On behalf of our City's 80,000 plus friendly Belize City residents, I invite you to visit our picturesque and historical City located on the east coast of the country overlooking the enchanting Caribbean Sea. Home to a multicultural society, Belize City is the country's commercial capital and gateway to fascinating historical and cultural attractions.
On the North Side, visit Fort Street Tourism Village , the Museum of Belize, formerly Her Majesty's Prison, a colonial prison built in 1857, which now displays exhibits of ancient Maya pottery and Belize City's history, Baron Bliss Lighthouse Monument, dedicated to Belize's greatest benefactor, Baron Bliss, the 5th baron of Portugal, Belizean Handicraft Market Place, which sells high-quality Belizean crafts and the National Archives and City Library, which showcase Belizean history and literature.
Next, cross over to the South Side of Belize City using Belize's Swing Bridge, the world's only manual swing bridge, still swung weekly.
On the South Side, shop at the Commercial Center and at the numerous stores lining downtown Belize City. Visit Supreme Court Building, built in 1926 in a classic British colonial style with dome topped clock tower, then head over to the Bliss Institute of Performing Arts, which houses a wide collection of Belizean artwork and offers live theatre, dance, and music performances, Belize Creole Museum and Gallery, exhibit- ing a traditional Creole family setting with century-old artifacts of a bygone era. Next move over to St. John's Cathedral, the oldest Anglican Cathedral Church in Central America built in 1812, then to the House of Culture Museum (formerly Government House) built in 1814, and which served as residence to Belize's governors, and the Yarborough Cemetery, which houses gravestones outlining the turbulent history of Belize since 1781
Affordable tours are available for detail history of the City and for information regarding the many places to enjoy mouthwatering local dishes, like our Creole style rice and beans, chicken and salad dish.
I look forward to your visit to our unique Caribbean and Central American City nestled amidst nature's exotic tropical climate and relaxing blue sea.
Mayor of Belize City
Belize City, home to over 80,000 people, and destination centre for many thousands of foreign visitors, has, for the past few decades, felt enormous strain by the population dynamics which has seen an approximate population increase of 67 percent between 1980 to 2009 (Data received from the Statistical Institute of Belize), and secondly by the growing concern of Climate Change impacts on the city. These two forces are creating an important strain on the City Council and on the other city authorities responsible for the day to day management and oversight of Belize City. The overwhelming impacts, as a result of these two forces, on the city's infrastructure and services offered are now creating instances of contention against the ability for its citizens and visitors to enjoy a sustainable quality of life, and to conserve and better the appreciation of the city's historic past and heritage.
The Belize City Master Plan Project, a Technical Cooperation between the Government of Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank, set out in the September 2010, to answer these questions:
What type of City do we want to live in, in the next 20 to 30 years?
What do we need to do to get there?
Now, is the time to answer these questions, especially with complimentary projects already on the way such as the RESTORE Belize Program, the Horizon 2030 Vision, and the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project, amongst others.
In March 2011, the Belize City Master Plan Project officially completed its first phase of the project
the Situational Analysis, of which its final product, the Second Report, can be viewed in the Library Section of this page.
As a result, the team now moves on to its Second Phase: Development of the Master Plan Project, along with five (5) Investment Project Ideas. At the same time, preliminary data collection is being done at present in anticipation of the third phase of the project: Development of the Heritage Trust and Database, by an enthused and highly skilled team of students from the Architecture and Engineering Faculty of the University of Belize.
As the next two months pass, the project team will be engaging into further consultations with business stakeholders, but also, with the assistance of the Belize City Council, will carry out a minimum of two large community consultations in Belize City. This will have the objective to inform and ask the citizens of Belize City their input into the 20 year vision and priority projects the project team will be developing. The project is also finalizing talks with the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences of the University of Belize, for an opportunity for some of its students to assist as volunteers with the specific task of carrying out urban surveys in Belize City, alongside the Project Team.
Project Update (June 2011)
- Project Milestones>
The project has hit many milestones in the past months of 2011, as follows:
- Completion of Component 1 in March-April2011.
- Consultation on work done and garnering support of work done and Development Scenario for Belize City, from key Ministries (Works, Ministry of Natural Resources (Lands), Ministry of Local Government, Prime Minister’s Office etc.), Steering Committee, Belize City Council and other stakeholders.
- Participation on Local Radio Stations to inform the public of the project.
