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Oct 25, 2016

Blackadore Caye Moves Forward With Restoration

At the end of May when we visited Blackadore Caye, developers of what is being billed as the first-of-its-kind restorative island shared with the media a master plan which included structures being erected over the surrounding waters.  It has been several months and one approved EIA later.  So, where does the proposed project stand?  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has an update.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since we last visited Blackadore Caye, the proposed site for a multimillion dollar eco-friendly resort development near Ambergris Caye, coverage of what’s taking place on the island has been minimal.  That’s not to say things have come to a standstill.  In fact, everything’s a go as far as ecological considerations are concerned.  Developers have been given approval from the Department of the Environment to proceed beyond an environmental impact assessment.  The project certainly has the blessings of Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia, a resident of San Pedro Town.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“Definitely I believe that the project that will be done in Blackadore Caye is something not only good for San Pedro but for the entire Belize.  Having looked at the project I believe that it will be an example for our neighbors and the rest of the world.  They envision to do a project that is eco-friendly, restoring the island and making sure that everything that they do over there is first class.  These people, personally I have seen it, have already done tremendous amount of studies with international expertise and so forth and I believe that what they have done will really create one of the world’s best resorts over there.  Already they were given the green light to go ahead by the DOE and these people have gone beyond what they have been asked.”

 

Despite being cleared to continue with the initial design and layout of the restorative island, developers have chosen to scrap the idea of building residential structures over the water.  That announcement was made earlier today.

 

Dionne Chamberlain-Miranda

Dionne Chamberlain-Miranda, Public Relations, Blackadore Group

“The investors, despite the fact that they will be seeing a difference in the economic return, have made a decision that they are willing to accept that and ensure that there will be no over-water structures for sale or rent on Blackadore Caye and that’s very historic for Belize I would like to agree.  The second point that we would like to start off with, like I mentioned, over-water structures really show that we pushed the boundaries for sustainable development and that the developers remain receptive to stakeholder opinion and decided not to pursue the originally contemplated over-water structures.  This came at significant cost because an entire master plan has been revisited.”

 

Along with revisiting that initial design, the environmental soundness of the project remains paramount.  To learn more about the waters surrounding the island, Jim Reilly has begun a hydrographic study to determine the quality of the water.

 

Jim Reilly

Jim Reilly, Director of Environmental Protection

“We have a focus at the restorative island side, really the house is split with development and environmental protection and the restorative island side is all about the environment and capturing the scientific data.  So we brought several pieces of technology to bear on the Blackadore project.  We have a water quality instrument that we’ve been sharing with several of the other NGO stakeholders in our area of influence with the Sarteneja alliance and the integrated coastal zone management goals to try and capture water quality data around the country where there is a lack of data and there is a lack of understanding because there is no data to compare against.  The other part of it is that we have purchased a very large hydrographic survey system that we’ve retrofitted on to our vessel.  It is not the same as what’s being used in the seismic work offshore, it doesn’t use an air gun technology where it’s creating a sound in the water.  It uses the same technology as a depth sounder on anyone’s boat.”

 

And the overall investment?  Well, according to PR Rep Dionne Chamberlain-Miranda, it is expected that an approximate eight hundred million Belize dollars will be spent during the building phase of the Blackadore project.  Most importantly, she emphasizes, is that Blackadore will contribute to the growth of Belize’s annual gross domestic product.

 

Dionne Chamberlain-Miranda

“I want you to realize that over the next twenty years that there will be two hundred million dollars in revenue and the investment over the period for the construction phase will be up to four hundred and seventy million U.S. dollars.  This is twenty-five percent of Belize’s GDP, for any of you who would like to take note of that.  I also want you to realize that this project, after its growth and development phase will contribute to over three percent of Belize’s GDP on a yearly basis.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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