lunes, agosto 13, 2007

Nightmare in Zihuatanejo Bay

Rendering of possible proposed new pier in Zihuatanejo BayThis nightmarish scene could become a reality if Zihuatanejo townspeople allow the federal government to get its way and build a new pier for cruise ships in the middle of Zihuatanejo Bay.

The rendering shows a pier beginning at the end of the actual Muelle Municipal (municipal pier). Although I haven't seen any diagrams showing this configuration, it was discussed with fishermen and with local officials, both of whom relayed this information to members of El Pueblo en Defensa de la Bahía de Zihuatanejo, a civic front of local residents who have made it their mission to make sure the government understands the people of Zihuatanejo will simply not allow this project to be built in Zihuatanejo's bay. The great majority of local townspeople with who have been consulted have expressed their opposition to any new pier in Zihuatanejo Bay, and I am confident it will not be built.

Obviously buses would have to traverse the proposed pier, and I have not included areas for them to turn around. I have simply created a quick rendering from a photo that shows the ships in their correct proportions, and I added a simple pier platform that would more than likely be bigger were it ever actually built. Additionally, if it were built the Mexican navy would have to be moved from the land they now occupy (which has been proposed for a number of years anyway since there is no real need for them to have that location any longer) in order to make room for parking and support services for the pier terminal. A large section of the beach would also have to be paved and many of the fishing boats currently occupying the beach would have to be relocated.

There are simply so many problems with such a concept that not only do the townspeople oppose it for the damage it would do to the marine ecosystem and the eyesore it would represent for everyone around the bay, but the town's infrastructure is woefully inadequate to even contemplate receiving two or possibly even three cruise ships at the same time. We already have received that number of ships at the same time or close together several times in the past and the result is always chaos at the pier and downtown area due to lack of space and facilities for multiple buses, dozens of taxis, and thousands of pedestrians at the same time. Not to mention that when cruise ships are in port many of our paying visitors in lodgings around the area do not come into the downtown area for shopping or dining, and their purchases are generally for much more expensive items than cruise ship passengers, who rarely enter a local restaurant anyway but instead make most of their purchases of inexpensive souvenirs at the artisans market.

Let's hope this nighmarish scene never becomes a reality in Zihuatanejo Bay: a place that has always been appreciated for its natural beauty instead of contrived tourist attractions and cruise ships at anchor. Zihuatanejo has been receiving more and more high-end tourists over the years who prefer simple luxuries of unspoiled beaches, uncluttered views and a peaceful, healthy environment. They would simply go elsewhere if such a monstrosity were built in our bay, and we would have to settle for the "All-Inclusive" hotel crowd and time-share visitors who are generally of a much lower economic scale than the tourists we would lose, meaning we would have to build even more high-density lodgings to bring in more people to make up for the lost high spenders. Sounds to me like a pretty dumb way to go.

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