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Residents say concession holders have destroyed Tempisque River and put communities at risk

We hope that this is followed up on in the near future to avoid any damages in the upcoming months. ..

By Edgar Cantón / Voz de Guanacaste

Residents of the community of Los Angeles of Palmira in Carrillo, Guanacaste, reported that concession holders have destroyed the Tempisque River and endangered the community in case of flooding.

The neighbors are upset with the Ministry of Environment for having authorized a concession to extract sand from the Tempisque River, work which was done using a backhoe to descend into the river and remove the sand.

The  Tempisque River , or  Río Tempisque , is 144 km long, located entirely in  Costa Rica  flowing from the Guanacaste Cordillera  near the  Orosí Volcano  and emptying into the  Gulf of Nicoya .

The Tempisque River, or Río Tempisque, is 144 km long, located entirely in Costa Rica flowing from theGuanacaste Cordillera near the Orosí Volcano and emptying into the Gulf of Nicoya.

The head of the environmental office of the Municipality of Carrillo, Henry Duarte, said that at the time he had opposed the concession because it affected the natural defenses of various communities against the overflowing of the river during rainy season.

He said that the National Environmental Technical Secretary (Setena) approved the permit for sand extraction, despite the reasons given by the Municipality of Carrillo. The neighboring communities of Filadelfia, such as La Palmera, are concerned that the heaviest part of rainy season is coming up and they could be affected.

They said the concession holders broke the wall of the river in one of the river’s bends, and it could flood several neighborhoods. They are asking the environmental authorities to void the concession for extraction from the river with machinery. In the area, until recently, the only concession holders were sand artisans who remove the sand with shovels and use oxen to move it to a collection site.

 


Vacation Rentals to pay same taxes as hotels in Costa Rica

This was written today in www.InsideCostaRica.com , This is a law that if passed will be extremely difficult to enforce and Real Estate for condos in such towns as Playa Tamarindo and Playas del Coco will then possibly have less value.

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August 5th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Private homes and condominiums that are rented as vacation homes will have to begin paying the same taxes and fees as are imposed on hotels.

The measure will be imposed by the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT) as a palliative measure against the downward trend in hotel occupation, which hotel operators blame on vacation rentals.

According to the director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH), Flora Ayub, the regulation is ready and only requires the signature of President Laura Chinchilla to be published in the official Gazette, meaning the measure should come into effect in the coming months.

Ayub said vacation rentals constitute unfair competition because they operate at a lower cost and are not forced to pay the same taxes and fees as hotels.

Additionally, hotels are forced to pay for electricity at the “industrial rate,” which is significantly higher than on private residences used as vacation rentals.

In addition, vacation rentals are not required to carry a health permit, meaning should a grievance or complaint arise; it is difficult for customers to recover damages.

“We are not opposed to the [vacation rental business], what we want is that the rules are the same, that they have the same obligations as us,” Ayub said.

 


Construction Set to Begin at Major Marina Project in Playas del Coco

This is too juicy not to repost and we definitely will keep our eye on this. The Real Estate Agents will eat this up! We see a small problem as many of the boats in Playas del Coco could not afford to rent a slip in a marina.

Thanks to the original post by Jaime Lopez on July 23, 2013in Business NewsCosta Rica News :

It has been more than five years since public officials from the National Tourism Board in Costa Rica (known by the initials ICT in Spanish) traveled to Playas del Coco in Guanacaste to give their approval for an ambitious development project that will bring a massive luxury marina with enough dock space to accommodate almost 300 yachts and host of administrative and business facilities.

The Marina de Playas del Coco project, which is also known as Coco Marina in English, has been on the drawing board for nearly a decade. When the ICT public officials left the Punta Centinela area, the investors and developers of the most ambitious marina in Costa Rica hoped that bureaucracy would not get in their way, and it didn’t: The ICT gave a green light to the project in just a couple of months.

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That was, however, in 2008. While the officials of the ICT’s Interoffice Commission on Tourist Docks and Marinas evaluated the Marina de Playas del Coco project, the housing market in the United States was coming to the end of its inflationary bubble period and beginning its painful burst. Months after the ICT told the developers of Coco Marina to go ahead with their project, the subprime mortgage meltdown and the credit crunch almost collapsed Wall Street. The Great Recession set upon the U.S. and the European Debt Crisis loomed.

