A residential development project planned for San Pancho in the Riviera Nayarit is encountering fierce opposition from a group of local residents who question its viability and believe it poses a threat to the small town.
The Punta Paraíso project proposes the construction of two six-story apartment buildings and one three-story condominium in the small Pacific coast community but residents say that the social and cultural impact of the development along with a lack of urban infrastructure make it unfeasible.
The development, which includes a total of 65 new apartments, is backed by Canadian investors who are collaborating with Mexican real estate development company Lemmus.
A scarcity of drinking water is one of the biggest barriers to the project, according to a blog post by the Alianza de la Costa Verde.
“It seems schizophrenic to promote further tourism development of the region without resolving the water shortage problem,” the post reads.
The group also argues that deficiencies in the sewer system and garbage collection make the project unviable as it would place significant new pressure on already failing infrastructure.
“Large parts of Bahía de Banderas are practically bathed in sewage, which presents a great danger to the health of residents and tourists,” the blog post continues.
In addition, the group says the proximity of the development to the waterfront will affect turtles and the dune environment and “usurp” the beach from the public. Increased traffic and the blocking of sea views and breezes are further factors that disgruntled residents say will upset the tranquility of the town and threaten its future as a quiet, close-knit community.
There are also claims that the project supervisor — who is also the secretary of the municipal branch of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) — plans to bring in workers from the neighboring state of Jalisco rather than providing much needed employment for locals.
Residents met earlier this week to form a citizens’ council with the stated objective of working with local authorities for the “common good and improvement of the town.”
The Punta Paraíso project is “the tip of the iceberg” of a failed tourism development policy in the Bahía de Banderas municipality and the state of Nayarit, the group argues.
There is, however, another group of residents who have a different view of the project.
That group believes it will bring employment and greater prosperity to the small town although it too has expressed some concerns about overdevelopment.
San Pancho, as the town officially called San Francisco is better known, is located seven kilometers north of the popular beach town Sayulita and about 45 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.