Akumal, Q.R. — The lack of attention from local authorities to provide a solution to the problem of charging admission to access the beaches of Akumal Bay has caused blockades on roads into the coastal area.
On Thursday, locals blocked the beach access road in protest of a new proposal to charge a fee for those wanting to enter the beach, even though authorities are saying that only visitors, not local inhabitants of Akumal, will have to pay.
The idea to charge non-locals to enter the beaches at Akumal Bay has been ongoing, however, tourist high-season has arrived and Centro Ukana, who argues that they have rights to the entrance to the bay, are wanting to implement a fee to enter the beach.
“The fact is that you no longer have free access to the beach. People now have to pay and it is for that reason the town’s people are blocking access to the coastal zone since they all depend on the bay,” said David Diaz, a guide from Akumal Natural Wonders.
Javier de Anda Morales, attorney for the Ukana Center Akumal (Cuiac), said that after a meeting with the secretary general of the council, Gilberto Gomez Mora, it was agreed that they are required to preserve the rule of law.
“You cannot make statements and obstruct the free movement of citizens. The reality is that Ukana Center is open and all you are doing is modifying access to the property, but it remains free for the people of Akumal,” explained the lawyer.
Javier de Anda Morales adds that they have outlined a commitment in regard to a proposed fee in that 100 percent of the money would be donated back to the community with 33 percent going to maintain beach services – bathrooms, showers, lifeguards, with another 33 percent being given to CEA studies and the remaining 33 percent for the town of Akumal.
Akumal town clerk, Gilberto Gomez Mora, said, “We are trying to reach agreements that allow the people of Akumal to have free access to the beach,” but admits they are in a very difficult position.
According to Centro Ecologico Akumal Communications, “While the demonstrators claim they are protesting a proposed fee, what sparked the protest was the closure of the path entrance for commercial traffic to be redirected off the main vehicle road to a larger entrance just 30 meters away. No fee is being collected for commercial activity. And the path entrance remains opens for locals, also without fee.”
They added that “The issue here in Akumal is not a simple one; it is complex and multi-faceted.”