An added vision for Phase 4 area
Permit sought for man-made beach
to serve hotel guests in Phase 4
When snowbirds begin returning in October, there will be less construction noise and dust coming from the heavy equipment that has carved new canals into the Phase 4 landscape. Most of the infrastructure will have been completed, reports developer Arq. Roman Rivera Torres, save for solar street lighting that will be installed along with utilities as “required by occupancy”
As of May, 58 of the roughly 140 lots comprising Phase 4 – all of them with canal front – were sold, he said, and four residences were either completed or under construction. Bikers and walkers who have been enjoying the Phase 4 roadways throughout the construction and extensive landscaping period will notice the improvements as final touches to water, sewer and electrical infrastructure will have been essentially completed and ready for connection to residences as they are being built. The aura of “evolving community” will be more apparent.
Rivera, who was recently invited to go to Madrid, Spain, by the ambassador, said he was encouraged by the incredible amount of investment being targeted from there to the Riviera Maya, including ejido lands in Tulum, the north end of Cozumel and in Akumal, where hotels are already rising up along Turtle Bay, transforming what was heralded not so long ago as a sleepy, free-range fishing village into a potentially robust tourist mecca and fish sanctuary.
Area ripe for investment
Supporting Rivera’s positive outlook was the announcement by the Association of Real Estate Developers that Quintana Roo will attract many millions more in development by 2018, placing the state among the top five development havens in the country, surpassed only by the Federal District (Mexico City), Jalisco, State of Mexico and Nayarit that altogether should attract $18 billion in development.
Already, a comprehensive community with hotels, homes, condos and shopping mall is slowly evolving in the Mayakoba area off Route 307 across from the golf course of the same name just north of Playa del Carmen. Expected projects nationwide include tourism development such as a planned City Express hotel in Tulum and a new private, $1.6 million USD protected beach development planned for the rocky shore of the Puerto Aventuras Phase 4 project between the Barcelo Hotel and the Caleta Chac Hal Al.
New beach added to Phase 4
PA developer Rivera has filed for permits for that project in an effort to provide a man-made sandy beach protected by a 376-meter long (411yards) barrier reef for the use of guests of planned hotels in that area. While it borders the caleta, the private beach will not interfere with the caleta’s use by residents of the general Puerto Aventuras resort community, Rivera said. “I am doing there what I did for the Hard Rock Hotel next door,” he said, somewhat like the beach in the photo above where sand has supplanted a rocky shore.
The beach is planned to replace the stoned shore along two hotel lots on the Caribbean shore to lure investment and development of the area. “The construction of beach and protected area provides an incentive for investors to buy and build,” Rivera said. “While permits are in process, we try to sell with the commitment of doing it. The work should begin in September and be done by April.”
Will use caleta, canal sand
People who use the caleta consistently for swimming and snorkeling have noticed an increase in natural developments that have carpeted the caleta bottom. It has reached the point where, at low tide, water barely reaches the waist of an average-sized person.
Rivera said some of the sand that will be needed to create the protected hotel beach will be pumped from the caleta and from heavy sand deposits in the area of the south channel. He said there is enough sand in those areas to create the new beach and to replenish the Omni Beach when permits and funding for the Omni project are in hand at some point in the future. Funding for the Omni project will be accumulated from building fees in Phase 4 as homes are built and the fees are collected by the Colonos.
Rivera said, as long rumored, that a Russian investor had placed a down payment on the property but then “disappeared about a year ago. We have a couple of options today for one single hotel. The land allows 590 keys and consists of 38,000 m2.” he said.
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Wounded Warriors land fish
in 11th successful PA tourney
Capt. Rick’s Sportsfishing of Puerto Aventuras teamed up with the Dave Harris Memorial Billfish Tourney last month, their 11th season together, and again invited Wounded Warriors from the USA to participate in what turned out to be quite a catch.
