Holbox, Q.R. — The Canadian firm Stantec reports that after their evaluation, the unspoiled areas of Holbox could support up to 9,000 hotel rooms over a 20-year period.
They say that a during a gradual process over the next two decades, the island of Holbox could host up to 9,000 rooms while the area of Chiquilá could accommodate up to 12,000 units of construction. However, the island of Holbox continues to suffer from serious infrastructure problems, such as saturated drainage lines and garbage removal.
The report will be considered by the Holbox Advisory Board who are in the process of putting together a new, updated management plan for land on the islands. The management plan needs to be prepared before November, before the current federal administration ends.
Holbox’s Advisory Council is made up of ejidatarios, private landowners in Holbox and Chiquilá, tourism service providers, environmental associations, academic institutions and authorities of the three levels of government.
Alberto Labastida Barrios, general director of the Pedro and Elena Hernández Foundation in charge of the contracting of the Canadian consultant Stantec, explained that the units for Holbox and for Chiquilá are top parameters, that is, the maximum construction proposed for a term of 20 or 25 years, but achievable in a gradual way. He says they could be built in phases of 3,000 rooms.
The Secretary of Ecology and Environment of Quintana Roo, Alfredo Arellano Guillermo, said that proposing the construction of 9,000 rooms in Holbox and 12,000 for Chiquilá will mean, in the long term, a population growth of at least 400,000 people, coupled with the demand of potable water and other basic services, adding that neither the municipal government of Lázaro Cárdenas nor the government the state have the technical or financial capacities to attend to those scenarios.
The Mexican Center for Environmental Law reports that the results presented by Stantec did not provide data on the environmental impacts that hotel development will have on the fragile environment of the island, both due to the demand for drinking water, as well as the displacement of wild species or erosion of the beach.
Ricardo Gómez Lozano, regional director of the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexican Caribbean of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas said that the results of the study are “one more input” in the process of elaboration of the environmental management plan of Yum Balam, and its technical and legal feasibility must be studied to be considered.