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Sep 15, 2014

Government offering submerged lots in northern Ambergris Caye

There is a developing story tonight out of San Pedro where the government is offering submerged lots in northern Ambergris Caye.  As incredible as it sounds, there are numerous pegs in the water in an area known as Sunset Cove. Forty acres of the swampy wetland have been surveyed for residential lots, but no one is owning up to this proposed subdivision. Mike Rudon was in San Pedro today and files the following report.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This is an area known as Sunset Cove. It’s about four miles north of San Pedro Town, six hundred acres of mostly swamp, mangroves and lagoon. The wetland known as Los Bajos is prime fishing grounds where avid or amateur anglers are sure to get their lines on permit, tarpon or bonefish.

 

Omar Arceo, Tour Guide

“This area is a small bony fish lagoon where I am standing now. I came in the morning and tried to hook a couple bonefish and it is also a natural habitat for the bone fish, juvenile tarpon and we have a couple barracudas, snappers and crana.”

 

Omar Arceo

Mike Rudon

“I understand that they are planning a subdivision in this area…they already have the survey pegs down. How will this affect your industry?”

 

Omar Arceo

“Well it will affect it a hundred percent because it is going to kill the natural habitat of the fish that lives here, especially the bonefish that we are looking for and also the juvenile fishes that are making their lives here. This is an incubator, mangrove surrounds it and it is a small incubator for juvenile fish.”

 

Incredibly, there are now survey pegs all over the wetlands. Forty acres have allegedly been subdivided to provide lots for residents. Here’s one lot already fenced, though it would better serve as swimming pool than a residential parcel. We circled for at least hours…we found lots of pegs, lots of lagoon and lots of mangroves, but really no land…well actually there is land, only it’s under three feet of water. Still, any proposed development in this area is bad news on the tourism front.

 

Omar Arceo

“It’s very, very sad to see this survey division. It is sad because we are going to end to zero. We are not going to see no more this natural habitat of the bonefish because people will come and live here and they will destroy it. And the ones that already make it already destroy the environment. So that is why it is very important for us to conserve this small lagoon where we can come and fish for bonefish and any other fish.”

 

There’s actually a bigger issue. These wetlands have been proposed as a reserve area under the Hol Chan Marine Reserve system. The Protected Areas Conservation Trust had actually approved a grant for the expansion of this area. That grant was declared null and void because the status of the wetlands as a reserve has been before Cabinet for the past three years.

 

Jose Arceo, Former President, ACCSP

Jose Arceo

“For the past couple years, about two and half to three years, Hol Chan itself—Hol Chan is a national park—has been looking at going through an expansion phase and part of those areas was going to be the expansion of Hol Chan. And what I have gathered from the media the past couple days is that the grant that was given by PACT to Hol Chan was actually cancelled. So we are inquiring about it and that’s when we found out that there are surveying pegs in the lagoon. That’s our only resource that we have. It is the only thing that actually feeds the reef; that makes all of us live on this island that we call our home. It is very important for us to find areas like that to protect and conserve it and as you can tell, it is quite a large area of lagoon that is proposed to be filled for people’s lots.”

 

The wetlands are important, we were told, because they feed the reef, meaning that they act as a natural hatchery.

 

Jose Arceo

“All the mangrove areas are natural habitats for many fishes…all the babies are born there that eventually make their way towards the reef. So areas like those especially, are very critical for the reef itself; for the growth and life for the barrier reef which of course are a source of pride for all of us in Belize.”

 

Environmental issues aside, the lots are under water. The survey posts were in most cases completely submerged, and the only access to the new submerged lots is by boat. So whose bright idea is this subdivision? Mayor of San Pedro, Daniel Guerrero, says for sure it wasn’t his.

 

Daniel Guerrero

Daniel Guerrero, Mayor, San Pedro Town

“I have no comments on that. I am not involved. I have no clue what the deal is. All I know is the San Mateo from this side coming in.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, have you been informed of any housing project in that area?”

 

Daniel Guerrero

“I have no comments on it.”

 

We were informed that the subdivision is the brainchild of Minister of Manuel Heredia. He didn’t answer our calls or text requests for an interview on this matter. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “Government offering submerged lots in northern Ambergris Caye”

  1. daniel says:

    If you buy one of these lots, do you get a land title or boat title? I have house boat LOL

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