The winning team, fishing from the Reel Screamer captained by “Rambo”, landed two white marlin, three sailfish and four dorado, also known as Mahi Mahi, meaning “very strong” in Hawaiian.
“The tournament is very excited to share this incredible experience with these soldiers who have sacrificed so much for world peace.” said tournament spokesman Don Harris.
Purple Heart recipients participating this year included Justin Gaertner who lost both legs in Afghanistan; Raymond Kusch, who lost his left leg and suffered other major injuries when stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) ; Mark Broda, who suffered multiple shrapnel wounds when a truck bomb detonated in Saudi Arabia; Aaron Estes, suffered life-threatening injuries over most of his body when stepping on an IED in Afghanistan and spent three years in rehabilitation; Tyson Scott, injured seriously by a mortar explosion; Adam Kiselewski, who lost his left arm and right leg to an IED in Iraq; Brett Bondurant, who lost both legs and suffered fractures to his left arm, both hands and pelvis in Afghanistan from an IED. The eighth warrior asked for anonymity.
Florida ferry line says Yucatan
service just few months away
United Caribbean Line lands Cuba permit
The ferry line United Caribbean that has been trying to link Florida to the Yucatan was among four shipping lines to receive U.S. permits for ferry service to Cuba as the increasing diplomatic ties with the island nation 90 miles south of Florida continue. More to the point, the ferry service, in a press release, also said a link between Florida and the Yucatan should be established within several months. Here is the press release signed by United’s president Bruce Nierenberg and board chairman Alexander P. Panagopulos:
” United Caribbean Lines is pleased to announce that we have been selected by the US government to be amongst the very first to operate ferry services between the US and Cuba by the U. S. Department of the Treasury.UCL will serve Cuba and the US, reuniting its proud peoples with a service that will only bring immediate prosperity to Cuba, Florida and the region. We aim to deliver only the highest quality services, become the first choice in sea travel and transportation and always delivering more than we promise.
“Plans call for ferry services from several of the main ports in Florida, such as Miami, Tampa, Port Everglades, and Key West, using modern overnight ferry vessels designed for international service. Our final sailing schedules, first voyage dates, and ship details will be issued after completing arrangements with Cuban authorities.Of course, United Caribbean Lines will operate its daily passenger ferry service within the guidelines of the current US regulations for all travel to Cuba.
“We are thrilled that United Caribbean Lines is going to participate in this historic event and will continue to keep you apprised of new developments.We expect to have itineraries, schedules, and starting dates for the ferry service available on the website in the coming weeks. UCL is also working hard to complete its plans for ferry service between Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula in the next few months.”
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Donors, Red Cross reach deal
to reopen local PA facilities
Ambulance, clinic services may resume June 1
After five months of fund-raising and negotiating, the Colonos and other donors have raised sufficient pledges of monthly donations from various local enterprises to elicit a response from the Red Cross. The agency now says it will to re-open the Poblado clinic with ambulance service perhaps by June 1. The clinic remains at the site of the former police station on Calle Vivero, the Main Road into the Poblado.
Red Cross representatives met with Colonos board Chairman Jorge Kaufer and GM Armando Rincon last week in the Colonos office to cement an understanding that led to the pending re-opening. From the Red Cross were Andres Bahnsen, president of the RC Playa del Carmen, CP Teresa Jiminez, treasurer, and Horatio Trinidad, director, who agreed to the re-opening when informed that commitments totaling $50,625 pesos ($3,325 USD) monthly have been received.
Donors include the Colonos, $10,000 (pesos) via GM Armando Rincon; Dolphin Discovery, $5,000 via Mgr. Guillermo Lobo; Hard Rock Hotel, $16,000 via Mgr. Rene Malacara; the Catalonia Hotels, $10,000 total via Mgr. Silvia Ortega; Hotel Omni, $3,000 via Mgr. Hector Pavon; Cafeteria Bamboo, $200, Puerto Aventuras Info, $200, and Dive Aventuras, $500, all three via Nils Van der Haar; Aquanauts, $100, via Nicolas and Jim; Fat Cat, $625 via Anthony Heckendorn; PA Fideicomiso, $5,000 via Roman Rivera Torres and Fishing Charters, $200, via Walter Meade.
