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December 28, 2017

2017: The year that was!

Top story: Business conflict
had unintended consequences

Opening the gates of contention. (Staff Photo)

By Staff:
It began at the Dec.10, 2016 general assembly. Voters approved $200.000 USD to enhance the main gate. They also supported, some reluctantly, the development of a public park to replace the proposed second nine holes of the financially ailing 9-hole golf course.   But then, January 2017 arrived and something changed.

Cooperating proponents of the gate improvement – the Fideicomiso and the Colonos board – estimated the gate project would begin in April 2017 and be ready to greet arrivals for the 2017-18 winter high season.

Fast forward to this week: There are no improvements to the main gate. There is no public park development. What happened? Both projects became mired in a private business disagreement between the marina owners and some commercial marine service operators that turned toxic when Colonos refused to block the main gate to clients of some boating interests. Conflict spilled into the public domain and created uncertainty over gate control and park development in 2018, which many now view with pessimism.

Record year for the annual race. (Staff Photo)

Philanthropy increased –Residents expanded their common beneficence for 2017 by approving an annual dedicated fund of $12,000 to support “Transformar Educando” a teaching, social services and health counseling provider serving the neediest families in the poblado. A similar amount also continued to support the Red Cross ambulance service and clinic based in the poblado… Record-breaking race – The annual PA race reportedly broke a record with 560 runners while an uptick in foreign runners was also noted… Six people died as the result of the Blue Parrot shootout during the BPM music festival in Playa on Jan. 16.

FEBRUARY rolled around and the Colonos board denied a request by the PA developer to use the main gate to prevent clients of several commercial boaters from entering the resort. Nerves began to fray… The Colegio held an art show and so did the Art Gallery just before it was moved out of its location at the information booth …England invited Mexican college students to study there in view of the uncertainties of their welcome in the US by a new president..

Ballet to a tee. Entertaining!

MARCH welcomed ballet on the golf course with a sweet presentation of “Swan Lake” but turned sour as an attempt to block the main gate to clients of several boating companies backfired. It ignited a conflict over by-law interpretations and fostered hostilities between the developer and the Colonos board that continued throughout  2017…Meanwhile, soccer players played soccer as usual, Latitude 20 Restaurant offered Bingo games,  Jessie’s sold gelato to happy kids, a teacher of Spanish kept on teaching, the house-call doctor continued healing, the sun shone, the sea beckoned bathers, and life in general basked in the illusion of Paradise, including a letter to the editor from Yalku neighbors advocating safe driving…

APRIL arrived and snowbirds started packing for the annual exodus while the developer reported 67 of Phase 4‘s residential lots had been sold, 12 under construction and 17 more expected to be built…Four invasions across the highway were recorded adding more population to the estimated 15,000 residents already there… But, underlying proposed improvements such as the main gate and park, was political turmoil prompting the shutdown of a bike path that was begun in the proposed park and has not resumed as of this writing…Notice was given of the Fideicomiso’s intent to take over operation of the

Sea-soning the beach.

main gate from the Colonos… Puerto Morelos city council voted to reduce hours that liquor could be served hoping to reduce violence while residents in PA lobbied in vain to end night noise from the Hoo-Haa bar … Sargassum began spreading along Fatima Bay beaches… Airbnb units nationally climbed to 162,000 and hosted an estimated 974,000 tourists… The State Government reported a 101 percent jump in robberies… Construction of a condo hotel on the Kantenha Lagoon was announced, but later stalled for technical corrections on the permitting application…

MAY brought the start of a  22-part, unedited, English version of the Colonos by-laws, and still going on… Akumalian Rhett Schober’s co-authored book on Yucatan fishing was published… There was movement to extend auto registration plates to four instead of three years in reaction to public demands… The annual Wounded Warrior fishing tourney went on as usual to the joy of the warrior guests…The Colonos sanctioned several businesses for their part in a main gate blockage in March…

JUNE brought heat, hurricane predictions and two deaths in a fiery car crash in front of the Lapis Jewelry outlet just outside the PA main gate on 307… The Colonos considers pulling the funding for the main gate project in view of the developer’s takeover intent… Former state governor is arrested in Panama on an arrest warrant for misuse of public funds… Colonos warns that the waste stream is growing with the population…Playa considers installing parking meters in heavy traffic areas… The Colegio announces a children’s summer camp project…

Security guard protests the protesters. (Staff Photo

JULY rolls in with a storm scare but PA escapes the power of Hurricane Franklin… Daniel J. Fitts, well-known electrician in PA, dies… TAEMA Air Park project announces site preparation… Animal Rights Protesters are escorted out of PA from the Dolphin pool area by Security… Playa parking lot operators prepare bid to raise rates… Poblado residents express concern over street gangs… First of several shootouts in 5th Avenue area in Playa launches new concerns over expanding drug-gang violence in the tourist area… A swarm of bees kills a landscape worker near the sports facility in Puerto Maya… Heavy rains and uncollected trash cause major traffic snarls in downtown Playa… Two companies propose original ideas to battle sargassum invasion of area beaches…Frida Kahlo museum opens in Playa… Canal-front property owners in Marina II enter discussions of new canal maintenance fees with concessionaire…

