Colonos votes to reclaim bay beach
Prep work could begin as soon as this month
Colonos to collect, disburse funds;
Beach access all but guaranteed
Despite demands for “guarantees’ rising from the audience, precious few were actually delivered as more than 70 owners and condo administrators at the Colonos Assembly Saturday overwhelmingly approved a funding plan for the proposed Fatima Bay beach replenishment project. The vote was a lopsided 1,756 for and 10 against, with condo administrators present casting all their votes in favor.
With Saturday’s affirmative vote in hand after a two-hour session, Pablo Besquin, of the Oceanus Corp., which will engineer and oversee the project, said preparatory work could begin this month and, with the cooperation of the weather, government and other variables, could be completed in eight months.
Oceanus estimates the project cost at $913,000 USD, of which $350,000 of quarry stone will be used as in-kind service by Plano 4 developer Roman Rivera Torres, leaving a project balance of an estimated $751,800.
The Colonos has agreed to dedicate fees from future housing construction in Plano 4 to the beach project. The fees would ordinarily be used to build roads. In return, the developer (Fideicomiso) will construct roads and underground infrastructure.
Expected future revenue from construction fees over the long haul is estimated at $1,550,000 USD. The beach project cost of $751,800, according to Oceanus, represents 36 percent of the total amount in fees expected over the build-life of Plano 4.
Since funds are needed now to reclaim the beach as soon as possible, there was talk of loans being made by private parties at no interest to the Colonos in order to begin the project. For its part, the Colonos would collect and disburse future Plano 4 fees to repay the loans. There is no cost to existing property owners in Planos 1,2,3.
Most of the meeting was conducted by Besquin who explained that some six various reclamation plans had been considered with a view to minimizing costs. The first, and best plan (See photo in Feb. 21 edition below) using inverted pyramid devices across the top of the bay was deemed cost-prohibitive.
Oceanus, Besquin said, along with the scientific guidance of Dr. Ping Wang of Florida University’s Coastal Research Laboratory, chose instead a system of five underwater barrier reefs about 300 feet away from and parallel to the shore. The reefs would be constructed in 6-foot water depth and remain hidden from view. They would be strung along the entire bay coastline (725 yards or seven football fields) laid out in five separate lengths. (See photo at top of story.)
Once the reefs are in place, sand that has washed along the southern marina jetty would be reclaimed to create a shoreline beach averaging 100 feet wide and festooned with palm trees and beach grass to add beauty and accommodate sand retention. Besquin said there was a possibility of introducing coral life forms to the underwater barriers over the long term.
Like Mother nature, who does not issue written guarantees, neither did the Fideicomiso or Oceanus, which said that a few areas of the reef still need to be studied and tweaked, particularly in front of Chac Hal Al; that all government permits are not in hand, that a timeline for completion is
at the mercy of natural and man-made variables and that the Colonos would incur more costs for a barrier maintenance program over the first five years at about $25,000 a year to keep the beach replenished and the barriers in place.
Stone for the barriers will be cut from the proposed canal areas of Plano 4 using a rock saw to yield 900 large boulders required for the barrier reefs. The rocks will be hauled three at a time on a barge with cranes that will need to be built then deconstructed when the work is done.
The process will require two small towing vessels to move the barge with three to four boulders per trip. The process will take about 40 days for each of the five separate barrier sections.
While the science/engineering part of the Assembly was coldly technical, the argument for a signed public access guarantee was emotional.
The political aspect of the Assembly revealed what the world already knows: Voters usually have a self-serving reason to vote the way they do and this was no exception.
Several passionate pleas for a legal, guaranteed public right of way to beach access were made from the heart by persons who own off-beach property and had been turned away during the unilateral closure last season of the Omni Beach access point behind the Dive Shop.
They wanted Colonos and Fideicomiso to sign a contract guaranteeing permanent beach access for owner/residents before committing Colonos funds to the project. There was some applause. However, their supplications failed to gain the support of the few condo administrators whose pockets were loaded with votes from residents who already live on the beaches and have their own access. Judging from the tally, some administrators voted even their landlocked complexes in line with the beachside condos.