The Red Cross closed the Puerto Aventuras operation last December without notice. The action was in response to financial difficulties arising from the opening of a major new facility in Playa del Carmen to service that city’s 150,000-plus population. When it became known the closure might likely be permanent, PA resort residents Tim Howard and Martin Wohnlich visited RC officials in Playa del Carmen to learn what it might take to reopen the PA facility.
At about the same time, a boat fire in the PA resort that badly burned a crewman added incentive to reopen the facility here when it took an ambulance some 30 to 35 minutes to arrive as residents of the Puerto Aventuras Club tended to the fire victim under strained circumstances. Initial estimates on how much would be needed to reopen the RC facility were reached and fund-raising quickly proceeded among some donors in the resort community. Various strategies were discussed for long-term financial support in a dedicated account.
Original estimates of cost were later deemed inadequate by the Red Cross, and on two occasions planned re-openings were postponed. As snowbirds began their flights north, Colonos GM Rincon was left with the task of rounding up more local donors and negotiating with the Red Cross. He received initial enthusiastic support from Hard Rock Hotel GM Malacara, a PA resident who also hosted several meetings to reach a new cost goal of 50,000 pesos monthly.
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From the Colonos…
Street work starts at Catalonia;
gate pass renewals announced
Smooth bicycle lane part of new surface
Reconstruction of a portion of major roadway in front of the Catalonia Hotels and the annual replacement of main gate resident passes have been announced by the Colonos.
Work began on Bahia Xcacel last week removing the brick surface from the Kantenha and Bahia Xaac triangles fronting Catalonia’s Alegria Spa on the north to the marina boat ramp on the south. Drivers who need to use that section of roadway were reminded there will be only a one-way lane open to vehicles during the reconstruction period, which is expected to last several weeks.
Responding to a public request, the Colonos board and GM Armando Rincon have included a smooth bicycle strip along the new road surface similar to the bike paths edging the roadways in Phase 4. Those bike strips have pleased local bikers who enjoy the outdoor exercise and the relative safety of a designated bike lane along a busy road. (Workers smooth out a bike lane in photo at left.)
In another announcement, the Colonos reminds residents the third annual gate pass renewal and security upgrade is under way and, this year, snowbirds who are away until next fall are able to register via a form available at www.colonos.org . Fill it out and send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . Year-round residents are encouraged to go to the Colonos office and fill out the form since, after June 30, all current gate cards will be deactivated and residents will have to leave an I.D. at the main gate for access. To avoid inconvenience, fill out the form and be certain you have paid your Colonos maintenance fee. The Colonos asks all drivers to follow instructions for one-way north-south travel during the next, longer and more difficult phase until the end of construction.
Work began this week also on Caleta Xel-Ha in front of the Marina San Carlos Condos and residents in that area were asked to act accordingly to avoid any travel difficulties. The work is expected to last two weeks.
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More oversight of real estate
industry on the way in Q. Roo
Real estate has always been a key sector in the state of Quintana Roo’s development. Because of its connection to tourism, it has a huge impact on the economy and job market. Therefore, the government of Quintana Roo, in cooperation with a private initiative and several civil associations related to the real estate industry, has agreed on the need of a law that regulates services, requiring developers and investors to perform established and transparent operations.
Consequently, the Congress of the State has approved unanimously the “Law on Provision of Real Estate Services of the State of Quintana Roo” (Ley de Prestación de Servicios Inmobiliarios del Estado de Quintana Roo), which was published in the government’s Official Paper on June 6, 2014, and available on the link www.congresoqroo.gob.mx/leyes
This law states that any individual or business must be certified and registered as a real estate agent before being able to provide their services in Quintana Roo. The registration documents will be issued by the “Quintana Roo Urban Development and Housing Department (Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda del Estado de Quintana Roo) and will be valid for one year, after which they must be renewed.
