The San Pedro Sun

Letter to the Editor: How Ambergris Caye has progressed

1848: On Ambergris Caye there were four (4) families of fishermen. Soon there were 30 houses with 50 people. This was PROGRESSS.
1950: Jim Currie brought the first tourists; more PROGRESS.
1965: First hotel; Holiday Hotel owned and run by the Grief family. PROGRESS.
1976: Coral Beach Hotel opened the first dive shop. PROGRESS continues.
1998: My first dive trip here and evacuated for Hurricane Mitch. My PROGRESS (got me to come back) but setback for island.
2000: Return trip – PROGRESS.
2003: After eight (8) trips I made the permanent move; real PROGRESS.
2004: Bought & occupied condo across the cut with access via pull ferry and sandy cart paths that changed as needed by condition controlled by rain and runoff. PROGRESS continues.
2005 : Jeff Pierce bought 22 acres of lagoon just north of the cut and dredged and filled to partially build Reef Village. Destroyed mangroves that lined cart path, fish and bird life. This was not PROGRESS.
2006: Bridge was inaugurated. Northern resident resisted the building of the bridge that replaced the pull ferry. The Town Council assured everyone that nothing larger than a golf cart would ever be allowed to cross. Sounded like PROGRESS.
2008: Sugar Caye began dredge & fill with government approval. ? PROGRESS.
2010: Taxis allowed to cross bridge but limited to 10 MPH. ha ha ha and This was soon followed by trucks of all sizes. Ah – PROGRESS?
2011: Bridge dedicated and named for Sir Barry Bowen who funded the project.
2012: It was learned that a large portion of lagoon on the western shore in Tres Cocos was platted and may someday be built upon by building sea walls in the water and dredging and filling behind them. Home owners in this section of the island will no longer have waterfront property.
In April it was reported that repairs were needed on Bridge.
2013: Bridge repairs begun in May.
2014: Bridge repairs finished in January.
2014: Sugar Caye changed name to Mahogany Bay Resort.
Paving began north of the bridge. (Many residents the Tres Cocos residential area objected.)
2015: Lina Point built 500’ boardwalk behind Reef Village and across lagoon blocking all water vehicle except kayaks access to that large lagoon.
And they are building structures overwater.
2016: Blackadore Caye held public EIA hearing where fishermen objected (strenuously) to over the water construction.
CONCLUSION: Ambergris Caye has a long history of development that has not always been earth friendly, sometimes destructive and recently challenged. I too am a member of Ambergris Caye Committee for Sustainable Development (ACCSD).
I am impressed with the planning that has gone into this project and the fact that the developers have the funds and desire to see this project through.
A reliable source told me that Blackadore was never a mangrove island; it is a sand spit that could possibly develop into an island. Therefore the word “restored” should not be used. As a friend said “Restored to what/at what period of time?
The fishing guides are concerned for their livelihood as evidently this area is a prime Bone Fish grounds. I contend that this project will not only make fishing better, but bring in more affluent fishermen thereby increasing the number of tour guides needed but also boats, captains, etc.
Unlike Mahogany Bay who used mainland labor, Blackadore has vowed to use Ambergris Caye labor and as much Belize material as is available.
There was a lot of talk about the Queens Way. I also think there is a lot of misinformation about this. As I understand it is “beach front wide enough for a man and his ox to pass.” I may be wrong (I have been once or twice) but it does not permit people to loiter – only pass through.
Personally I want to see new methods of constructions that future builders can make use of and be ready to build an even better structure for me and you in a few years.
I think it is important to have public hearings – we can all profit from them if we listen to each other – politely – with an open mind and not from a selfish point of view.
OR Do you want to continue the old ways?
Harriette Fisher
Birdland – No. Ambergris Caye