Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project changes the face of Northside Belize City

Nearly five years ago, the Ministry of Works began a project in the aftermath of the soaking Belize City took from Tropical Depression 16. As its name suggests, the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project is not designed to end flooding, only to lessen it and its impact on the Old Capital’s residents. However, 20 million dollars has been spent on multiple instalments on Northside Belize City, from Cinderella Plaza and Calle Al Mar, to the redone Northside Canal cutting in from the sea to Haulover Creek, Belama Phases 1 to 4 and across the Philip Goldson Highway. The result is a network of canals and drainage systems that are intended to keep flooding away from homes and vulnerable areas and to allow inundated areas to dry out faster. Today the Ministry led the press in a tour of the various worksites. We spoke to Fernando Chan, the project’s manager. In a classic case of “progress brings problems,” residents of Belama Phase 4, the newest section of the City which sprouted from swamp a few years ago, are feeling inconveniences from the ongoing Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project, which is working in their area to install proper drainage and sidewalks, mainly along Albert Hoy Avenue. The good news tonight is that those works are soon to come to an end. City Councillor Philip Willoughby is asking residents to hold on just a little longer.  We hear more about the plans from the project technical specialist Jose Divas. Meanwhile, it appears the Council is trying to get Central Government to pay for and finish up the concreting works on portions of Baymen Avenue and Kelly Street adjacent to Cinderella Plaza, even though Councilor Philip Willoughby today conceded that the Council is supposed to be responsible. While he could not offer a reason why the change of face, Willoughby said he will use his influence on the project’s steering committee to get those incomplete streets completed.  Initial word from project manager Fernando Chan is that following a review of the “uncommitted monies” for the project, it appears there may not be enough to satisfy City Hall’s wishes. A risk assessment study for Belize City as well as a dredging study for the Belize River and Haulover Creek are expected to be more heavily funded. The Ministry estimates that the finishing of the streets would cost about 525 thousand dollars. The main civil works are to be completed by later this year.vlcsnap-2016-02-17-11h20m34s732vlcsnap-2016-02-17-11h20m41s844

About the Author