Lagoon side construction raises eyebrows

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 50            December 31, 2009

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Two separate developments adjacent to each other in the Lagoon Side of San Pedro Town have prompted authorities to swiftly jump into action. Investigation reveals that one of the constructions going up is in the name of Cesario Rivero while the other is in the name of Giovanni Marin. However, those constructions came to a halt on Wednesday morning when the San Pedro Local Building Authority (SPLBA) issued a temporary stop order until the necessary applications are produced.

    Both developments are going up in the area that is proposed for the Saca Chispa Tourism Development Project. In speaking to The Sun, Chairman of SPLBA Fidel Ancona stated that he became aware of one of the developments on Monday, December 28th. “I found out from the Town’s Administrator that at least one of the developments, that of Cesario Rivero had received approval prior to my appointment,” stated Ancona. As such, Ancona stated that he has asked that the document be produced and if the approval is less than a year old the SPLBA has to honor it. If it turns out to be older than a year, as required by law, Rivero would have to reapply for his building permit and construction would continue. According to Ancona, on Wednesday morning he instructed the Town’s Building Inspector to visit the site and request the building permit. “If the developer cannot produce a building permit that is valid, then construction will have to stop,” stated Ancona.

    The building in question is intended to be used as a small fish stall, replacing one that was previously there. In speaking to Cesario Rivero, he explained that after he purchased the property, he decided to remodel the building. “I do have a valid building permit and according to the Town Administrator, I can proceed as long as I follow the plan that was approved,” stated Rivero. Since the stall sits within the proposed Saca Chispa Tourism Development Project, Rivero stated that if and when that project starts, he will have to dismantle his stall hence his stall is just temporary.

    On the other hand, the SPLBA stated that Marin does not have a permit to proceed with the construct of a pier and docking facility. In fact Ancona stated he became aware on Wednesday after he received a call from Marin stating that he (Marin) has started works on a pier and docking facility in the Lagoon Side of the island. Since Marin has started works without a building permit, Ancona said that he has instructed them to cease all work until they obtain the necessary permits.

    Giovanni Marin, in speaking to The Sun stated that while he had informed the Mayor of San Pedro, Elsa Paz about his intentions, he was “unaware that he needed to obtain a permit to renovate an existing pier and docking facility.” Besides obtaining the green light from the SPLBA Marin will also need to, by law, provide an approval to the Central Building Authority from various agencies and governmental departments. Marin will need to get green lights from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Department of Environment, Public Utilities Commission, Land Utilization Authority, Fisheries Department and the Belize Port Authority as is required for the approval of construction of over the water structure. The docking facility that has come to a halt is intended to be used for Marin’s proposed water taxi run to and from San Pedro Town and Chetumal City in Mexico. When asked why build another pier when he has one on the front part of town, Marin stated he want to avoid confrontation with existing water taxi that are providing similar service. Marin stated that his Chetumal-San Pedro Town run will start on January 8th, 2010 and for the time being, will start its operation from the Sunset Grill dock.



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