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Nov 26, 1998

Housing Department targets derelict buildings

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The Belize City infrastructure project may have given a facelift to some parts of the old capital, but the sight of abandoned and decaying buildings, both large and small, continues to blight the urban landscape. How much longer these derelicts will be allowed to stand is a matter now being taken up by authorities.

The Housing and Planning department is looking closely at buildings they say are a danger to the community. According to City Engineer Enrique Rosado, these derelict buildings pose problems for both the residents and neighbors.

Enrique Rosado, City Engineer

“The problem with these buildings is that after they are abandon it becomes a hide out for thieves and drug users and eventually it becomes a fire hazard and health hazard. We have these drug users lighting up their cracks in these houses and they leave filth behind. Its not only a dangerous building, it becomes a health hazard and fire hazard to the people living around the area.”

Hyacinth Latchman, Reporting

And that hazard is not merely theoretical, as residents of several Belize City neighbors can attest.

Enrique Rosado

“We think about these fires which have recently occurred in Albert Street area where ten fifteen houses are burnt down. These houses are in some areas where if they would catch on fire your talking about a major disaster.

The demolition or repair of a dangerous building is the responsibility of the owner, but often the owner no longer live in Belize, or if they are here, simply refuse to cooperate. At that point the department gives thirty days notice, after which time the court can order a building torn down. With the twin threats of crack and conflagration clearly growing, the wrecking ball can’t swing soon enough.

Hyacinth Latchman for News Five.

Housing and Planning estimates that there are around thirty buildings in Belize City that are candidates for demolition.

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