City Council votes in favor of
Development Plan for Puerto Morelos
The plan forecasts the building of 23,000 homes on the
west side of the town of Puerto Morelos in an area very susceptible to flooding.
After Hurricane Wilma hit in 2005 that area was flooded by four feet of water
for several months.
While the City Council debated and voted on the plan residents of Puerto Morelos protested outside City Hall saying they had not been given the opportunity to express their scientific findings at length.
During the protest, hydrobiologists, specialists in sustainable development, scientists, marine biologists, architects, world-renowned coral reef experts, business people, tour operators and children spoke about the lack of basic infrastructure that the town has at present. Bringing in such a large development without proper planning could kill the coral reef, which is one of Puerto Morelos' main tourist attractions.
Some of the arguments used against the development plan
Councilwoman Berenice Polanco from the Convergence Party congratulated the community of Puerto Morelos saying, “There is a large scientific community in Puerto Morelos that has been advising the residents. I am happy for their participation because they are not only critical but also proactive. They have every right to protest and I commend them for that.”
Last year residents asked that two members of the community be named as representatives on the Municipal Committee of Housing and Urban Development; an academic and a citizen. That petition was ignored.
Many mentioned that the plan was put on the "fast track" to be approved by the city council this year. They argue that this is not an urban development plan but rather a Real Estate Business Plan, which would generate a demographic explosion without any possible sustainability.
This new plan also had a modification in the number of hotel rooms to be built in Puerto Morelos. It dropped from 14,580 rooms to 10,973 rooms.
Environmentalists, who have spearheaded the protest
against the Urban Development Plan, along with the scientific community said the
signing of the new plan was the “death sentence for Puerto Morelos.”