The Law on Provision of Real Estate Services defines how individuals, businesses and real estate associations can obtain certification. It also establishes the duties, rights, and the field of knowledge real estate agents will have to possess in order to operate.
The registration process improves oversight of real estate agencies and agents. “The Law on Provision of Real Estate Services defines how individuals, businesses and real estate associations can obtain certification. It also establishes the duties, rights, and the field of knowledge real estate agents will need in order to operate.
More information regarding the new real estate regulations and certification is available from firstname.lastname@example.org
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Sargassum continues to clog
the Riviera’s sandy beaches
University asked to study alternative uses
Mexico’s maritime zone agency Zofemat, which says it has been removing an average of 10 tons of kelp from Playa del Carmen beaches every day, has contacted the National Autonomous University UNAM to ask for a study of possible beneficial options for use of the prolific sea weed. A local agency spokesman said Zofemat is aware that countries like the U.S. use treated seaweed to make beer and also feed for livestock.
In Puerto Aventuras, sargassum has been collected from the Kantenah Lagoon area in a neighborly cooperative effort with the Colonos, which is stockpiling the weed to be used later as fertilizer on common grounds. In Playa, some students actually baked a cake containing treated sargassum, an option now under study by health officials.
Sargassum has had a negative effect on tourism and a good example was observed in Akumal recently as tourist snorkelers looked for ways to enter the water through mounds of sea weed and sunbathers appeared restless as an unpleasant odor rose from the weed.
One benefit to the occurrence and persistent appearance of the weed along the Riviera Maya shore this year is that, if left undisturbed, it helps prevent the erosion of sand, which is another problem affecting area beaches. The unanswered question now is whether sargassum will continue to dog the Maya coastline or was this year a fluke phenomenon?
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Report: Parties, not president,
face mounting criticism
as mid-term election nears
The Associated Press reports that an opinion poll carried out by Mexico’s lower house of congress earlier this year showed 75 percent of respondents had little or no confidence in any political party as the nation nears the June 7 mid-term election. The margin of error was 3.9 percentage points.
Mexico’s mid-term elections are usually a referendum on the president’s effectiveness at the half-way mark of his six-year term. But the negative focus this year seems to be concentrated more on the parties as voters prepare to elect 500 congressmen, 17 state legislatures, nine governors and more than 300 mayors.
People are so fed up that parties have trouble giving away pens and T-shirts on the streets, the AP reported, and youthful brigades have organized on the Internet to rip down campaign posters from lamp posts and trees in some Mexico City neighborhoods.
Calamitous events such as the disappearance and presumed deaths of 43 students in Guerrero and recent shootout on a Michoacan farm resulting in 43 deaths have unnerved the electorate, as has the individual murders of several candidates for various offices nationwide.
Political parties get nearly all their financing from tax money, and they are being criticized by voters for their bloated budgets for government cars, trips, bodyguards, advisors, offices and meals, angering people in a country where the minimum wage is under $5 per day, according to the AP report.
