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Sep 23, 2021

Second Rounds of Consultations For Port Expansion Project

A virtual public consultation is ongoing for the Port of Belize Expansion Project.  The initiative proposes to expand the port with a modernized cargo area and bulk cargo facility.  Additionally, the expansion will include a cruise terminal and a berthing facility that proposes to accommodate onshore docking for larger cruise and cargo ships.  To facilitate larger vessels requires larger access vessels and turning basins.  This undertaking will require that seven point five million cubic meters of silt be dredged from the area.  Environmental stakeholders rejected proposals to dump this waste material offshore, during a public consultation held back in November.  Upon the request of the National Environmental Assessment Committee (NEAC), changes have been made, leading to a second virtual public consultation.  As Allen Herrera of Nextera Environmental and Engineering Consultancy explained, offshore dumping is now off the table. 


Anthony Mai

Anthony Mai, Senior Environmental Officer, DOE

“The final stage again is the monitoring stage. This is the stage, if environmental clearance is granted, and I have to mention, environmental clearance has not been granted for this project as yet. We are still going through the decision making process of this project. When the NEAC last met, they requested additional information that is presented in an addendum. We are here now to discuss the information in the addendum. I repeat, approval has still not yet been granted for this project. It is still being deliberated by the NEAC.”


Allen Herrera

Allen Herrera, Nextera Environmental and Engineering Consultancy

“There is nothing new that is going to be built.  There are no new approaches to building anything. It is exactly the same project. Nothing changes; it is the same proposal that was submitted on November of last year during the public consultation. The only thing that has changes basically is this, we at the public consultation and thereafter, we understand from the stakeholder committee that there were concerns about the offshore placement. That happens sometimes, the developer with the best advice of technical and scientific people, they follow a certain route. And, we can sit here and talk about the technical merits, the scientific merits of doing offshore placements. But, that is not the point here today. The point is, if people don’t want it we don’t want it either. So, that is no longer on the agenda. There will be no offshore placement. It is gone. It is Kapoot! We don’t want to hear it again. We have another proposal that is much more environmentally acceptable. So, now where that leaves us, is that all project activities will now take place exclusively in Port area of previously disturbed land? So, what happens now, the placement, all the effects of the dredging in areas that were previously disturbed from the previous dredging?  The Belize Barrier Reef doesn’t come into the picture. That is fifteen kilometers off.”

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