Ambergris Caye’s ‘Ground Zero’ zone in recovery

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

In late June of this year, a huge and devastating fire almost wiped out an entire block on Pescador Drive in downtown San Pedro. 11 buildings that served as homes and businesses to a total of 88 residents were destroyed. Four months later, the first building is being erected at the site dubbed ‘Ground Zero’ and it is expected that by December of 2016, most of the buildings will be reconstructed.rebuilding-pescador-drive-el-dorado-1
One of the first buildings under construction is the residence and business of Abel Dorado, who operated his grocery store ‘El Dorado’ at the site where the fire began. Dorado had to relocate after losing his home and business in the blaze, and is now happy to see his new building coming to life. He expects to relocate to his previous spot on Pescador Drive as early as November. “People would constantly ask me when I was going to start building back my store on Pescador Drive. That motivated me to start building my new store and make a loan from the bank in order to meet the total cost of the reconstruction,” said Dorado. He also mentioned that his new building will be similar to the previous one, however, it will all be concrete instead of wood.
Dorardo’s building was insured, but the items inside were not. “I had my store stocked before the fire. I took a great loss, but today I feel happy that things are slowly getting better, and to all my customers, we want them to know that we will soon be back on Middle Street,” said Dorado.rebuilding-pescador-drive-el-dorado-2
In order for any construction to start at ‘Ground Zero,’ proper approval must be obtained from the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority (ACLBA). ACLBA’s Fidel Ancona indicated that, three plans for construction have been submitted and all have been approved. These include the new buildings for El Dorado store, Efrain Guerrero and Relmer Arceo. “In order to approve, the authority considers the type of material used to rebuild and tries to get as much setback as possible considering what was there before, and the necessity of the building,” explained Ancona. He further commented that the new buildings to be constructed will be better than the ones before, and all the structures approved so far match with the parameters set for that particular area. In the upcoming weeks he is expecting more plans for the rest of the buildings, which will be carefully analysed before any approval is granted.
In the meantime, workers can be observed working hard in order to meet El Dorado’s deadline. They have moved pretty fast in the past three weeks since they began construction, and the aim is to try and get as much work done before the end of the year. “This is a busy street, very commercial, reconstruction is a must, if we are talking about business,” said one of the construction workers.
As for the other buildings approved, building materials are already arriving at the area, suggesting that more construction might soon begin. The ACLBA is also taking this opportunity to guide the future building plans in order to have a properly distributed and well- planned community.

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