In Samana, paralyzed tourism projects

June 19, 2010, 12:40 AM
In Samana, paralyzed tourism projects
Written by: Odalis MEJIA
Tourist facilities near completion, without environmental permits were paralyzed in the Samaná province for because of environmental concerns.

SAMANÁ. Dozens of tourist facilities near completion, but with no environmental approvals, were paralyzed in the Samaná province by order of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

Builders who started these projects without the proper paperwork have been levied environmental fines. In some cases, contractors begin construction without the final title of the land.

Developers say that they attribute this to the slowness in the Environmental permit approval process, citing that there are records whose applications for environmental permits take up to three years.

The shutdowns include the four municipalities, Samaná, Sánchez, Las Galeras and Las Terrenas. Las Terrenas alone has had 24 work halted. Others have been resumed recently. Such is the case of the Balcones del Atlantico. They were detained eight months and only resumed a few days ago.

Las Terrenas projects involve more than 500 new tourist rooms, with an investment of over $ 121 million.

According to the representative of the Environment in Samaná, Rafael Emilio Gomez, builders are starting to start the work even without a permit or certificate.

Gomez stated the argument that the Environmental permits take a longer time to issue a license. These are sensitive issues.

About how many projects are paralyzed by the Environment in the provinces, Gomez could not specify. because this is a matter for the Deputy Minister of Environmental Management, in the capital, responsible for technical oversight and to issue licenses.

Jobs .- Paralysis of work also affects hundreds of construction workers, merchants and suppliers.

Ramon Rafael Frias, general secretary of the Workers Union of Construction, Wood and Allied Workers of Las Terrenas, said the situation dramatically hurts many.

He said workers have failed to receive millions of dollars and contractors have lost substantial resources with delinquent penalties for late delivery of work and fines. He acknowledged that a significant percentage of works were commenced without authorization, but argued that they should be able to get, after paying the fines and enforcements, its environmental permits.

Processes
Prior to granting the environmental license or permit, the developer has to issue an Environmental Impact Statement (Dia), which details the effects of the work in the environment and natural resources. This document is evaluated by Environment, from there, granted the authorization.

Commission
According to Ramon Rafael Frias, construction workers for months to set up a commission which visited the Deputy Minister of Environmental Management, Ernesto Reyna, who had stated that many permits were only awaiting signatures, and that this would be done to streamline processes but this has not happened.

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