Environmental Threats
and Challenges

Ara MacaoIt sometimes seems that the Placencia Peninsula has turned into one big site plan.

Site plans for new resorts, residential subdivisions, condos (lots and lots of condos), dockominiums, airports, roads and time shares.

Sometimes the developments come complete with Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) that need to be reviewed, sometimes with an LLES (Limited Liability Environmental Study) that also needs to be reviewed, and sometimes with nothing at all (even sometimes when the law requires an EIA or LLES, such as happened with the Peninsula Club and Crimson Park).

In 2006, Placencia had 114 hotels, with 749 units, 1005 bedrooms and 1,450 beds.  Three years later, we have 13 more approved hotels adding 1,696 units, 3,388 bedrooms and 5,088 beds, for a total of 127 built and approved hotels, with 2,445 units, 4,393 bedrooms and 6,538 beds - a four-fold increase in bedrooms in just three years!

DredgingYet, the Belize Department of the Environment (DOE)claims not to know how many hotels rooms it has approved for the Peninsula.  We even have one letter on file from DOE that refers us to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) for this information -- unfortunately, the BTB doesn't know about hotels until they're completed and have applied for licensing.  Further, we discovered when doing our own research on existing hotel rooms on the Peninsula that BTB sometimes counts rooms, sometimes units - often counting each unit as one room, even if that unit is a 3-bedroom hotel suite.

Proposed Grand Reef CondosWe have suggested a comprehensive plan for the Peninsula - government claims not to have the money -- or they're just not interested in killing the goose that laid their gold eggs.

We're hoping that the tourism master plan mandated as a part of an Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) loan will produce some sort of legally binding planning document.  The IADB is supposed to start consultations on this plan early in 2010 (now come and gone and still no plan) - this can't be done soon enough - we just hope it's not too late by the time one is produced and passed by the legislature (assuming that happens).

The Placencia chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) has also started a master plan process with help from the national BTIA, plus a survey of members so that a local BTIA vision of what the Peninsula tourism product should be should start by March 2010.

In the meantime, PCSD members keep reviewing the EIAs and LLES's, sending in written comments to DOE, informing the public about development and other issues through Roots and Reef, attending public consultations (where the only information ever presented is by the developer's consultant), holding public meetings, writing letters to the editor and sending out media releases.

Peninsula ClubThe pages in this section of our Website provide the information we have on new developments since 2006 - approved and built, not yet approved (not one development proposal has ever been turned down for the Peninsula) and approved but not yet built.

Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development

General Delivery
Placencia, Belize