State of the Art Pier at Placencia Point Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00

The Pier at PlacenciaResidents of Placencia Village are very impressed with the new look of the most popular part of the peninsula, “Pint”. The last three Placencia Village Chairmen were present at Placencia Point on Thursday, September 5th, to officially inaugurate the new and improved pier and plaza that was constructed as part of the Sustainable Tourism Program.

Ilsa Villanueva, Chairlady of Placencia, said she remembers the consultations very well. She said, “It was poorly attended- there were no more than eight people in the room.” However, Villanueva said the people in the room were passionate about the development of the village and shared multiple ideas with the officials from the Belize Tourism Board and the Sustainable Tourism Program. Charles Leslie Jr. was Chairman at the time of the discussions. He said, “We were well informed about the Sustainable Tourism Program and we did our best to make sure that Placencia got a fair piece of the pie.” Brian Yearwood was Chairman during the years the project was being drafted and in the early months of construction. He said it was an honour to be a part of such an important project for the people of Placencia and said, “I hope that we would share ownership of this pier with the residents of Seine Byte and other villages as well.” Villanueva said, “The new pier will revitalize the area that was once the heart of the village.” She continued, “The point is a place for leisure and income generation.”

Hon. Manuel Herredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Culture, said, “This pier benefits stakeholders of the tourism industry as well as members of the Placencia Fishermen Cooperatives.” He says the village will not only benefit from the use of the pier and plaza itself but also from the investments that will be made in the area as a result of “the presence of a first class docking facility”. Minister Herredia says, “I know that a complex is already being built close to this pier where spaces will be rented for dive shops and other tour operations.” Christy Mastry, Director of the Sustainable Tourism Program, says the pier is 250 feet long and can house up to 20 large boats at a time- those 30 to 40 feet long. It also has space for smaller boats, 15 to 18 feet, but they will be better served by docking at an area a little more down the beach fit for smaller boats. The pier also includes rental spaces for small shops. Mastry says the project also included the upgrading of the sidewalk that extends a half a mile from Point into the village. Construction took 16 months to complete and the total cost of the project is a little more than $2.5 million. It was financed under the Sustainable Tourism Program made possible through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.  Sybille Nuenninghoff, IDB Representative, said at the inauguration, “The team of people from IDB, BTB and STP did all they could; now it’s up to the people of Placencia to use this facility wisely.”   

The pier seems ideal for cruise tourists visiting the peninsula from Harvest Caye. Though he is not a supporter of mass tourism in Southern Belize, Minister Herredia stressed to Placencia stakeholders that cruise tourism shouldn’t be totally taken off the table. He said, “Just as fishing which is the oldest industry of the village, tourism as a new sector needs support in its early stages. We should keep an open mind and start a conversation about the merits and demerits of cruise tourism.” He continued, “While the hotel owners have expressed concerns, Government has a responsibility to seek development opportunities for all residents of the area.” Minister Herredia and representatives from the Belize Tourism Board will be holding consultations with residents of Placencia Village and other destinations in the South to discuss cruise tourism in Southern Belize.