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Costa Rica: Riu Hotel Granted Unprecedented Privatization of Coastline

Article Summary:

Riu Hotel consortium was given the green light by the Costa Rican National Environmental Technical Secretariat to change the regulatory plan of the shoreline in Canton of Carrillo, essentially granting them free use of the Playa Matapalo area. This would allow for the privatization of close to 600 meters of coastline.

Photo Credit: Costa Rica Hoy

Original Article Text From Costa Rica Hoy via Google Translate :

SETENA gives green light for further hotel construction in Playa Matapalo

The National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA) validated on Monday a change in the regulatory plan of the shoreline area of the Canton of Carrillo. This would become a “yes” to the free use of Playa Matapalo, by the Riu hotel consortium.

According to Amit Gafman Gad, Guanacaste Brotherhood activist, this is a first step “tainted” to privatize about 600 meters of coastline, including the entire stretch of the hotel.

With the change to the regulatory plan would eliminate several public access to the beach and leave only one entrance through the hotel. “This will jeopardize the access of tourists. In the current regulatory scheme there are some public streets Riu has closed one of the things sought by the regulatory plan is to eliminate these public streets, “said Amit.

The activist also said that he had information that the SETENA had received a lot of pressure to give the feasibility, both by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the Government of the Republic, the mayor and the hoteliers and that’s why he passed so quickly.

“In this behind the mayor, the people of Riu, there was involvement of the Presidential Palace and the ICT. That whole group is criminally prosecuted and allowed the destruction of mangroves of the creek, encroachment of public roads, misuse of a master plan and buildings are not allowed in the plan (…) so they want change, “said Amit .

On 29 March, the Office of Santa Cruz and the Judicial Investigation Department intervened environmental permits from the Municipality of Carrillo and Santa Cruz MINAET of Guanacaste, on the permits issued for construction of the RIU hotel. Furthermore, there is a record SETENA (wide) with complaints of environmental damage to the area where there is a mangrove where turtles come to nest.

Meanwhile, Yamileth Mata, vice president of the Environmental Tribunal, said it will take action on the matter but, so far, no complaint of privatization.

“We have no knowledge of a complaint in this regard, we do know is that the Riu hotel itself is reported and if there is one open file. There is a complaint about the possible elimination of a wetland and the issue of a possible forest construction, “says Mata.

We try to check the version of the Mayor of Carrillo, Gerardo Cantillo, however not answered our calls.

Moreover, the general secretary of SETENA Baltodano Uriel Juarez, said the Hotel Riu and environmental sustainability was the part where it was built. “This other plan, given the feasibility of the shoreline area. The Hotel Riu requerería permits to do an expansion, but the Municipality of Carrillo could not grant permissions and since they were not SETENA authorizations “he said.

Johnson said that the viability was granted because they see no threatening or wetland or the forest, although the Environmental Court in research has a complaint against the Consortium, to affect a wetland adjacent to the hotel.

Link to Original Article:

From Costa Rica Hoy

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