Placencia Village Council What are they doing? Hmm…Let’s see: Here is a report from the Council. May 11, 2011
By‐Laws – update: The By‐Law amendment we made on November 9, 2010 are currently being reviewed by Mr. Bala, the Government’s lawyer, and once he is completed, there will be another in‐camera consultation with the Village Council to review amendments to make sure everything is accurate. The other step, I believe, will be for the Council to then submit to the Clerk of the National Assembly to be presented for an official vote. I am very confident that this will be the finalization of our by‐laws. Trade License Act update: The Placencia Village Council is working along with Mr. Banner of Local Government Ministry is trying to enact the Trade License Act for Placencia Village. By having the Trade License Act the Village Council will have sufficient funds to proper run Village affairs and relieve our financial burdens as well as have a financial pool for re‐investment into well needed community projects. Culvert System: You may have noticed some works being done throughout the Village on the main road with the laying of culverts. The Placencia Village Council along with a significant financial investment from the Placencia Water Board are now in the process of completing a 4 point drainage system that will alleviate flooding from key locations in the village. The main culvert that runs underneath the road is the standard 18” and the run‐off pipes leading to the lagoon will be 12”. For maintenance purposes; there will be a man‐hole at every forty feet of the drain‐off pipes. i. This portion of the project is now in progress. For your information: the 4 points starts at the Vernon’s estate moving south to the Leslie’s Estate then near the Police Station and then the Godfrey’s and Cabral’s Estate in the New Site Area. This project will be an investment of approximately $26,455BZ, which the Water Board has invested around 90% and the Council investing the remainder while labor and equipment are being provided by the Ministry Of Works. The Council would like to give a big Thank You to the Placencia Water Board for helping us in completing this very important infrastructural project. This project will not only help alleviate flooding in our village during the rainy season, but will also help with keeping the Village’s aesthetic look intact for our booming tourism industry.
Road Maintenance: We are also pleased to announce that the extremely dilapidated stretch of road in front of Turtle Inn has been repaired and I would like to thank the Ministry of Works, especially Mr. Bill Cuevas, for seeing this through. If you have noticed many of the pot holes in the road leading into the Village starting from the airport; have been repaired and most of the broken/jagged edges of the road have also been repaired. The Caribbean Development Bank is planning to conduct an Exit Workshop to review the Placencia Road Upgrade Project and discuss any related issues, challenges, successes and lessons learnt during its implementation. They have requested the Council’s assistance in identifying one representative of the following groups in our community to participate as well: (1) Women’s group, (2) Water users ‐ fisher folk, etc., and (3) Basketball Association. We are waiting to be informed on the exact date of when the Exit Workshop will be taking place. The Council is interested in hearing when/if the road will be finalized all the way to the point. Beach Clean Up Program: Currently there is one Sanitation worker who is designated to clean the beach every day. The Council has an employee who cleans the field, road and the sidewalk and assists with the cleaning of the beach when it is very dirty. This person also helps with the cleaning of properties and cleans the airstrip area once per week. This person has been employed by the Council since November 2010 and works from 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday and is paid $40 per day. For your information: we are able to clean the airstrip area and have this person employed on weekly basis due to the generous donations from Avadon Divers and Los Porticos. We would like to ask that whatever financial assistance any business or person can contribute, will be greatly appreciated. Sports Field Clean Up: Reiterated: Starting in December of 2010, the Council has contracted Mr. William Santos to do upkeep of the sporting field grounds on a monthly basis. As you may have noticed, the field is well kept for the start of the day! As a matter of income and maintenance, the Council has decided to charge a fee of $50.00 for any official games/function. This is for grounds cleanup and electricity. Usage of the field for practice sessions will remain free. Sports Field Additional Lighting: We would like to note that the Soccer field has received four (4) additional lights, which have been contributed by Minister Melvin Hulse. The additional lights will play in integral part in betterment of night time soccer matches and practices.
