Sunday, June 16, 2024

SPTC takes responsibility for Sunset Boardwalk


It has been almost two years since the Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal Project was completed. The project was founded through a $6 million dollar loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which was granted to the Government of Belize. Even though the terminal was intended to become the site for visitors arriving to the island via boat, the facilities are not fully operational as originally planned, and to add to the issue, the facility is already showing signs of deterioration. The question is, who is responsible for the state of the terminal?48 Sunset Boardwalk-web
General Manager Christy Mastry, at Belize Infrastructure Limited, stated that when the project was handed over in 2013, the municipality (San Pedro) which received the project was provided with an operational manual and maintenance plan. The contractor met the requirements to execute the project and if the structures of the project are now showing signs of deterioration, the contractor’s responsibility for the construction has long expired. “There is a difference between a guarantee period for poor construction versus operational and maintenance. Well of course if there is a defect in the construction, the contractor will be responsible in addressing such problems. However, every general contractor gives a one year guarantee period, and in this case it is two years since it was handed over. So general maintenance of the project is the responsibility of the receiver, which in this case, will be the local municipality,” said Mastry.Sunset Boardwalk-1
According to Mayor Daniel Guerrero since they are now in charge of the Sunset Boardwalk they will start addressing the issues affecting the facilities. “We will have to hire someone to be in charge of that area. I managed to inspect the area and notice its conditions, especially the walkway which is beginning to cave in. The Town Board is dealing with a lot of problems, but we are doing our share. One of the first things we will do at the Sunset Boardwalk is the building of jetties from which we will collect fees in order to be able to pump more funds for the maintenance of the Sunset Boardwalk,” said Guerrero. He admitted that the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) has not put an emphasis on the project; however that will change as of this new year. “We will focus on the Sunset Boardwalk and stay put with the maintenance, even though it has been functional, we want to do things differently and well administered with more regulations for everyone,” stated Guerrero. He added the project has been criticized since it was not built as promised due to changes while it was being constructed. However, the SPTC had no involvement in its construction and has inherited the project with said problems.Sunset Boardwalk-3
Guerrero pointed out the issues with the bathrooms and docking facilities of the terminal, and the many repairs the facility needs. “We will start to work on fixing what needs to be fixed as the facilities are deteriorating fast. I would say it is due to poor construction, but you have to realize that it was also an area reclaimed when the construction started, and now you have the constant setting: there is a setting happening onsite due to the fact that when they were building it, the proper material was not used for the filling and that’s why everything is settling in and going down, causing the caving in of the walkways,” ended Guerrero. He indicated that the terminal will be put to good use this year by maintaining it and putting extra work on the Sunset Boardwalk. He reiterated that the Town Board’s responsibility is to maintain it and ensure it is fully functional.
Given that the project was IDB funded, the SPTC expects payments to be made by the Central Government through their revenue collection.Sunset Boardwalk Inauguration-1
When the facility is fully operational, which is expected to happen sometime this year, there will be spaces for rent in the terminal for businesses and it will be equipped with an atmosphere of leisure and relaxation. However, when it comes to the dredging for the navigation of bigger boats, according to Guerrero, it will be done by the Port Authority and the Belize Tourism Board. The dredging is expected to start anytime soon, as the relocation of all boats that currently operate in front of the island, must move to the lagoon side of town.

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