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Jan 15, 2016

Blackadore Caye Proposal Launches to Mixed Reviews

Blackadore Caye is an unpopulated one hundred and four-acre untouched island west of San Pedro Ambergris Caye. Located twenty minutes away by boat, the caye is in proximity to the Belize Barrier. The island is owned by actor Leonardo Di Carpio who is planning a massive mega eco-tourism development. On Thursday night, a first round of consultations was held in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye on the required Environmental Impact Assessment. There was a heavy presence by government officials to lend support, but there is also unease by residents. News Five’s Duane Moody as a report.  

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Blackadore Caye was sold back in 2005 to world renowned actor and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio and his partner are planning to invest in a multimillion dollar eco-tourism project, including villas for guests that will be built atop a massive platform that stretches in an arc over the water, with artificial reefs and fish shelters underneath. But the island falls within an area that was recently placed under the protection of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.  Fishermen believe their livelihood and habitat are under threat.

 

Resident

“By the general public that uses it for flying fishing and other resources. It’s been a long while for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and is the habitat for many of the species that Belize has. Now we are seeing the development of big buildings going over the water. When investors buy property that is where they should build, in their property. Not over the water, taking away what belongs to all of the populace of Belize.”

 

Resident

“I didn’t come to argue with you all. I came to argue about the natural state of the habitat of the island where I fished all my life and the plan to resolve that putting those buildings in the water, in what was three areas to put in the reserve as part of Hol Chan. I have nothing against it, but we already stopped the first company that came three years ago with that sweet talk.”

 

Resident

“Sixty-six feet of all coastal waters are all considered Queen’s land because it belongs to the public. You may own land, but from high tide, sixty-six feet on to land is public access. And not only are you blocking that, but you are encroaching on the marine reserve and developing in that water.”

 

Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia contends that traditional areas will not be affected. He supports the mega tourism development project.

 

Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism

“The over the water structure, there’s legislation to that. But those are matters that we need to sit down with Billy, Miguel and the guys concerned and see how best we can address the situation. The usage do the area, I believe that it has to be spelt clearly well that the people will be able to use the traditional areas. But we have to be very clear, before this project was around, before it was declared a reserve and I was very critical…I asked over and over again if we declared this thing a reserve. It means to say that developers will not be able to develop or so because then if that is the case, I’d have a problem. I would never allow a reserve to be done and stopping developments to private investors…even dredging. He said, will dredging be done? Yes, if you ask a permit, dredging will be permitted and so.”

 

As area representative, Heredia believes that the proposal can create jobs.

 

Manuel Heredia

Manuel Heredia

“Let us be practical. There are hundreds of students that are graduating without a job. If we do not allow development to be done and to be done right, then we are we putting these people, where are these people going. My job as the area representative is to think for them to think for the students and to think for the entire residents of the island.”

 

According to reports, the eco-conscious resort named “Blackadore Caye, a Restorative Island” is scheduled to be officially opened to guests in 2018.  Duane Moody for News Five. 1

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2 Responses for “Blackadore Caye Proposal Launches to Mixed Reviews”

  1. Voice of Reason says:

    Just another unwanted project that government will ram down our throats and have their handful of crownies benefit from. ‘The best is yet to come’

  2. Spike says:

    I think the sixty-six feet spoken of by the woman resident is an access easement, not public property. If Blackadore Caye is entirely privately owned as one piece of land, there wouldn’t be any other properties on that caye to access. Therefore the uninvited public would be trespassing.

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