Out of sight, but not out of mind… (Staff Photo)

AUGUST sailed in on a tide of ill feelings over the main-gate standoff between the developer and Colonos board. The youth sailing club, managed by Colonos board member Daniele Gracis, was asked to vacate its Phase 4 location, a move that eventually drove Gracis to resign as club manager…The Colonos adopted a new logo, signaling cooperative independence from the developer… Plans for a gambling casino on Playa’s 5th Avenue were announced… The gate standoff began attracting letters to the editor advocating a resolution of differences, criticizing the public park work stoppage and concerns the discord would discourage potential buyers into the Puerto Aventuras vision… One man died in an early-morning  barroom brawl in the poblado…. Some daytime temperatures reached 120 degrees F when considering the humidity…

SEPTEMBER looked back a month to Hurricane Nate’s threat as it by-passed the Riviera Maya coast and PA where yachts and ferries sought refuge… The Cultural Center announced a November folk ballet to open its entertainment season…

OCTOBER brought a fright of sorts when at least two local restaurants announced Halloween costume parties… There was a clampdown on bars in the tourist area of Playa as gang shootings increased along 5th Avenue… Propane gas dealers increased prices a little…The tragic earthquakes in and near Mexico City necessitated a cut in planned federal funds for state distributions…

Work stopped, then approved at Chac-Hal-Al beach. (Staff Photo)

NOVEMBER began to welcome a trickle of arriving snowbirds as heat and rain abated somewhat… Dueling letters were published in the Pelican with the Colonos board chairman giving a defense of his stewardship and the developer alleging causes for the chairman’s removal…  Chac-Hal-Al was temporarily stymied in its effort to reclaim sand for its beach, but was cleared to continue after paying a fine and hiring a consultant on environmental matters… The assembly agenda is released and promises a contentious meeting… Possible break in marina deadlock with several commercial marine service operators is hinted as both sides accept assistance from volunteer mediator …Rock concert becomes second Colonos entertainment offering at the Cultural Center… Cancun Airport launches new Terminal 4 … Unusual forum presented by the Colegio for the developer to answer questions from the audience backfires somewhat when a previously undisclosed 2016 pact with the Taema development across the highway is  exposed… The pact would open resort residents’ gates to owners of an outside development… Two Colonos board members cite dysfunction as reasons to resign…

The people spoke and the people voted and some things were settled…and some were not. (Staff Photo}

DECEMBER’S Assembly attracts record attendance of 225, lasts from 10 a.m.  to around 4 p.m. … Petition for Colonos chairman’s resignation soundly defeated…Release of $200,000 USD for main gate improvements extended to June 2018 while awaiting possible resolution of long-term control contract between Fideicomiso and Colonos… Two volunteers replace resigned board members… Developer resigns post as president of Vigilance Committee… Chac-Hal-Al and Colegio threaten to leave Colonos HOA in wake of Colonos board support by voters… End 2017

… And begin 2018 with a New Year resolution to seek,  what else, resolution of lingering ailments impeding the community’s desire to maintain its uniqueness. 

EDITORIAL…
Colonos note misses chance
to suggest balanced behavior

The Colonos emailed a note to residents last week asking for their tolerance of neighbors having boisterous parties late into the night and to not call Security to quiet them down. The Colonos said security agents needed to be free in the event of emergencies.

But the note overlooked the flip side of the ubiquitous noise conundrum in not also suggesting that people hosting such parties have some consideration for their neighbors by not keeping them awake all night.

After all, if raucous revelry is contained after 11 p.m., there would be no need for disturbed neighbors to call Security in the first place, would there.

In essence, the note empowered rowdies to ignore any consideration they might have had to temper their behavior and lower the volume in deference to neighbors who have no desire to remain awake all night.

The note could have also suggested – should have suggested – that holiday partiers move indoors at 11 p.m., close windows and doors, turn on air conditioners, and continue their revelry.

Those who may consider this to be way too inconvenient must consider that it’s what 10 or 12 or more sleep-deprived neighbors must do when excessive noise invades their inner sanctums in the black of night.

Colonos, in its good intentions, might want to rethink sending one-sided notes to ameliorate two-sided issues.

The Mail Bag…

Parties urged to go extra mile

Dear Editor :
I am pleased to report that Arq.Roman Rivera Torres , acting on behalf of the operators of the Marina , submitted an offer in writing on  13th December 2017 which included the latest proposed charges together with a comparison with those which are said  to be charged by some other marinas as well as information of the intended improvements in the marina facilities which are in” process and those to be implemented in short term”. I forwarded this offer on the same day to the commercial boat owners who are involved in this dispute for their consideration and response.. 

There are still substantial issues  between the parties. In my view, all parties need to exhibit a  high degree of determination to resolve their longstanding differences amicably in order to avert further lengthy and costly litigation as well as  actions which  may adversely affect our community, which have as their root cause, the existence of this dispute. In the meantime , unless I hear from all parties that they wish me to continue in my current role of assisting them in the resolution of this dispute , I will withdraw from any further involvement. 

