Belize Infrastructure Limited plans on renovating Ambergris Stadium
Friday, July 25th, 2014
For months, island footballers have been complaining about the deplorable condition of the two football fields on Ambergris Caye. San Pedro Town is among the several municipalities of Belize that do not have a proper sporting facility, even after a multi-million dollar investment was made to renovate one of the island’s fields. But the General Manager of Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL), Christy Mastry has confirmed that the problem will be addressed as plans are ongoing for the renovation of Ambergris Stadium, located on the south end of Ambergris Caye.
San Pedro’s two fields, the Ambergris Stadium and the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Arena, are improperly landscaped, prone to flooding and inadequate for sporting activities. The Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Arena was inaugurated in March, 2014 and replaced the “Saca Chispas” Football Field. The arena was initially intended to have an improved football field, but even after completion, the arena’s landscape is not suitable for sports. Mastry stated that several changes were made on the original design for the Honorable Louis Sylvester Arena. “It was not feasible to make the Honorable Louis Sylvester Arena a regulation football field because the maintenance cost would be too high. A proper football field should be landscaped with grass, the area where the Honorable Louis Sylvester Arena was built is not suitable for growing grass, and importing grass from elsewhere is far too costly. The arena can still be used for sporting activities even though it is more suitable for hosting town events,” said Mastry. The original Saca Chispas Football Field was twice as large as the current arena, had ample seating grounds and was not covered in hard core and sand. Island athletes have commented that the arena is no longer suitable for sports as the ground was not properly landscaped and can lead to injuries due to the gravel, stone and shell materials used for land fill. In addition the arena becomes muddy during rain as the land fill material is too loose and there is no proper drainage.
The island’s second sporting complex, the Ambergris Stadium, is not suited for sports play either. The field is un-kempt as it receives little maintenance. It is also uneven and prone to flooding. According to Mastry, the stadium will be renovated to fit the needs for sporting practices. “The Ambergris Stadium project is currently is in the design phase which should be completed by October 2014. Upon the completion, the stadium will be the islands’ top sporting complex, equipped with state of the art facilities to foster sports, in particular, football,” said Mastry, who is hopeful that the Ambergris Stadium project will start no later than January of 2015. “Once the Ambergris Stadium project is completed, San Pedro will have a regulation size football field. The stadium will also be suitable for softball, running and track and field.”
BIL currently has four ongoing projects in the Cayo District, the Falcon Field Recreation Center and Facilities in San Ignacio Town, the Santa Elena Football Complex and Facilities in Santa Elena Town, the Isidoro Beaton Football Complex and Facilities in Belmopan City and the Benque Viejo del Carmen Football Complex and Facilities in Benque Viejo del Carmen Town. All four projects are estimated to cost total of about $500,000. Mastry has also stated that discussion has commenced for undertaking sporting complexes in Punta Gorda and Dangriga Town. “The aim of BIL is to ultimately improve the standards of sports across the country. By providing and constructing proper sporting facilities, Belizean athletes will have better opportunities to improve their skills,” said Mastry.
BIL, which was established in 2013 to undertake the design, construction and management of the country’s capital projects with an emphasis in sporting and multipurpose facilities, works along with the National Sports Council (NSC) to promote the growth of sports to an international level by improving sporting facilities to give athletes better means of practicing their sport. NSC is the entity in Belize in charge of fostering the development of sports, including the up-keep and cleaning for all major stadiums within the country and is tasked to identify possible projects for BIL. According to Mastry, each municipality in the country should be receiving approximately five million dollars in funds for the renovation or construction of sporting facilities.
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