By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist
Mayor Darrell Bradley stated this week that the renovations planned for the Yarborough area are in line with plans to build a cruise port in the area as outlined by the Belize City Master Plan.
In an exclusive sit-down with the Reporter, Bradley said while the renovation project isn’t a pre-empting of Ashcroft’s project, the two are indirectly related because the Master Plan that was done years ago, and later adopted by CitCo, foresaw the need for a city cruise ship port.
“I will make this point resounding…the Master Plan which was done six years ago mentioned an onshore port facility in exactly the same place it is,” he said. He added though that he has had no discussions with anyone, related to the proposed cruise facility at the Port of Belize.
According to Bradley, the Master Plan suggested the need for a cruise port along with a walking pedestrian plaza that leads to the down town area.
And while he is cognizant that the timing of the renovation project, just weeks after talks of a cruise port proposed by the Michael Ashcroft group seems connected, plans were already in place.
“The reason that it looks like it’s coming together, is because it is coming together – because this was something that was foretold many years ago,” he said.
Bradley said the objective of the renovation project isto uplift the area through a series of infrastructural upgrades, rehabilitation of historical sites and renovation of architectually significant structures.
He said Yarborough was chosen for development is because of its historic significance and the vibrancy of the community surrounding it.
The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) is already spearheading urban development projects in the adjacent area and pairing the two, would result in greater economic benefits, he explained.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has offered of a US $1 million grant for the intervention. Renovations will cover the area from the Isiah Mortar plaza to the East and West Collet Canal bridge and adjacent communities.
The American Planning Association is carrying out the design phase, which is being drafted in consultation with the community.