Wishing you , all the parties in this dispute as well as your readers,  good health, much happiness and success in a peaceful 2018 

Signed/ Angelo Mouzouropoulos 

Tai Chi notices go missing

Dear Editor:
This year I went to the trouble of making Laminated posters to let people know what the times and days of the Tai Chi classes are this winter. I paid to put my advertising on the Colonos bulletin board near the Oxo and I asked managers of certain restaurants if I could put a poster in their restaurant. This was no problem to the ones I asked.

The problem is, all my posters have gone missing and I cannot find out who took them.  I have a great feel for Puerto Aventuras and feel my Tai Chi can only be an asset and not a hindrance. (email Mr. Longman at [email protected])

Signed/Bernard Longman, instructor

 

Paamul garage sale set for Jan. 14

Paamul Garage Sale – The Services to Others Committee (PSOC) Annual Charity Garage Sale will be held at David’s Store at the Highway 307 entrance to Paamul on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, from 8 a.m. to mid-day. Proceeds provide the necessities of life and  education to residents in the jungle villages of Chumpon, in Quintana Roo; Santa Clara,  Kulunche and San Pedro in Yucatan state. If you have items to donate or any questions about our charities, please refer to the Facebook page for Paamul Services to Others Committee and send a message.

The 10th annual road race for people of all ages will be held Sunday, Jan. 21, with races beginning at 8 a.m. in front of the Dolphin Discovery Store. Register at the Colonos office. Cost is 250 pesos for adults and 200 for children.

Soccer   Thierry Defauw reports that the friendly Sunday morning pick-up soccer games have resumed at the Puerto Maya field in back of the Oxxo store on the main road into the village. Call Thierry at 984-877-5190 for more information. Young, middle aged and older folks can join the fun workout.

Group Spanish lessons with teacher Gloria Contreras will resume Jan. 8 at the Nauty Burro on Mondays and Wwednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. Cost is 180 pesos.

Latitude 20 Restaurant is offering a diverse month of Sunday games in January. It starts Jan. 7 with Friendly Feud, followed on the 14th with Trivial Pursuits, the 21st with Bingo and the 28th with a return of Trivial pursuits. Game time is 3:30 p.m. Owner Jim Stubbs welcomes all to join the fun.

The Roundup…

While Puerto Aventuras awaits two possible landing strips within the town’s borders, it might be of interest that a small plane from the Playa aerodrome carrying a pilot and four English tourists crashed last week in the jungle 10 kilometers west of 307-Calica and broke in two after engine failure. The pilot made a skillful landing between dense jungle trees and as a result no one was hurt, authorities said. The tourists were being transported to Chichen Itza…

A Paamul visitor was killed Dec. 18 when attempting to cross the highway near the entrance to the village. He was believed to be Australian and about 35 years old. He was struck by a bus whose hit-and-run driver parked his vehicle about 50 meters away then boarded another bus and left the scene, said witnesses. The accident occurred on the south to north passing lane. The Red Cross ambulance was first responder and the crew had to help direct traffic until authorities arrived sometime later…

The beach reclamation shut down by government agencies at Chac-Hal-Al a few weeks ago is reportedly resuming after the iconic complex paid a fine and hired a government “consultant” to guide the rest of the project, according to a source in the complex…

Jesus Castillo

Q. Roo’s oldest man died last week at the age of 121. Jesus Castillo Rangel “Don Chuy” lived in the town of Nicolas Brave south of Chetumal and was born in Chiapas in 1896. Social workers there who took care of him credited the “Lord” and the senior citizen kitchens and services for sustaining his long stay on earth…

Cases of dengue fever in Quintana Roo took a precipitous drop of about 50 percent in 2017, report health authorities. Only 129 cases were reported statewide this year compared to 261 in 2016…

The Riviera Maya has been named the best tourist destination in Mexico for the 14th consecutive year at the Travel Weekly Reader’s Choice Awards during a ceremony in New York City. It was predicted the Riviera Maya would reach 86.5 percent hotel occupancy this holiday season…

Nearly 100,000 tourists were expected to visit Cozumel on 31 cruise ships spread over the holidays, depositing about 13,400 visitors a day…

An uptick in armed robberies and other crimes in Playa del Carmen brought a rebuke from Maria Mata, president of the Riviera Maya’s business ordinating council, who said the crimes can no longer be considered “isolated events” because of their increasing frequency…

Another arrest has been made in the ongoing investigation of PRI officials and former officials nationwide who participated in a scheme involving some state governors. They provided false invoices, were paid in federal funds then sent the money to the party to fund political campaigns, allege investigators…

The turtle ‘stock market’ broke new ground this year with 1,508 nests reported by the Cozumel Parks and Museum Foundation. The group said the number nearly doubled the 632 nests counted last year…

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Mondays and by the 25th of each month during the summer schedule May-October. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites, logos or social media links.MAIL BAG POLICY – Limit comment to 300 words per writer , or 5 paragraphs of 60 words each. We reserve the right to edit for comprehension and to avoid personal, inaccurate or offensive material. Thank you.

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