gillett of Coastal Zone Management, Mrs. Malayka Cardona – planner and Ms. Camila Cardona – Civil Engineer.
Ambergris Caye is growing rapidly with much development on the rise and proper planning is crucial to avoid negative impacts in the environment. With this in mind, the Master Plan for Ambergris Caye is being revised as it was initially written in 1989 but was never put into law. A number of issues were presented along with recommendations as to what and how things can be done to address these issues.
Issues such as general land uses, excessive building in the town core, illegal dredging, illegal pouching, protection of natural resources such as mangroves, barrier reef, addressing beach erosion and pollution were some of the issues addressed. Recommendations included: having proper guidelines to be followed, proper EIA’s for dredging and to comply with the local building authority.
One of the major topics was the zoning plan for the island which covered development of residential, commercial, industrial, open spaces/conservation areas and special coordinated development areas including proper guidelines as to how many units per acre, as well as beds and measurements for building that should be followed.
Another area of concern was that of the Robles Point which is a conservation area for turtles to nest; the land is already privately owned. Development in the area would destroy these conservation areas and put in danger the lives of the turtles. The strongest recommendation for this area is the acquisition of the land by the public sector for conservation purposes.
San Pedro needs to take charge of its development for proper sustainable development to take place, which would include proper infrastructure such as safe roads, water & sewer and the proper maintenance and upgrade of the areas.
The success of the plan will only be possible if everyone works hand in hand to make sure these guidelines are being followed. San Pedro needs to take a stand for the betterment of proper development, proper school, and protection of the environment for the livelihood of all its residents. In order for this to take place the community needs to embrace this plan before hazardous and accumulated negative impact continues to get out of hand.
Groups involved in the Master Development Plan are the San Pedro Town Council, Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, Belize Tourism Board, BTIA, Belize Hotel Association, Belize Port Authority, Forest Department, Fisheries Department, Archeology Department, and Coastal Zone Management, to name a few.
The technical committee consists of Dr. Melody McField, Mady Morrison, Nadia Bood of the World Wildlife Fund – Belize, and Miguel Alamilla of the Hol Chan Trust Fund. The Steering committee consists of the San Pedro Town Council, Mr. Severo Guerrero, Mr. Fidel Ancona, Miguel Alamilla and the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development.
The objective of the consultation was to share, exchange and incorporate into the document ideas and views of the San Pedro community. After discussion with the proper authorities another consultation will take place. For more information about the Master Development Plan of Ambergris Caye you can email Mr. Vincent Gillett at [email protected]