Costa Rica, like other countries in Latin America, fared better than expected during the global financial crisis, but the key tourism sector took a major hit since the flow of dollars was fueled by the misguided economic optimism that the housing bubble in the U.S. would never end. As a result, projects such as Coco Marina were shelved until conditions improved. That time seems to be now.

Sources familiar with the Marina de Playas del Coco project and Guanacaste realtors who work in the area have recently noticed some activity, and they seem to think that construction will begin in earnest later this year. The Coco Marina will be a boon to tourism in the area; Playas del Coco is already a magnet for visitors, and the marina is expected to generate business and employment both directly and indirectly.

The Municipality of Carrillo will be in charge of issuing business permits and contracts while the El Coco Marina Development Association (ASODEMAC in Spanish) will be responsible for construction and adherence to environmentally-friendly policies and requirements.

 


UPDATE: Road Construction

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As the construction continues, some parts have disappeared... As you can see in the previous post with pictures, this now shows that there have been some steps backwards. 

Why could this be? Miscalculations? Business concerns?

All we know is that there was curb forms in place and now they have been torn out for some particular reason.


Beware of the Jellyfish...

Along the beaches of Playas del Coco and Playa Ocotal, thousands of Jellyfish have been left on shore after the high tide went down. So if you happen to be walking on the beach, you may want to watch where you step if barefoot.

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High Seas Alert for Pacific Coast of Costa Rica

March 12th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com)  The Research Center for Marine Sciences at the University of Costa Rica (CIMAR) is warning that the country’s coasts will begin seeing rough seas tomorrow, and is warning swimmers and those planning to visit the beach to be cautious.

Omar Lizano, an oceanographer at CIMAR, warned of the possibility of strong rip tides which are responsible for the majority of beach drownings.

The conditions are expected to begin tomorrow and last until Monday of next week, and will affect the entire Pacific coast.


Do Politicians ever get punished in Costa Rica?

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While Johnny Araya, the mayor of San Jose prepares his presidential campaign, the Tribunal Contencioso has ordered his suspension for 15 days for authorizing the payment of $2 million in 2011 on a wasteful public spending project. City council members are debating the possibility of not carrying out the punishment.

- We shall see as this could possibly be the next President of Costa Rica.


Mayor of San Jose could be suspended....

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...and this could be Costa Rica's next President.

January 10th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The San Jose City Council has the green light to punish the mayor of San Jose and presidential hopeful, Johnny Araya with a 15-day suspension. This comes after the Administrative Court rejected the injunction that the politician had presented in an attempt to override the recommendation made by Comptroller General.

Araya could be suspended for 15 days without pay, at the decision of the City Council, which began considering the situation on Monday. Talks surrounding the issue will continue next week in a session that has been declared “secret,” though some sources state that the Council has already reached the decision to suspend Araya.

The case is related to an alleged approval of a public bid for amounts that were in excess of that wich were budgeted. The contract was given for the updating and improving of the land registry system, for nearly $2 million USD.  The contract was given to the Mexican consortium,Estudios y Proyectos de Ingenieria Urbana S.A. and Argeomatica S.A.

Araya has publicly insisted that he acted within the law, and that the contract was supported by the Council.  He has also insisted that the Council does not have the right to suspend him as he holds a higher-ranking position than the members of the Council.

Araya is currently the forerunner to win nomination by the National Liberation Party for the upcoming presidential race.


A follow up story is expected to read "Missing cash can not be located after arrests".

January 8th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Coastguard authorities in Limon stopped a vessel yesterday, which was apparently carrying a large load of cash. Martin Arias, Coastguard National Director, confirmed the detention of the vessel, stating that it was carrying a “large, very large amount of cash.”

Arias said that he was unable to provide more details at this time, as the investigation is ongoing.  Authorities apparently began investigating the cash shipment a few days ago, along with agents of the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ).

“The vessel was stopped in an operation with the OIJ, and we will be able to provide more information and details later on.”

Two suspects were arrested, identified by the last names Alfaro Gomez and Chavez Venegas.

A follow up story is expected to read "Missing Cash can not be located after arrests".


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