Locals affected by illegal Barton Creek dam

The Barton Creek is a popular tourist destination, and while the rise in water levels near the Barton Creek outpost is not directly affecting tourists, it does affect the locals who live down the river. The locals of 7 miles have used the water from the creek their entire lives, using it for washing, fishing, swimming and doing other recreational activities.

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Emanuel Pech – Plus News

“How familiar are you with that river, and how often do you visit it?”

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vlcsnap-2015-02-07-09h50m41s139Edwin Neal – Resident of 7 miles

“We’ve been visiting that river all the weekends when we were living in 7 miles.  While we were down there living, we fish at night.  We paddled on canoes.  This time all of that has come to an end, ’cause they’re changing everything.

Now today, there is a dam that wasn’t there.

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Emanuel Pech

“How long ago did you notice the changes, and how long ago did you notice that the dam had been built?”

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Edwin Neal

“When Jim and Jacquelyn were there, I visited the campsite often, had drinks and food, and I swam there, and there wasn’t any dam there, and that was recent.

I know for a fact the Penner boys built the wheel, but no dam. That dam has recently been built.”

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We also spoke to another local who claims to have been one of the persons employed by Mr Anderson last year to work on the construction of the Dam. He chose to remain anonymous for this interview.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-07-10h18m33s123Former worker of Ian Anderson

“I was a resident of 7 miles for the past nine years.  During the dry season we used to go down to Barton Creek to have a swim down by Outpost, by Jim and Jacquelyn.  My wife used to work there also.

We usually swim down the creek, and we go fishing. We used to fish the river shrimps, and there was no dam there.

I used to work with Ian last year.  We helped finish the dam there, by maybe late November, late December of last year.  Whatever he said about some Mennonites, that they build the dam, that dam was not there. 

Actually he covered a piece of the river.  There was a little island there.  He covered a piece of the river so that all the water go towards his dam.  The Mennonites used to bathe around the next side of the creek where they had a deeper pond, and there’s no pond there anymore.”

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Emanuel Pech

“So you were employed by Anderson to work at the dam?”

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vlcsnap-2015-02-07-10h27m45s31Former worker of Ian Anderson

“Yes.  I was working there last year with him.”

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He claims he started working on the dam in mid November but a friend of his started working on the dam from the onset.

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Former worker of Ian Anderson

“He started working there before me.  So he knows who worked there and who didn’t. 

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Emanuel Pech

“When specifically did it start?”

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Former worker of Ian Anderson

“[It started] like around June of last year. 

I think that that dam doesn’t belong there, because we don’t have no more access to the creek.  Actually that’s a private place now. 

When Jim and Jacquelyn used to run it everybody had access to go there, eat nachos, eat pizza, swim in the swimming pool, and now we don’t have that access.”

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Edwin Neal

“I would  strongly like to voice out my opinion, that it is wrong what they are doing.  The creek is no longer open for the Belizeans.  In my opinion, it seems like it’s their private creek, ’cause why are they doing what they want? 

The creek is blocked.  There’s no safety for children or people to swim in it anymore.  I don’t know if they would be allowed to swim in it anymore, ’cause as soon as you go around the creek or the dam they have security there.  It seems like it’s a private creek.”

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The men made an official statement at the Department Of the Environment on Thursday. On Friday an officer from the Department of the Environment informed us that they will be meeting other residents in the area early next week.

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