Mayor Sympathizes, Will Work Out Issues
Late this evening, we got a response from Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, who told News Five that there has been a deviation from the initial tourism master plan for the Fort George area. Not only does the Belize City Council support the concerns of residents and the local business community, it accedes that the Fort George Memorial Park remains a white elephant, despite the significant cost of remodeling. As far as the cost of rent, Mayor Bradley says that vendors have been operating for free, at City Hall’s expense, since they’ve had to shoulder the cost of maintenance. The fee, according to the head of local government, is negotiable.
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“We absolutely, one hundred percent support the position of those individuals. Many of them have attended the several consultations that we have had. Recently we had a consultation in the last two weeks. We had one about two months ago likewise because we are continually engaging with members of the community on the best fit in relation to organizing the Fort George Tourism Zone. But the essential difficulty that I have and which is why I understand the frustration of the residents and members of the business community is that we’re not following the project design. The project design called for the buses parking right behind the Memorial Park. Any resident of Belize City can go there and you can see there are slips for buses and there’s a turnstile and that was designed to accommodate the many buses that would have been in the area. The residents have a very proper grievance that you have very small streets along Cork Street and those areas and you have these big buses going in there causing noise pollution, releasing gas and causing increased traffic flow in the area and that was not the original design. So that what we are saying is that we are supporting a plan or proposal to have the buses park in the area that it was always designed. This is something that would make the residents quite happy. I want to clarify that it’s not increases. Currently the vendors in that area pay nothing. So that there is significant maintenance cost in relation to Memorial Park. We provide significant support to the Fort George Tourism Zone with traffic officers, assisting with the police, dealing with maintenance and monitoring in the area. All of that has a cost. If we’re talking about developing Memorial Park to the extent that we want to see it, being a place that’s flourishing and teeming with economic activity, small business, booths opening, food, culture, life, entertainment. All of that comes with a cost so, again part of the project, part of the sustainability plan for Memorial Park called for the vendors in the area paying for something.”
According to Mayor Bradley, the implementation of the rent has been postponed from April first, until a fee is agreed upon with vendors.