One man in the audience explained why: Waterfront condos have been hit with new taxes – some condo complexes as much as $100,000, the man said – because beach erosion results in the condo properties encroaching on federal land, therefore the tax. Replenishing the beach as quickly as possible will relieve the condos of that tax since they will no longer be encroaching on federal land. To them, obviously, beach access was a secondary issue.
But the beach-access crowd didn’t walk away empty handed even though it might think so. The Colonos board, speaking through its chairman, Jorge Kaufer, said it was in negotiations with the Omni Hotel/Fideicomiso as it has been for several years and very close to a permanent access deal. Evidently, it will be one in which private property remains private property but one granting an accommodation short of a legal public access grant.
More significantly, developer Rivera Torres put his word and faith on the line by publicly stating in front of 70 witnesses that the Omni Beach access behind the dive shop will be improved and placed under the control of the Colonos to assure its maintenance and continuity as such. It would give resident/owners access via an identification card issued by the Colonos.
When asked ifhe had permits in hand, Rivera Torres said much of the work can be legitimately accomplished before receiving them. He said the government was not the problem, but more so the few local armchair observers who view things from their condo units and complain to outside authorities, thus bringing them down on the community to complicate matters.
He said the Puerto Aventuras vision has been and remains the existence of a unique self-sustaining and governing “private property” community measurably controlled in the final analysis by its residents via the Colonos Association.
He said the indigenous communities across the highway have grown to nearly 15,000 residents – which drew a few expressions of surprise and disbelief from the audience – and expounded on the the necessity to tighten access at the Main Gate and at the beach access point if for no other reason than the beach and community couldn’t handle the influx.
If there are any hard feelings among some residents at the moment, they will surely ameliorate when a spacious sandy beach with palm trees, palapas and unhindered access stretches out into the refreshing, turquoise waters of Fatima Bay. Faith in the Colonos and Fideicomiso vision is riding on it.
In Case You Want To Know…
Red Cross: Mutual aide comes to the fore
Clinic, ambulance that serve resort
receive equipment donated by golfers…
It was a win-win situation for the Red Cross clinic, the Poblado and the people of the resort this week when $3,400 in medical equipment was delivered to the new clinic in the former police station.
Donated items from partial proceeds of last year’s Charity Golf Tournament chaired by Jim and Jeannette Jamieson and treasurers Bob and Glenna Uecker of Capt. Rick’s sport fishing, included a sanitary table, infant scale, blood pressure monitor, a good bright light to illuminate delicate work, equipment for checking eyes, a fetal doppler (to hear the fetal heartbeat) and other equipment including a multi-purpose defibrillator that had not yet arrived.
At the urging of Centro resident John Schwandke who brokered the donation, funds have also been set aside by the Colonos to provide gasoline for the Red Cross ambulance now permanently stationed in the Puerto Aventuras Poblado.
The Red Cross clinic was opened here in September and is an outreach of the regional Red Cross that stretches from Puerto Morelos to Akumal. It has one of six ambulances in the regional district.
Worth repeating is the fact that the Red Cross in Puerto Aventuras is an emergency ambulance service and a drop-in clinic for all area people. Both segments operate 24 hours a day serving the rapidly growing Poblado and Puerto Maya, and other nearby communities such as Akumal and Paamul. It is staffed by three doctors and six certified paramedics who are also used to train other paramedics.
The Red Cross here is not subsidized by government and for an agency that survives on donations, auctions, races, general fundraising and comparatively very low posted prices for medical and ambulance services, it performs a vital, life-saving service with efficiency and dedication of its personnel.
Unlike private ambulance services and or government ordered trips on the public emergency number, the Red Cross –emergency number 065 – cares for and delivers a patient to the hospital of his or her choice without initial regard for payment.
And if you aren’t feeling well, perhaps indigestion or other distress you feel requires a diagnosis , or if you need treatment for a deep cut, rash or the like, the clinic is there for you 24/7 with modest prices posted for the various medical and Rx services.
