A project in Cancún in which at least US $900 million has been invested hangs in the balance after 113 children won a ruling for its suspension.
A judge ordered a halt to the Malecón Tajamar project, being promoted by the federal tourism development fund Fonatur, siding with the children’s argument that environmental damage would violate their right to a healthy environment.
But the judge also ordered the plaintiffs pay a bond of 21 million pesos, about US $1.2 million, as compensation to third-party investors in the project. That order is being challenged on the grounds that it was aberrant to apply “commercial criteria” to a bond that was unattainable to the young plaintiffs.
A lawyer and adviser to a local environmental group also argues that the judge did not properly weigh the collective right to a healthy environment over the interests of the third parties.
Raymundo Gil Rendón said an appeal of the bond will likely take three months to be resolved, which would require Fonatur to obtain another environmental impact assessment as the existing one, approved in 2005 when the project began, expires next February.
The Malecón Tajamar is a 58-hectare commercial and residential development in the central zone of Cancún, overlooking the Nichupté lagoon. It would include 50,000 square meters of office and commercial space, 3,600 homes, condominium towers and a Catholic church.
Environmental groups have been fighting the project since it began, largely because of the destruction of mangrove forests.
Said one of the plaintiffs, four-year-old Ana, in an interview with Quartz: “If we cut everything down then we’re going to die. Trees help us breathe.”