A preliminary consultation for the Old Football Field (Saca Chispas) Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal, was held on Monday, November 9, at the San Pedro Lions Den. Heading the meeting for the evening were Mr. Carlos Santos and Mr. Pepe Garcia.
The Sustainable Tourism Program of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation and the Belize Tourism Board have a project in concept for the Old Football Field which consists of having a sunset boardwalk and water taxi terminal in the lagoon area.
The project’s over view is to have waterfront development on the lagoon front to create a new destination within San Pedro Town which will consolidate water travel to serve local and international traffic, provide new opportunities for leisure and commerce, build public-private partnerships for commercial and cultural growth, promote waterfront beautification, and further the overall enhancement of Ambergris Caye as a tourist destination, resulting in an increase in overnight tourist visitation.
The Project Site encompasses public land along the lagoon front west of the existing football field. The project will entail some reclamation of the lagoon to extend the football field (1.2 acres) west towards the lagoon and +/- 2500 linear feet of boardwalk stretching to the north to the intersection with Caribeña Street and south to Tarpon Street. Moving the football field to the west will allow Angel Coral Street to run across the existing field at the moment for easy traffic flow as well as having a parking lot on the east side of the field, this information was done based upon recommendations of the feasibility study.
After having presented the project to those in attendance the floor was opened to questions and comments. It was a meeting filled with mixed emotions as some thought the idea of beautifying the area, having a sports complex which is so desperately needed, as well as the parking facility are great ideas. Making major changes in the area for the fishermen was not easily acceptable to everyone in attendance.
Many feared that if the area is changed and modernized not only will the island lose its historical and cultural aspect of being known as quaint fishing village we once were but the survival of all the fish in the area such as the tarpons and other fish will lose their natural habitat.
“It’s a beautiful concept, but if it is at the expense of all the fish that inhabit the area, then we don’t want it,” explained a local fisherman/tour guide.
“Instead of spending $8Mil dollars in doing such a huge boardwalk which is not needed, why don’t we spend much less in fixing up the existing sea wall and standardize all piers,” commented Mr. Severo Guerrero Jr. who is a tour guide and Town Councilor.
Many agreed that instead of having a huge boardwalk the money should be invested in other areas such as finishing the paving of the road from the San Juan Area all the way to the Boca del Rio Bridge, beautifying the beaches and even investing the money in the San Mateo Area which is dire need of proper roads and infrastructure.
This public consultation was held to get the feedback of the public which will then be addressed to the Belize Tourism Board and Inter-American Development Bank. A private meeting with the Mayor and Councilors as well as a separate meeting with the fishermen of the area is to be held today, Tuesday, November 9. Another Public Consultation for this project is set to be held by mid December of this year. For more information or questions regarding this project, you can send an email to [email protected]