Unlike the U.S. Red Cross that concentrates on major disasters, the Mexican Cruz Roja is an integral part of the Mexican emergency response system, in fact, a leading part. If you read Mexican newspapers, you will see that Cruz Roja is a critical first responder at the scene of most accidents and other events where there are injuries.
The clinic is the former police station on the main Poblado road you enter from the overpass area. It is at the fork in the road, almost at the end.
Red Cross services are there for resort dwellers also. Remember the Red Cross emergency number — 065…
Business network group eyes Puerto Aventuras
The first annual “business exchange” in Playa del Carmen sponsored by Negocios Unidos (NU) (United Business) to foster international and intramural business networking may someday have a role to play in Puerto Aventuras.
That was the impression left with David Zannoni of Puerto Aventuras, who has a masters in Public Management from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, as he strolled among some 200 business people last week at the Colegio Ingles in Playa del Carmen and spoke with NU founder, Jon Felperin, a teacher at the school.
It was Playa’s first “business exchange” event. “It was a good start,” said Zannoni, who conducts international business as a film industry consultant and debt mediator and is fluent in Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish and basic German. His wife, Mexican-born America Vanessa Rodriguez Luiz operates an on-line children’s clothing business.
“I would have preferred to see more corporate-sized businesses involved, although there were a few, but you have to start somewhere.” Zannoni said. Most of the displays were smaller businesses from crafts to aluminum windows, banking and medical.
Rain somewhat dampened enthusiasm as some 35 display booths that had been set up in the Colegio courtyards stationed themselves under the courtyard overhang. There was food and drink and no shortage of conversations among huddled groups of business people doing what the evening was for – networking. While some strolled along the booths, others joined several business classes going on in a nearby palapa.
Zannoni said he has discussed possibilities of folding Puerto Aventuras into the Playa organization, which, for the record, conducts weekly morning business meetings among members for networking and referrals, “a model that was created in the United States,” Zannoni said.
He agreed there could be value in helping small businesses, particularly craftsmen in the Poblado, to refine some of their business practices and spread the word of their existence into the larger area and even abroad in some cases.
Felperin and Zannoni are slated to meet informally Sunday to discuss “bringing intercontinental entrepreneurs to the Riviera Maya physically and virtually to help promote foreign investment in the region” and to also consider the expansion of the networking group to Puerto Aventuras.
Anyone interested in this pursuit can contact Zannoni email@example.com and/or Jon Felperinjfelperin@negociosunidos.net
BUSINESS BRIEFS…Ice-fishing guru Hal Harper says he has signed papers to share part of his car-storage operation near the Dreams Hotel bridge adjacent to the popularLatitude 20 Restaurant with a dive shop to be run by two German divers and owner of existing shops in Playa and Cancun…Dr. Enrique Perez,the resort’s only dentist, has moved his office from Centro to the Bamboo building on the new marina…
Looking UP… With Gayle Sandholm
Little fish makes a decent dish
As you walk along the beach here in Puerto you may notice black fins just breaking the water’s surface. More than likely this is a triggerfish, “tailing” as it seeks small crabs in the shallow water close to shore.
They dig out prey by flapping their fins and by squirting water from their mouths. I assured one visitor last week that these really were not sharks and that it was OK to actually get into the water and snorkel. Their name comes from the way they lock the spine on their dorsal fins when threatened or alarmed. I caught what I guess was a two pound one on my fly rod last week in the waters in front of Villa del Mar. They do fight hard, however, when hooked on a fly rod. While some triggerfish are quite colorful and are often found in aquariums, those “tailing” along the beach are grey and to my eye not too attractive. But they are quite tasty.
This was a good week for seeing birds. I watched a ferruginous pigmy owl looking for prey in the trees along Bahia Yalku. A couple of days later I watched it again in the trees along the golf course. A small owl (7 in / 18 cm) it often hunts for small birds, lizards, or insects during the dawn or dusk, but can be seen hunting in midday.
