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Is Sea Trek Good for Ambergris Caye?

It has been said that it is not the diplomas and degrees that we hold that make us smart but rather the wise decisions that we make. And this is what it boils down to in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. We are faced with so many very important issues and we now await “wise decisions”.

In too many cases, we hear the facts of issues and we then wait to hear the final decision, but we never do. As a responsible local newspaper in Ambergris Caye, we see it as our duty to follow up on these issues and help bring you the final decisions because you all deserve to know.

Decisions Now!

Here is the case of Sea Trek, offering a helmet dive on the reef for tourists without the need to be certified in scuba diving. The investors and promoters of this project are saying they will bring more tourists to San Pedro and that is good. They claim they have done all their environmental impact studies and have gotten clearance from government. Sea Trek claims that this diving activity does not lift any sand from the sea bottom and does not put the reef in danger. According to them the barge is to be safely anchored and will not damage the reef. It is to be removed daily and the sewage from its toilet will be safely disposed of.

The citizens of San Pedro have quite a different perspective of the Sea Trek project. They feel that the investor will attract cruise ship tourists to Mexico Rocks and as such San Pedro will not benefit in any form from the project.

Furthermore if they get a few tourists from the local hotels, then they will be taking away potential customers from the local tour agencies and local tourist guides. Those who oppose it are claiming that swimmers will inevitably raise silt from the sea bottom and that in the long run will prove detrimental to the reef. The barge is too large to be anchored in front of a prime real estate area is another argument, so they recommend some other area of the reef not in front of Ambergris Caye- perhaps somewhere near Caye Chapel or Saint George’s Caye near Belize City.

So now it is Decision Time.

With all the commotion and resistance that the new Sea Trek underwater adventure is receiving from the public even before the project is launched in Ambergris Caye, project owner David Gegg invited Ambergris Today for a special preview of the unique underwater experience. Delsie and Gerry of Ambergris Today got the opportunity to walk the bottom of the sea at the Mexico Rocks area, where the Sea Trek attraction has been proposed to operate.

Mr. David Gegg’s intention is to show the public what Sea Trek is all about for everybody to understand its concept and benefits for tourism in Belize. Needless to say Ambergris Today had a great time as the Mexico Rocks area never ceases to impress and the Sea Trek experience is one-of-a-kind. More pictures and a video are available at Ambergris Today Online for you to take a look and decide for yourself.

Who will make this most important decision? It is the San Pedro Town Council and The Honorable Manuel Heredia, our elected leaders in government. It lies completely on their shoulders. They must listen to the voice of the people and the voice of the investors and make THE WISE DECISION. We are sure that there can be a decision which will make both parties happy.

Town Council Opposes Sea Trek

May 18th 2010

Mr. Martin Alegria
Chief Environment Officer
Ministry of Natural Resources & the Environment
Belmopan City
Belize

RE: David Gegg/Sea-Trek

Dear Mr. Alegria,
The San Pedro Town Council writes in reference to the new underwater project in the Mexico Rocks Area known as Sea Trek. The Council fully supports the community’s position against this venture. The community has expressed their concerns of the potential harmful effects to the reef and the loss of integrity in the area’s beauty and its preservation. Organizations such as Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development have further expressed their concern on some aspects of this project.

The Council proposes the following:
* That Sea Trek conducts (a) public consultations(s) to properly present its project to the community.
* That the locations be properly studied before determining if it is the adequate location.
* That the preservation of our national heritage, the Barrier Reef be the utmost priority and not risking it over offering a “different experience” or:”marketing incentive” for the very industry it may put at stake.

Furthermore, the Council strongly believes that especially for projects like this one, which are new and will require careful consultation and studies that the Ministry assures to have the Local Authority’s perspective in writing. Mr. Gegg did approach the Council in reference to his project and the Council referred him to the Tour Guide Association for their input. At no point did the Council issue a letter of full support for this project, therefore; in order to avoid miscommunications the Council strongly suggests that the Ministry takes this into consideration. Moreover, the Council is fully aware that we only provide a recommendation and your Ministry provides the final approval but our input must be considered since it is our community, our environment, our heritage.

Sincerely,
Elsa Paz (Mrs)

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