Department of Environment continues to investigate illegal dam

In the December of last year, we reported about a dam that was built on the Barton Creek less than a mile downstream from the entrance of the Barton Creek Cave, an archaeological site protected by NICH. The Department of the Environment confirmed that they had not authorized the construction of the dam, and have since launched an investigation to determine the person responsible for the construction of the dam.

vlcsnap-2015-02-07-08h21m49s199The Dam sits on a section of the river that runs adjacent to a property leased by one Ian Anderson. But according to Mr Anderson, the dam structure was already there before he leased the property, and he only made minor modifications to the powerhouse.

However,  according to Karina Tyler, the neighbour of Ian Anderson, that is not the case.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-07-08h10m35s100Karina Tyler – Resident of Upper Barton Creek

“I know that on Facebook and in other areas Ian Anderson has made a comment that he refurbished an old standing dam that the Mennonites had build years ago.  That is absolutely untrue. 

There are many people who swim there.  That dam has never been there.  That waterwheel has never been there.  I’ve been there twelve years almost now. 

I even went and I spoke to one of the Mennonites, and I asked them if they built that dam, and he said absolutely not. 

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Emanuel Pech – Plus News

“Have you spoken to the previous owner?”

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Karina Tyler

“That’s odd, because I think the previous owner on paper is still the owner.  Her name is Sharon something, but she had a family there for many years by the name of Jim and Jacquelyn  Britt.  Jim and Jacquelyn had a camping site there.  They did backpackers and other things.

They’ve left the country, so I’ve not spoken to them.  But I do know as a fact that the dam was not there when they left either, because I did spend several days on that piece of property after the Britts left and Mr Anderson had purchased it. 

[There was] an employee that he had, [and] we walked the land a lot.  We  talked.  I brought over some vegetables for him and the dam was not there.”

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Jim and Jacquelyn Britt is a couple from Nashville Tennessee who lived in Belize from 2004 to 2013 in the same property now occupied by Ian Anderson.

Carl Churan, an American geographer by trade, says he has been in and out of Belize over the past 15 years and claims to be a personal friend of the Britt’s.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-07-09h19m26s210Carl Churan

“Jim and Jacquelyn Britt ran a restaurant on the creek that overlooked a big swimming hole, so we would always regularly swim, eat pizza, right there on the creek.  This dam is directly below the old restaurant that they had on the creek, within simple eyesight, and we would swim regularly all day long in that area.”

Emanuel Pech

“And there was no dam.”

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Carl Churan

“Absolutely not. 

 

Emanuel Pech

“When was the last time you swam there, when the dam was not?”

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Carl Churan

“I got sick in the creek by swimming in it, so I would say at least two years.  I myself was physically out of the country.

It was pretty much a natural river, no dam, no powerhouse.  I returned three months ago.  I actually went yesterday and looked for the first time, and there is a distinct powerhouse, dam, and whole construction and earth moving of the river that was not there when I left over a year ago.”

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We made a quick search on the internet for Barton Creek outpost San Ignacio and came a across a number of images  showing the old flow of the River.

vlcsnap-2015-02-07-09h41m39s185vlcsnap-2015-02-07-09h42m54s206The images you are seeing now were uploaded to the internet sometime between 2010 and 2012 . We can’t tell you exactly when they were taken, however one quick look will tell you there is no dam present in those images.

Now looking at some of the images from our trip to Barton Creek in December last year, you will notice a distinct difference in the water levels. Also notable is that a large rock formation on the left hand side of the river going down stream is no longer there. The department of the Environment continues to investigate the dam at Barton Creek and have engaged other Government Departments in the investigation.

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