The Senate filed, referred to the commission, and approved by discharge, on the same day, a bill that creates the Manati Coastal Corridor, which raised an alert flag among the environmental community of the
The Senate Bill 1643 received the endorsement of that body last Saturday and the House of Representatives approved it, without amendment, in today's session, Thursday. Consequently, the measure, which is the responsibility of Thomas Rivera Schatz, Ángel Martínez Santiago and José Pérez Rosa, will be sent to La Fortaleza at any time.
Provides, among other things, that the Manati Coastal Corridor would comprise an area of 11,231 cuerdas in the Laguna Tortuguero and Hacienda La Esperanza nature reserves, the special planning area of the karst and other “natural resources of singular beauty”, such as Punta Chivato, Los Tubos, Mar Chiquita Palmas, Poza de las Mujeres, Tómbolo, Callao, La Esperanza and Machuca, the Ojo de Agua and the Los Tubos recreational area.
“A tourist area is designated and delimited sustainable in the Manatí Coastal Corridor with the purpose of developing the areas with ecotourism potential of Manatí, and everything related to the conservation, use and management of the natural resources identified in the sustainable tourism zone ”, reads the project, which thus It gives the Tourism Company “the function of advising, implementing and supervising sustainability initiatives.”
In the sustainable tourism area of the Manatí Coastal Corridor projects such as eco-hospitality, agro-hospitality, camping with amenities would be allowed of a luxury hotel (“glamping”) and camping areas .
On the other hand, the measure delimits and designates the area of tourist interest in the Manatí Coastal Corridor, “with the purpose of guiding the development and land uses in such areas and identify areas with tourism potential. " Along these lines, it establishes the geographical limits of the “New Playa Mar Chiquita Reserve.”
The Mar Chiquita nature reserve was one of the seven that the former governor Ricardo Rosselló eliminated, in 2017 , through executive orders. This determination was reversed, in November 2019, by the Supreme Court .
In the opinion of former President of the Planning Board Luis García Pelatti, the Senate Bill 1643 is, precisely, “ another attempt to eliminate or modify the limits” of the Mar Chiquita nature reserve declared as such in December 2016 and validated by the Supreme.
“This project is the response of Israel Kopel, owner of the Mar Chiquita beach and hundreds of ropes around him, to the decision of the Supreme Court. The law plays by saying that it establishes a coastal plan and a new natural reserve limit, "says García Pelatti.
" It says that a plan has to be prepared, but we know that it has already been prepared, "added the former official.  According to García Pelatti, the measure leaves outside the geographical limits of what would be the new Mar Chiquita reserve "the largest plots", which are precisely those of Kopel. The measure does not define what is a larger plot .
“It is a custom law to change the Plan del Carso and the Land Use Plan . To top it off, create a (coastal) plan that doesn't refer to it having to be approved by the Planning Board. The plan may be reviewed, but must be approved by the Manatí Municipal Legislature. This means that 34,675.27 Manatí strings are removed from the responsibility of land uses of the Planning Board and are passed on to the responsibility of the Municipal Legislature, "he asserted.
For his part, the environmental lawyer Pedro Saadé indicated that, in order to “benefit a few”, the project endangers hundreds of strings.
“This project, which impacts more than 35,000 strings and was used on purpose haste and little public scrutiny must be vetoed by the governor ( Wanda Vázquez ) ”, declared Saadé.