Cancun, Q.R. – The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) reports that nearly two years after the shut-down the mega-mall project, Dragon Mart, forest vegetation is finally returning to the area.
Approximately 357 hectares of mangrove and seaside area were destroyed at the El Tucán site in preparation for a Chinese mega-mall that would see 3,040 exhibition spaces for Chinese-produced electronics, software, toys, clothing, home-building supplies and other goods.
The project was being financed by a consortium of Mexican developers and a Dutch-registered company run by a Chinese businessman. Plans also envisioned housing for about 700 Chinese nationals in the middle of the complex.
In January 2015, however, Profepa suspended work on the $200 million project, confirming that the land was forestry-oriented according to local government environmental officials. Inspection visits were riddled with irregularities as Chinese entrepreneurs were not given authorization to build in terms of their environmental impact statement. No change of land use was authorized, yet, the land was cleared of all mangrove and jungle vegetation when developers obtained permission by appealing to state and federal governments.
As well as being permanently shut down, historical fines were imposed, handing out nearly 20 million pesos in environmental damage and restoration fines. A criminal complaint was also filed against the company for the destruction of natural vegetation.
The Mexican Environmental Law Center said the move set an important precedent by requiring builders to get permits and respect environmental impact, steps developers in Mexico routinely skirt.