Ambergris Today met with Mayor Elsa Paz on Monday, January 8, to discuss what plans the Town Council has in store this year for the betterment and beautification of the island.
Mayor Paz informed us that the Town Council has many plans for different areas of the island but their main concerns at the moment are the issues of the street and crime.
Mayor Paz started off by explaining to us the street projects which would cost a total amount of approximately 7 million dollars. Paving the town core itself will cost a total of 3.2 million dollars which will be paid by the town council.
She also explained to us that during the second week of February of this year, the paving of Barrier Reef Drive should commence, which will also include the perpendicular streets leading to the main streets.
Central Government has agreed on paying 3.5 million for the paving of the northern and southern roads either with concrete slabs or asphalt. These areas will include the pavement from San Juan Area to the Boca Del Rio Bridge and from Island Supermarket to B.W.L just past Victoria House.
When asked why the town council hasn’t done anything about funding for the pavement of these roads Mayor Paz responded, “The Town Council could have made a loan and paid for the pavement of the roads, but we find it unfair for Central Government not to help us.” She continued by saying, “Central Government receives a huge amount of money from San Pedro and it is only fair that we get a fair share in return.”
The Government of Belize should come up with a decision by January 17 to inform the community with their plans. As for the town core improvements, the government will have to give its blessing (grant) to the Town Council in order for them to get a loan and commence the street project by the second week of February.
Mayor Paz then commented on the status of Central Park which she said should be completed along with the pavement of Barrier Reef Drive. Captain Morgan’s Retreat has already sponsored six lamps for the park along with Atlantic Bank that has sponsored $8,000 for lamps and for another playground to be built. Other lamps will be bought by the town council. The food vendors have been given a month’s notice in order for them to relocate elsewhere so that both parks, Friendship Park and Central Park can become one.
There have been many complaints about littering in the Boca Del Rio Area. “Yes, we are aware of the littering problem in the island. At the moment we only have one dump truck which is working properly and that is used for the entire island,” commented Mayor Paz.
“We are currently in the process of purchasing a new dump truck and hopefully it will assist with the problem of excessive garbage since we will have two working dump trucks,” added Paz. Plans for the beautification and addition of playground for the Boca Del Rio Area are underway. A group of students should be arriving to the island and they will be in charge of drafting a plan for the park, since there’s already a sponsor for the project to take place.
Ambergris Today also asked Mayor Paz about the completion of the fence around the Old Football Field weather it would be completed anytime soon. Her response was, “We already have a local business that is willing to donate funds for the completion of the fence, but presently our main concern is the streets.”
The crime issue is also being dealt with by the Town Council. The Councilors have met with the Commissioner of the Police about what all can be done for the island’s safety.
The Town Council hopes to see an improvement in the crime situation since many reports have been made at the town council’s office about street peddlers bothering tourists and offering them drugs; even being robbed at gun point.
Mayor Paz said, “Hopefully we can put a stop to all this because it will make no sense if we have better roads, have a more beautiful island and there are no tourists coming in because of the high crime rate.”
As we can see, the Town Council along with Mayor Paz have concrete plans for the island. Hopefully by the end of the year we should see positive result and changes for the betterment.
Barrier Reef Dr. to be bricked soon
Garbage at Boca del Rio to be addressed