Every individual’s position on this depends on what side of the table you are eating from, if you have employment or investments you are eating on South Beach side of the table but if you care about the environment and sustainable tourism development for the island you are eating on the other side of the table.
And so it is that South Beach received approval for phase I on December of last year which includes some dredging and the construction of hotels and casino. South Beach Belize is a 545 acre project south of the island around the Marco Gonzalez site, the only archeological site on the island.
On the other side of the table is the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development which is creating community consciousness that South Beach will have severe impact on mangroves, wetlands, fish feeding & spawning habitat.
But greater negative impact is the potential damage to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the entire reef due to the dredging that has been approved in phase I. Already environment experts have confirmed that the state of our reef is 47% in very poor conditions, 6% in critical conditions, 41% in fair condition and 6% in good condition; this dredging stands to destroy the little good that remains.
And although South Beach has started work on the project since they were given approval in Belmopan, the local group here on the island, ACCSD, is gaining grounds on having a stop order for the project by having weekly meetings to try to make people aware that the negative impacts of this project is not only to our natural resource but to everyone who calls San Pedro a home.
To be fair with development we believe that everybody deserves opportunities but the authorities should assure and guarantee to us that this project and any future development project will take our environment issues into account and respect the needs of the local population and resources.
South Beach Protest
A group of about 40 protestors hit the streets on Tuesday, February 17 from the Boca Del Rio Bridge heading down town with posters on their hands in support of the South Beach Project. The highly enthusiastic crowd held signs which read “More job opportunities”, “I agree to the South Beach Project”, amongst others. But the protest was stopped by the San Pedro Police around the San Pedro High School before they reached down town because the group did not have a valid permit to conduct a protest.