SP Belize Express says Municipal dock use is ‘temporary’
Friday, January 6th, 2017
Mayor Daniel Guerrero has been prompt to shut down the rumours that the boat company San Pedro Belize Express (SPBE) will be using the municipal dock permanently. The company, which provides commuting services to and from Belize City to Ambergris Caye, was one of the many businesses affected by Hurricane Earl in early August of 2015, and the company was forced to find an alternative area to operate its daily runs. Since then, they have been conducting business from the municipal dock by Central Park. A recent addition of structures on the dock, and the extended use of the dock have raised concerns among island residents.
According to local authorities, the dock, which is Government property, has been serving the people of San Pedro Town ever since the foundation of the community, and no private entity should be entitled to operate on it permanently.
The management of the SPBE was contacted at its headquarters in Belize City, and they confirmed that Area Representative Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr. had given them permission to operate from the municipal dock. They also indicated that it was not a permanent location. In regards to the additional structures on the dock, SPBE’s representative justified them as needed space for luggage and other services to accommodate their growing clientele. They repeatedly indicated that their presence at the dock was temporary, also acknowledging that they do not know when they would relocate.
The Sun tried to contact Heredia to discuss on the issue, but to no avail.
However, Mayor Guerrero did provide an answer regarding the situation with the usage of the dock and when SPBE would need to relocate. “It is not permanent,” said Guerrero. “In fact, this year, they and the other boat companies will have to relocate to the international boat terminal at the Sunset Boardwalk.”
Guerrero was clear as to when the deadline would be, stating, “it should not pass March, and even if we are not fully finished with the dredging of the channel on the lagoon side, they will have to start moving anyway.” The Mayor plans to reduce the boat traffic on the windward of the island by all means starting this year.
The international terminal located at the Sunset Boardwalk was an investment of $5.6 million dollars; however its facilities have not been properly utilized. The water taxi companies in particular remain hesitant to relocate to the terminal built in 2014. Mayor Guerrero remains optimistic that after the necessary upgrades are made to the installations on the lagoon side, the transition will be a smooth one, while providing visitors with a better travel service to Ambergris Caye.