Tuesday, July 16, 2024

SPTC tackling construction projects using public spaces; craft vendors affected


The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) Building Unit issued a stop order on Tuesday, September 26th, to a construction site on the beach in the downtown area. The area in question, which reportedly is the expansion of a hotel construction project, is under investigation by the Building Unit. As a result of this development, some craft vendors on the beach were being affected by this expansion, which is considered illegal as no construction is allowed on the beach by law.
Belize’s laws regarding public spaces stipulate that a 66-foot distance from the shoreline must render free access to the public. As per this regulation, property owners are not to block or build on that portion of the beach nor impede people from accessing that space. As such, one person affected is craft vendor Bernice Ramirez, who voiced her struggles with the hotel’s construction.
Ramirez said she has been selling crafts by the beachside for years. But with the development of the hotel in front of her stall, she feels they are pushing her out of the beach. Ramirez said this is her only means of making a living and that the hotel owners have no right over the beach. Ramirez added that some of her products were damaged when some of the employees from the construction allegedly tried to move her stall. She is hoping for compensation from the hotel developers for the damages caused. Attempts to reach someone to speak on behalf of the construction project were unsuccessful.
The Building Unit at the SPTC inspected the area and issued a stop order. They mentioned that any development permits from the Physical Planning Unit and approval are required before construction. They added that the unit is looking into several other reports of public spaces used for private purposes. Reports can be made by calling the SPTC at 226-2198 or visiting their Barrier Reef Drive offices.
The SPTC also plans to relocate beachside craft vendors to free up beach spaces in downtown San Pedro. No further details have been made available on this plan.

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