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A sign in San Pancho: 'San Pancho says no to predatory projects.' 'San Pancho says no to predatory projects,' reads the sign.

San Pancho march protests development

1,000 protest loss of 1,200 square meters of public beach

Residents of the small Nayarit community known as San Pancho staged a large protest yesterday against a proposed beachfront development.

Almost 1,000 people took to the streets of the Riviera Nayarit town officially known as San Francisco to voice their opposition to Punta Paraíso, which would see two six-story apartment buildings and one three-story condominium built on oceanfront land.

The disgruntled locals say the development would lead to the dispossession of at least 1,200 square meters of the town’s public beach.

The demonstrators called for the central offices of the federal Environment Secretariat (Semarnat) to intervene in the case, arguing that the project was approved “in an unscrupulous way.”

When the Semarnat division responsible for the management of federal land-maritime zones approved the proposal, it argued that the beach had grown and could be privatized under land reclamation laws, protesters said.

In a press release, the protest organizers also argued that the environmental impact statement (EIS) approved by the Semarnat Nayarit office contains “serious irregularities, such as denying that the area has welcomed nesting marine turtles in the last five years, which is completely false.”

In addition, protesters said that the “EIS was prepared by the office of the current director of urban municipal development and signed by the wife of the same person.”

The protesters argue that it therefore cannot be guaranteed that they “don’t have “serious conflicts of interest.”

If the project is not halted “around 30% of the beach could be irremediably lost . . .” the protesters’ statement said.

One way to put an end to it, protesters say, would be for the Nayarit state government to seek to guarantee the protection of the beach and its public use in perpetuity.

San Pancho

President Enrique Peña Nieto is scheduled to visit Nayarit next week and San Pancho residents hope to either meet with him to discuss their grievances or at the very least make their demands visible.

The Punta Paraíso development is backed by Canadian investors who are collaborating with the Mexican real estate development company Lemus.

San Pancho is located seven kilometers north of the popular beach town Sayulita and about 45 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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