Cleaning of Private Property: Reiterated: We would like to remind people that they can contract the Sanitation Board to clean their property at a cost of $500 per lot. The Council has been aggressive after property owners to clean their overgrown properties and we must say that all have been receptive and taken the initiative to do their own cleaning. For those that we feel are abandoned; we have cleaned with the reason of public safety and health. For your information: In accordance with Part IV ‐ Chapter 23 ‐ Section 1 (j) of the Village Council Act Revised Edition 2003: The Council is in charge of cleaning of unkempt and overgrown yards within the limits of the Village and for recovering the costs of doing same from the owners. Therefore, if the Council has to proceed with cleaning unkempt properties; we will be charging a fee of $1000 per lot. So we kindly ask, for the good and health of our community, that you kindly keep your properties cleaned. Placencia Pier and Promenade Restoration Project: The Placencia Dock has been in a state of dilapidation for quite some time now; it has always been considered by Villagers to be an eye sore. Villagers has always envisioned a dock area that would facilitate visitors and Villagers alike with public bathrooms; a nice sensible pier; a public dock which is tasteful and functional; a place where people can sit relax and meditate; a place to look across the water; a place that invites you...and in 2009 at a Public Meeting the Sustainable Tourism Program, BTB, Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture and the Placencia Village Council, heard the people of Placencia. The overall Sustainable Tourism Program is a nationwide effort incorporating a mix of physical development, planning and capacity building to strengthen the tourism sector’s contribution to the National economy by promoting Tourism growth in a manner which is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. The Placencia Pier and Plaza falls within the physical development component which will focus on 4 main centers: San Ignacio, Belize City, San Pedro and Placencia. The project financing for the Pier is to the tune of US1.2 Million which is provided by the Government of Belize through IDB – Inter American Development Bank loan of US$13.322 Million with counterpart funding from the BTB Belize Tourism Board, as part of the Sustainable Tourism Program. After two years of discussion and planning; I am very pleased to announce that on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 the Placencia Village Council along with the designated Management Committee, which is made up of The Placencia Village Council, Placencia BTIA Chapter, Placencia Tour Operators Association, Placencia Tour Guide Association and the Placencia Fisherman’s Co‐Op; met with the CEO in the Ministry of Tourism ‐ Mr. Lindsay Garbutt; BTB’s Southern Representative ‐ Mr. Brian Young Sr.; Project Director of STP ‐ Mr. Noel Jacobs and Tourism Environment Specialist for the STP – Ms. Terry Wright; where on behalf of the Placencia Village Council and the People of Placencia I proceeded to sign the Memorandum of Understanding/Framework Agreement between the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture and Belize Tourism Board; this step has now made it official for
the project to move forward where the next step will be for the Government of Belize to issue a public bid for a contractor for the project. Construction is expected to start in August or September of 2011 and construction period is estimated at 12 months. Sewage System for the Placencia Peninsula:
The communities of Placencia, Belize requested assistance from EWB to help us solve our wastewater system problem. EWB heard us and reviewed and approved our project; thus, in June 2006 the Engineers Without Borders ‐ Sacramento Valley Professional Chapter ‐ came to Belize and evaluated the problem and gathered data to prepared the Wastewater System Feasibility Study for the Placencia Peninsula. In their report the EWB noted our pristine white sandy beaches and its close proximity to the world's second biggest Barrier Reef which makes Placencia Peninsula a major tourist hub. With the three major communities that make up Placencia Peninsula which includes Placencia Village, Seine Bight, and Maya Beach; the peninsula is rapidly growing and with an increase in density comes an increase in waste generation. The thriving tourism industry is a big contributor to the Belizean economy. These economic benefits might prove detrimental to the fragile ecosystem of the Placencia lagoon if the development is unplanned. A uniform wastewater system currently does not exist on the peninsula and there is a growing concern for the health and safety of the people on the peninsula as well as the surrounding ecosystems. The existing wastewater treatment and disposal systems range from a package treatment plant at a resort to dumping buckets in the sea and lagoon at Seine Bight. The peninsula lacks the appropriate technology and collection system to properly treat and dispose of its wastewater. On October 12, 2010 the Department of Environment and Belize Water Services conducted a public consultation, where the details and intricacies of the construction and operation of a wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal system for the Placencia Peninsula, were discussed. On April 21, 2011, it was announced that The Government of Belize (GOB) and the Inter‐ American Development Bank (IDB) signed the Loan Contract in the amount of US$5.0 million (five million US dollars) for the financing of the project. The occasion was also used for signing a Technical Cooperation (TC) Agreement between the IDB and the Belize Water and Services, Ltd. (BWSL) in the sum of US$500,000 for the Detailed Design of a Wastewater Collection and Treatment System in Placencia. This non‐ reimbursable TC will support the loan agreement for the integrated waste water programme in Placencia. At this time I have not received information on when this project will commence, however I presume that it should be starting in the later part of 2011.
