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Jun 20, 2013

Public Consultation on Stake Bank

The incident involving King occurred at a casino at Belize’s border with Mexico. While casinos in the Commercial Free Zone have little environmental impact, proposals for large scale development in the country has been emphasized by ambitious hotels, marinas, casinos and airports. Recently, there was a unified no and successful rejection of Norwegian Cruise Line’s proposed development of Crawl Caye and an Italian group is just about to feel the power of environmentalists for their extensive plans for Northern Two and Sanborn Cayes off the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. But the dust on an old but similarly controversial project have been removed once again and Wednesday night, the public had a chance to hear developer Michael Feinstein talk about Stake Bank and Northern Drowned Caye which would include a causeway to the islands. News Five Isani explored the pros and cons of the proposal.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Public consultation on the proposed Stake Bank Caye and North Drowned Caye development projects were held in Belize City on Wednesday night.  Ocean View Grand, which will be constructed on the latter island, is an ambitious undertaking that boasts two hotels, a commercial marina village, a casino, as well as a dry dock for approximately two hundred vessels.  Stake Bank, on the other hand, will see the erection of a trestle-way for the berthing of voyager class cruise vessels, as well as the construction of a water theme park.  Both multimillion dollar projects are the brainchild of businessman Michael Feinstein.  The proposal for the building of a causeway linking both islands to Belize City was met with concerns from environmentalists and tourism stakeholders.

 

Attendee

“Do we know whether or not this road will be private road or public road?”

 

Mike Feinstein, Businessman

“It’s actually owned by the government and leased to myself.”

 

Attendee

“So will it be privately operated despite it being a public road?  And, I guess the second part of my question is, is there a likelihood that there may be a toll for people to use that road?”

 

Mike Feinstein

“Only on one section of it, yes.”

 

An environmental impact assessment has been conducted by personnel from the Department of the Environment.  The length of the elevated path is five miles.

 

Jose ‘Pepe’ Garcia, Environmental Consultant

“That’s the causeway there again and it’s going to exit into Stake Bank in this fashion, a two-way lane straight into the island.  It’s a typical shape that we expect to be placed out there structurally.  These causeways are built all over the world, the USA is famous for it, the South Florida Keys have miles of them, I think about forty-something miles.  We’ll have about five miles in Belize, if approved.  The concept is to have piles on bedrock.  We’ll have a level, from concrete to sea level of roughly between, it varies.  Like between, it was eight feet and forty feet at the center so that the big boats can go through okay.  These are pre-cast piles and on top you have beams, other beams and then you have the roadway.”

 

Attendee #2

“I have one concern about this development plan. Number one is the area that is the sanctuary for manatees, the livelihood of both San Pedro and Caye Caulker for tons and tons of tour guides that make their money there. Will the developer have an answer after he makes a mistake? Like I am sorry after he have already destroyed it. What is the factor to the stakeholders in the north end San Pedro.”

 

Representative, Department of Environment

“Such an issue is an issue that the department is very cognizant about. And in an effort to address this concern that you have put forth, the department has in its amendment to the environmental impact assessment regulation, has instituted financial obligations. For example, a performance bond, per say of the developer was to do an activity and it was to negatively impact a specific area; these funds could be withdrawn and instituted for a rehabilitation project. So that is one of the measures that is out there and a possibility that can be taken to address this specific concern that you have.”

 

Among the many issues with the development plan is the possible destruction of the habitat of the endangered manatees.

 

Jamal Galvez, Coastal Zone Management

“I was looking at the approach that you guys took to put the causeway through the Swallow Caye Sanctuary and that you have used aerial survey; aerial is just one day. And it just sees the animals in a certain position that one instance. And those three manatees, where those tags were, it doesn’t show the movement of the animal. So it doesn’t tell you if the animal actually goes along the part. I think that you guys need to approach the people at Swallow Caye and ask them about the monitoring of these animals and it is unfortunate that this situation came up after Chocolate died because he had fight for this place for years and years. I think you guys need to talk closely with Swallow Caye in regards to the causeway going through there because it will cause; there is nothing that could affect manatee more than putting a causeway through the only area in Belize they call home. It is like putting a bulldozer through your living room while watching the television.”

 

The public consultation was attended by about seventy people.  The deadline for comments to be submitted to the Department of the Environment is June twenty-sixth. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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4 Responses for “Public Consultation on Stake Bank”

  1. trudy says:

    Two people smarter than myself once said:

    “Here we go again by people who have jobs given to them by foreign enviromental groups chasing away jobs and country income for those of us who dont yet have a job from a foreigner. Who cares about the manatees and fish-I want to eat them if I catch em. Who is looking out for me? GOB-please bring the jobs and quit being influenced by gays and tree huggers and manatee lovers.”

    AND

    “Like I said before, lets just chase all tourism out, chase all developers, and become a hermit country with a bit over 1/4 million people in poverty. Thats what these environmentalists want, apparently.”

  2. Voice of Reason says:

    I bet if the developer’s name was Vega or Barrow; this thing would have been built already. Please, for once, lets put party politics to the side and use good judgment for thje benefit or our country. This project is exactly what Belize despereately needs.

  3. Me says:

    Here we go again. NO OIL DRILLING, NO CRUISE LINE, NO TOURISM, NO NOTHING, NEX TING SOME ONE WILL WANT TO MINE FOR GOLD AND THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS WILL SAY NO TOO STRIKE ONE, STRIKE TWO AND STRIKE…… YOU ARE OUT!!!

    U MEAN THEY ARE SEEING BELIZE IN SUCH A ROSY ECONOMIC PPOSITION THAT THEY CAN BLOCK ANYTHING THAT WILL BING SOME REVENUES TO THE COUNTRY? I WONDER…………

  4. Me says:

    Here we go again. NO OIL DRILLING, NO CRUISE LINE, NO TOURISM, NO NOTHING, NEX TING SOME ONE WILL WANT TO MINE FOR GOLD AND THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS WILL SAY NO TOO STRIKE ONE, STRIKE TWO AND STRIKE…… YOU ARE OUT!!!

    U MEAN THEY ARE SEEING BELIZE IN SUCH A ROSY ECONOMIC PPOSITION THAT THEY CAN BLOCK ANYTHING THAT WILL BING SOME REVENUES TO THE COUNTRY? I WONDER…………

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