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Site plan for hotel development turned down by Semarnat. Site plan for hotel development turned down by Semarnat.

520-room hotel near Tulum turned down for environmental reasons

La Calma would have been located next to a turtle sanctuary

The federal Secretariat of the Environment (Semarnat) has blocked the construction of a 520-room resort between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Quintana Roo, due to ecological concerns.

The company Palmares del Country was planning to build a project known as La Calma on land fronting Xcacel-Xcaleito bay, located in the municipality of Tulum but just 25 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen.

The 26-hectare development was to feature 520 rooms spread across 23 buildings as well as an artificial lake, its own network of roads, a parking lot, a lobby and a water treatment plant.

But Semarnat denied the required environmental permits on the grounds that the project would place both land and marine ecosystems at risk and have a negative impact on three endangered species of sea turtles, which feed, breed and nest in the turtle sanctuary adjoining the proposed development.

Several citizens’ groups officially registered their opposition to the project as soon as they became aware of it, submitting a complaint to Semarnat’s environmental risk division on February 19, the newspaper El Universal reported.

The same groups held at least two protests against the project and created an online petition calling on President Enrique Peña Nieto to reject the environmental permission sought.

The federal department formally ruled against granting environmental permission to the project on August 31 and notified the applicant of its decision on September 11.

Semarnat previously refused to authorize a smaller 75-room development on the same site, also citing concerns about the impact on sea turtles.

The Xcacel-Xcaleito Sea Turtle Sanctuary has been designated as a natural protected area and is the largest observed turtle nesting area on the entire Yucatán Peninsula, receiving green, loggerhead and hawksbill sea turtles.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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