The amount of sargassum on the Playa del Carmen beaches in May exceeded the ability of workers to keep the beaches clean, discouraging tourists from going there and undermining profits of shore-side businesses … Rubbish collection was scheduled to be reduced from 7 to 5 days a week according to the latest municipal announcement, but It was reported by Colonos officials that collection was back to the normal 7-day schedule at press time …
A summer movie series free to the public has been launched at the Blue Parrot Beach in Playa del Carmen. Two movies a month will be shown under the palapa on Wednesday evenings at 7:30. The first was shown on May 13 featuring the life of musician Bob Marley. Call the Blue Parrot for dates of other showings … El Nino warming of Pacific Ocean waters is predicted to bring more rain to Southeast Mexico this year and affect weather patterns generally. Snowbirds can probably expect more verdant surroundings on their return to PA…
Travel warnings continue to be issued by the U.S. for several states outside the Yucatan Peninsula. Statistics show 100 U.S. citizens murdered in 2014 and 81 in 2013 and more than 130 kidnapped between January and November of last year. The new warning, again, does not apply to Quintana Roo where snowbirds and tourists enjoy relative safety …
Goodyear Tire Corp. says it plans to invest $500 to $550 million building a tire plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, that will open in mid-2017 and employ about 1,000 people at full production. The plant is projected to produce about 6 million tires a year and be the company’s most technologically advanced facility. The new factory, combined with investments in its existing U.S. and Canadian factories, will enable Goodyear to meet the growing market demand for high-value-added consumer tires in North America and Latin America …
Almost $2.9 million in cash evidently headed for a criminal gang was seized from two trucks in May by police in Tamaulipas. The cash found in hidden compartments included 86 bundles of U.S. currency and some pesos. The drivers were arrested…
Deforestation is being blamed for an increase in the temperature in Quintana Roo, particularly in cities where cement streets and buildings have replaced Nature’s cooler canopy of trees… The International Fe
stival of the Word was observed in Playa del Carmen by painting famous quotes on city walls, providing food for thought to passersby… Highway billboards, particularly on the Tinta-Playa del Carmen federal road, are a distraction to drivers and can contribute to the cause of accidents, says a local architect and expert in visual pollution…
The fertility rate in Mexico has declined from 6.72 children per woman in 1970 to 2.22 currently, reports the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development… A Russian rocket carrying a Mexican communications satellite crashed 500 seconds after launch, failing to place the satellite in orbit… Two people with criminal records were shot dead in Cancun recently in what police describe as cartel assassinations. The pair reportedly sold illegal drugs in the Hotel Zone for one cartel, then switched to another cartel, say police… The kllings of two candidates for local posts in two western states is tainting this year’s national elections. One of the victims was a former vigilante leader battling the cartels in Michoacan…
The new 314-room Hyat Hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen is scheduled to open June 1 after a year of delays. It is expected to generate 500 jobs… Tourism hit a record in Mexico this year according to the Mexican President who noted visitors increased 20.5 percent over last year with China, Peru and Colombia contributing heavily to the increase. Locally, however, reports note that while there were indeed more tourists, they were spending less money in local shops and for services …
The municipal landfill reports an 18 percent increase in the amount of waste generated in the municipality. The report says an average 410 tons a day are deposited there… Estimated 43 gunmen killed in a battle between federal police and cartel hoods in the state of Michoacan last week, including two policemen … Camera games — Law enforcers and security personnel aren’t the only ones using cameras. Authorities say a cartel in Tamaulipas used 39 security cameras to monitor the movements of police there…
New weapon against dengue
mosquitoes being developed
Mosquitoes carrying the dengue, chikungunya or yellow fever viruses may not be long for this world. Scientists reporting in “Science Express”, an electronic science magazine, say they now know how to transform female mosquito embryos into male mosquitoes that do not “bite”. While yellow fever is rare in these parts, dengue and chikungunya are familiar interlopers infecting victims in the general human population.
The female mosquito carrying the viruses is the key to preventing the aforementioned diseases in humans because only the female is the vampire, biting into flesh to draw blood to develop her eggs, hence infecting victims with whatever virus she is carrying.
The scientists isolated a gene called “Nix” in the Aedes Aegypti mosquito species that, when injected into the embryo of female mosquitoes, more than two thirds of those injected developed male genitals and testes, the scientists found.
While perfecting the process for large-scale use on mosquitoes remains some years away, the hope is that the process will someday be the best weapon yet in battling mosquito-borne diseases. Meanwhile, take already established protections to keep mosquitoes off your body.