lunes, marzo 31, 2008

Saving Isla Ixtapa

Playa Varadero, Isla Grande de Ixtapa, México
Once again our local environment is under attack. This time their focus is la Isla Grande de Ixtapa (Isla Ixtapa).

A company named "Isla Ixtremo, S.A. de C.V." has submitted their environmental impact study to SEMARNAT for a project called "Ix-Extremo", which is described in SEMARNAT's Gaceta Ecológica as follows: "The project consists of the construction of two ziplines and a palapa in a tourist development, where the palapa requires a surface area of 14 X 14 meters. The project is intended for development on Isla Ixtapa, in front of the littoral of the Municipio de José Azueta."

According to the president of the Asociación Ecológica Subacuática de Acapulco, Ramiro Gómez Pardillo, there are "dark interests" behind this project that as soon as they obtain the necessary permits to develop the project the developers will push for a casino on the island. A couple of years ago in Acapulco the same company tried to build what was billed as an "adventure park" on Isla La Roqueta that included a small resort hotel. The various environmental associations of Acapulco united and successfully blocked the attempt to carry out that project, which was called "Aca Extreme".

Personally, I think Isla Ixtapa should be declared a national park, similar to Buck Island in St. Croix. There are currently way too many restaurants, all without running water or adequate sanitation facilities, and most of them employ curricanes to lure tourists into restaurants and gouge them (which is how the curricán makes his or her money with the full knowledge and consent of the restaurants in violation of our laws and regulations that no one enforces).

One of our local environmental associations, ROGAZ, appears to be paying attention and they have publically rejected the projected development claiming the development "has larger dimensions than those outlined in their environmental impact study" and noting that "the budget doesn't justify the two years of projected construction". They stated that if they were rejected in Acapulco for trying to pull a fast one then they will surely try to do the same here.

And though our mayor claims he solicited the project since he would like to see the investment money lost in Acapulco spent here, he also claims to be unaware of any details. Hmmm... Not sure if our mayor is to be believed or trusted anymore after his track record of the past couple of years. Looks to me like once again our mayor has been caught bent over with his pants down exposing his true self.

The island's entire population of about 20 residents along with the rest of the island's restaurant owners and merchants have united in rejecting this development and are forming a united front along with the environmentalists of ROGAZ to prevent this project from being developed. I expect the islanders will receive the support of many Zihuatanejo residents. They certainly have my full support and best wishes for preserving la Isla Grande de Ixtapa!

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