Potential Health Clinic for Placencia: This project is being considered for partial financing by SIF – Social Investment Fund – where a blue print of the building has already been drafted. Update: On May 11, 2011 I called the Social Investment Fund (SIF) Office in Belmopan; where I was patched through to Mr. Kevin Petzold ‐ Technical Unit Coordinator. Mr. Petzold informed me that the contemplation of the Health Clinic came to light when the resident Doctor requested and addition to the current Health Clinic just behind the primary school. It was investigated by members of SIF, PVC and Ministry of Health where it was concluded that it would not be viable to do an extension to the building due to its location. It was then noted that a track of Public Lands where available near the Placencia Airport where it has sufficient space for the Health Clinic. I was informed by Mr. Petzold that the reason the project was put on hold is due to the fact that the Ministry of Health did not think it was viable to do the project for they, the MoH, did not believe they could provide proper personal and equipment for the building, thus avoiding having a Health Clinic that is semi or non functional, due to these facts. At this point I believe the connections need to be re‐established and an alternative needs to be set forth in how we can accomplish the completion of the Health Clinic. This is due, in part and most important, that the Placencia Peninsula is experiencing rapid growth and the lack of a proper Health/Polyclinic has moved beyond a want and is now a necessity and we have seen several local residents lose their lives due to the lack of a proper Health Facility. The Chairman have met with a Mr. Ken Allan & Elizabeth Allan on March 14, who are a couple from the US and are considering donating $50,000.00US towards the Health Clinic, which is to be located at the Public Property near the Airport. They are contemplating giving the monies to Rotary Club of Placencia and have them be responsible for the disbursement of the money. Tourism Police Office: Since the release of PC Middleton as our Tourism Police we were informed that permanent replacements would come shortly after the Easter Weekend. At the time of this Press Release there has been no new Tourism Police Replacement. We would also like to give and official Thank You to Mr. Bob & Sharyn Findell who was kind enough to donate a small building which will be used for the official Tourism Police Office and living quarters. We also thank A & L Constructions in helping us with the relocation of this building. Mrs. Carla Gamboa – Deputy Tourism Police Unit – informed me that Mr. Andrew Longsworth – Coordinator Tourism Police Unit; is in the process of
establishing finances for the completion of the renovation of the Tourism Police Office Building. Update: Mr. Longsworth informed the Chairman that Tourism Police Units should be installed shortly.
Crimson Development: We were informed that the Account for the Crimson Development has been deactivated. We were informed by the Chairperson for the Lots Committee that Mr. Vega ‐ the Minister of Lands, is currently out of the country and will be returning in May of this year, where he will be meeting with the area Representative – Minister Hulse and the Lots Committee, and reassess the situation and move forward. Trash Receptacles: The Placencia Football Club – The Vikings; recently acquired 20 trash receptacles that was placed along the beach and sidewalk and other key points in the Village. The Council has helping with the materials to erect the trash receptacles. We would like to note that The Vikings did this as a community service project, which is very much appreciated by the Council and we kindly ask that you kindly lend your support in sponsoring their team. Garbage Truck: The Placencia Water Board & the Sanitation Company recently purchased a new trash truck, which was an investment $17,606.25. Finances were derived from Fundraisers and direct investment from the Water Board. This new truck should have an immediate impact on alleviating some of the garbage removal issues that have been plaguing us. Street Lighting: More lighting in and around the Village: a. We have recently pinpointed locations throughout the Village where lights need to be repaired. We have sent in a request via BEL and we should have repairs commencing starting in a week. b. We received a call from Mrs. Cordelia Foreman the RCDO (Rural Community Development Officer) of Stann Creek West, whom informed us that they are gathering information for the Government to find out what communities are in need of and we have informed her that we are desperately in need of more lighting in and around the Village, for safety and aesthetical reasons. c. We are waiting to hear back from Mrs. Foreman in the near future. d. We have also sent an official request to the Area Representative – Minister Hulse; for the installation of new lights these key locations in the Village. Replacement/Repair of current street lights: a. The Council recently sent in a request to BEL for the replacement and repair of non‐functional street lights around the Village. This should commence shortly.