I also spotted a painted bunting in the bushes along Bahia Xaak. It is about 5 inches (12-13 centimeters) long and is blue, red, yellow and a luminous light green back. It winters here (a real snowbird). Most often it can be seen eating insects in the bushes low to the ground.
The finest sighting, however, was a “lifer” (first time seen in my life). A black headed trogon was perched in a tree along the golf course. Trogons spend much time perched motionless in open trees.
They eat fruit and insects (wasps and termites) and often make nests in rotten stumps or termitaries (those large mud like nests in trees). This one was unmistakable with its beautiful blue eye ring, yellow breast and large white markings on its tail. About 11 in / 28 cm long, its back is a beautiful dark blue. As I work on my Spanish I am adding the phrase: “hermoso pájaro” beautiful bird.
We received a report from Andy and Cathy of Quinta del Sol saying they saw a beautiful flash of blue fly by and went to investigate and discovered this
beautiful insect. It had a metallic turquoise back side where the wings are and the underside including the legs and face were a brilliant orange.
I think it is from the family of insects called pentatomidae (five sections). Back in the states we call them shield bugs or more commonly stink bugs.
When disturbed they secrete a rather foul smelling substance and are a nuisance for farmers because they enjoy eating the crops. So, enjoy the beauty of metallic turquoise and brilliant orange, but don’t disturb.
Have another good week in Puerto Aventuras. Keep looking up.
Being way up in Minnesota, yet longing to be in Puerto, you bring exciting news/current information/community events and experiences/great visuals (pictures) and so much more. Even from up near Canada we can feel like we are still a part of Puerto Aventuras and surrounding areas. Thank you. We recommend the Pelican Press to all our “snowbird” friends and to permanent residents in Puerto who for whatever reason have yet to make the connection. Have a great day.
FELLOWSHIP CHURCH PAAMUL– Non-denominational English worship Service is at 9:00 a.m Sundays in Paamul at the Palapa Church and at 10:45 a.m. at the Hacienda Real Hotel, Avenida 10 and Calle10 in Playa del Carmen.
LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH TULUM – “Lighting the way to Life” English worship Service is non-denominational, 10:00 a.m. Sundays with continental breakfast at 9:30; located on Highway 307, 1.2 miles past San Francisco grocery, hospital and Subway, next door to fruit stand.
Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
Busy as a bee: “ocupado como una abeja” Anyone interested in learning the language can please contact Ms. Contreras by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cel: 984-108-3517 so she can prepare materials in advance.
(Classes are from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos per session.
See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.
Centro Maya: http://cinemex.com/
Compiled from staff, contributor and media reports
GRAND PROPOSAL planted in Jose Maria Morelos would be to create a forest of precious woods that would in turn provide 20,000 jobs within five years…SEA TO DESERT – The weekend cold front prompted a phenomenon in Chetumal Bay when a low tide left 200 meters of muddy desert where water generally is….GIVE US A BRAKE –Of 490 flights hauling spring-breakers Saturday at the Cancun International Airport, 113 were in the terminal one with 57 arrivals and 56 departures; the international area of terminal two had 164 flights of which 82 were arrivals and 82 departures and in terminal three, also international, were 213 operations, with 108 arrivals and 105 departures. United alone had nine extra flights. It looked as if Puerto Aventuras picked up business accordingly…BROADER TAX base seems in the offing nationally as the PRI removed its previous objections to tax food and medicine and tinker with Pemex. The moves are drawing charges from opposition leaders that the PRI is breaking its promises to the people who elected the party…PRICE OF GAS is up 11 cents and taxi drivers aren’t too happy about it. Shoes are cheaper, and barefoot even cheaper than that…INCREASES OF 3 AND 5 PERCENT in visitor landings respectively for January and February was reported this week for Riviera Maya…A PLANNED FERRY SERVICE between Calica and Tampa has been postponed until 2014 by government edict…THE MEXICAN INSTITUTE OF WATER TECHNOLOGY has been hired to analyze the source of contamination emitting negative odors from 5th Avenue cenotes under or around shops there…