- Realization of Heritage Building Survey and Urban Inventory Survey
- Project Components
- Component 1- Situational Analysis (DONE)
- Component 2- Urban Development Plan (In Process)
- Component 3- Heritage Trust and Database (In Process)
- Component 4- Institutional Strengthening (In Process)
- Specific Components
- Situational Analysis- Completed in March 2011 (approved by IDB, see Second Report)
- Urban Development Plan- This entails two large sections (Macro Development Scenario; Downtown Revitalization Plan). The Recommended Macro Development Scenario, will be taken to City Council Executive and Project Steering Committee for support the week of June 20th. The recommended scenario (see Development Scenario Document) calls for an expansion of the functional (not administrative) boundaries of Belize City in the next 20 years (that is all the way to 8 Miles Community in the South West and Ladyville/Lord’s Bank in the North West) as its character is evolving as a metropolitan area, and will call for coordination amongst the three communities (Belize City, 8 Miles, and Ladyville/Lord’s Bank). The Downtown Revitalization plan initially cited key project areas within the downtown area (by the swing bridge, Southern Foreshore, Port, Collet Canal, Civic Center and alongside the River). However, due to resource constraints, the Project Team, through advice from IDB, selected Collet Canal (Including works on the Bus Terminal, Vegetable Market, Fish Market and the Canal side) as the Project Area to carry to Pre-feasibility study level, in the interest of revitalizing the downtown area. Currently, the Project Team is working on the design and Prefeasibility Study for Collet Canal, and recommended concepts for the remainder of Project Areas.
- Heritage Trust and Database- In early 2011, the Local Project Team carried out a survey of Heritage buildings in a selected area of Belize City (Caribbean Sea to Collet Canal). This survey resulted with over 700 buildings that could warrant protection on the basis of architectural or historical value. With this raw data, the Project Team development a preliminary database, which is now waiting to be translated into its final format. The Project Team held a stakeholder consultation to review the structure, objectives and overall goals of the Heritage Trust. From this resulted a draft Heritage Trust structure, which through advice from the stakeholders should not be a complete government entity, but instead either a Limited Liability Company or a NGO. The latter, is being favored. This structure is being reviewed.
- Institutional Strengthening- The Consultant responsible for this is working on two separate levels: 1) Institutional Strategy for implementation of Master Plan; 2) Heritage Trust Business Plan.
- Project Components:
- Component 1- Situational Analysis (Done- March 2011, see Second Report and Development Scenarios Document)
- Component 2- Urban Development Plan (Master Plan)- First Draft scheduled to be submitted by June 30th, 2011, Final Document expected August 31st, 2011. Component 3- Heritage Trust and Heritage Database- Completed August 31st 2011
- Component 4- Institutional Strengthening- Same as Master Plan, in form of implementation strategies for both the Master Plan and Heritage Trust.
Keep tuned in to this webpage, for a new update in September 2011...
Project Liaison Officer
Belize City Master Plan Project
Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture
Belize City remains as the economic and transportation hub, and the urban centre of the country of Belize, signifying that it serves as a vital link between the world and the nation. It is the heart of Belize. However, frequently another core value of the city is being forgotten, Belize City, the centre of the country's colonial past, a physical space that tells the story as to how the country of Belize began and how and where it is now.
Without a doubt, Belize City, cannot just be left to the uncertainties that the future promises, it needs a direction, a vessel to take it where it would like to go. And that is the challenge that will traverse the intellectual expertise of the project consultants (PADECO), but more importantly, a challenge that is placed to all citizens of Belize City....where should Belize City go? Into what must it grow? How will it achieve this?
The project has been divided into four functional components (see to the right) that by August 2011 allow the consultants to deliver the final products of this one year project, these are:
1) MASTER PLAN DOCUMENT
To develop a Macro-development Plan for Belize City Proper; and to develop a Revitalization Plan for Downtown Belize City (Central American Boulevard to the Caribbean Sea)
2) HERITAGE TRUST (be established under the National Institute of Culture and History)
To protect, conserve, and manage Heritage Assets
3) INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING
To Develop an Action Plan, that will give the Belize City Council the legal mandate and capability to implement the recommendations of the Master Plan and to develop more efficient mechanism of governance, that will allow the City Council to deal with future challenges.
Master Plan Documents
The execution of the Belize City Master Plan Project is being coordi- nated by a joint effort between the Belize City Council and the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture. The Project also has established an Advisory Committee, made of 8 stakeholder representatives that give guidance to the consultants of the Project. To contact or togive comment on the project, please contact:
Belize City Master Plan Project
Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture
106 South Street, Belize City
Have a Complaint or Commentsection of the website:
......WE ASK ALL BELIZEANS TO CHALLENGE THEIR IMAGINATION AND USE THEIR FOND MEMORIES OF THE PAST TO FIND A VISION, A DIRECTION FOR BELIZE CITY..... A CITY THAT THE FUTURE CAN SHED PROSPERITY ON......