Security/Police: We are aggressively trying to convince the Ministry of Police & Public Safety to appoint an Inspector for Placencia Village; this will help alleviate many of the issues we currently face. The Council is continuing working closely with the Police Department on many levels including financial support, which is derived from the generous contributions by local businesses and individuals. The People’s Coalition has also recently been formed; this committee has several functions among them is the advising of police through recommendations for and limited to: Crime prevention control, traffic management and law enforcement, needs of the community, general complaints and disciplinary matters (not with particular cases), community expectations and policing priorities, statistics on crime in police districts, reports on prompt and professional response/action of police, commendable actions by police/citizens etc.. If you are interested in joining or for more information kindly contact Steve Christensen. FUNDRAISERS>>> May Day Faire: The Council started the first May Day Faire in 2010 and due to its success; we are going to continue this faire in the hopes that it will someday be one of our biggest fundraiser and social interaction event for Villagers and especially children of all ages. Placencia Lobsterfest: We are in full preparation mode for this year’s Lobsterfest We are, once again, looking for volunteers. Kindly drop by the Village Council office if you are interested in contributing to your Village or call 523‐3396 or Contact Mrs. Lloydia Caballero at 625‐0675. For more information on what is happening this year please visit www.placencialobsterfest.com. DEVELOPMENTS IN AREA>>> Las Brisas: The Placencia Village Council has recently approved a development that will be taking place in the near future. If some may recollect, this project is the Las Brisas Project – it encompasses 3.913 acres of swamp land in the inner lagoon located just behind Placencia Village. There are several reasons why we decided to support this project: a. The entire situation was a bit of a paradox, for some in the community believed that we should try and fight to reserve as much of the lagoon as we can; unfortunately the GOB have long since issued Mr. Stothart title ownership of the property and we believe that this made it impossible for us to have stopped this project in any permanent way.
b. We made sure that we had direct input in every aspect of the project, sat and met with Department of Environment, Forestry Department, Lands Department etc. We believe all GOB Departments and Mr. Stothart – the Developer ‐ were very forthcoming with information and worked with us closely. c. Therefore, we decided that the most logical step was to make sure the project will be done properly, in an environmentally friendly way and also the Village will be benefitting from fill material, which there are plenty of areas in Placencia that can benefit from this, such as the low lying Hulse Property East of the Police Station. PENINSULA 20/20 INITIATIVE: I believe we are at a crossroads where we either figure out what we DO WANT or we may inadvertently be perceived as the destination that says NO to development; which is not a viable strategy. If the recent controversy over Cruise Tourism in Placencia has thought us one thing; it is this: there must be a better way to promote sustainable development than to merely react to every project that we are made aware of, on the Peninsula. It is critical that we start becoming proactive instead of reactive and figure out what we want instead of saying what we don’t want. This is the reason that the Placencia Village Council, Placencia BTIA Chapter, Tour Guide Association, Tour Operators Association, Placencia Co‐Op and the Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development have met and formed a Steering Committee where it is our goal to come up with a White Paper that will tell us what we do WANT. We have dubbed this very significant and very important initiative – Peninsula 20/20 Initiative. This project seeks to establish a broad consensus among the Peninsula residents on a wide range of issues. This will be a complex endeavor, one that looks at development in a broad sense: economic, social, environmental, cultural. One of the first steps was to hire a consultant to help establish a viable process by which a planning mechanism can be established that represents the entire community. The end result will be a document that will express a shared vision for the area’s future and not one of those reports that gathers dust on a shelf in Belmopan. We are seeking a guide ‐ a map ‐ a blueprint for the future. This will not only direct our efforts but will be disseminated to those outside of the peninsula who seek to influence events here; such as government ministries, tourism promoters, investors, aid and charitable groups etc. We want them to understand that the central focus and beneficiaries of development must be those who reside here. A footnote: The Peninsula 20/20 Project Steering Committee is headed by Mr. Stewart Krohn, Chairperson of the Placencia BTIA Chapter whom has acquired a grant via World Wildlife Fund to carry out and complete this initiative.
Placencia Village Council Press Release. Information on what is happening in the Placencia Village Community.