Holbox, Q.R. — A company hired to analyze the island of Holbox for potential projects says that of the 5,000 hectares, approximately 1,300 are suitable for construction.
The findings are from the Canadian company Stantec, who were hired earlier this year to analyze potential project development on the island. Stantec, who are an international service company in the design and consulting industry based in Edmonton, Alberta, had some contrary findings to previous analysis.
Previous findings stated that building on the island was not recommended due to high levels of existing contamination and the potential for hurricane damage.
Jorge Herrera Silveira, a scientist at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mérida, noted that “everything that has to do with construction on mangroves is prohibited.”
He explained that Holbox is a barrier island which makes it vulnerable before the onslaught of a natural phenomenon such as a hurricane.
“You must not forget that they are barrier islands that are subject to natural erosion. If they destabilize the barrier island, goodbye Holbox for everything that is built there.
“When a hurricane comes to pass in the middle, the island cannot take it since with a hurricane, the sea level will rise,” Herrera Silveira warned.
Stantec agreed with the rising of the sea level, noting that approximately 5 percent of the island will be lost over the next 25 years due to the rise in sea level, something that will be detrimental to the ecosystem and construction developments.
They also noted that over the last 13 years, approximately 20 meters of beach have already disappeared, adding that for every year to come, another one to two meters will be lost noting that dealing with the rise in seal level will be a challenge to maintain.
During their meeting with the advisory board of Holbox, Stantec members pointed out that taking into account the type of flora and fauna of the area, the climate and the erosion of beaches, any developments must be sustainable.
To balance the load of tourists, they stressed that the growth of hotel supply and services should be parallel between Chiquilá and Holbox. Without establishing densities, they still proposed three development frameworks to create a destination that includes Chiquilá, considering that it is the natural gateway to the island.
Stantec recommended three types of growth, which was low, medium and high, with less than 25 rooms per construction for the first, between 25 and 100 rooms for the second and 100 to 400 rooms for the high.
“The first scenario is to do low development in Isla Grande, medium in Isla Chica and Chiquilá”. The company also added there should be more accesses to the island to meet the demand for maritime transport.