In the 2020 municipal elections, Nosara had a huge abstention rate – 63.5% – and it was the district belonging to Nosara that voted the least.
The municipality’s lack of attention to the district is a recurring argument among the people of the community of Nosara. They even called a plebiscite in 2018 in an attempt to become administratively independent from Nicoya. Five years later, the community is organizing to try again.
Representation of people from Nosara in the municipal government has also been low. In the last five administrations (more than 20 years), only one person from Nosara has become a council member.
On February 4, two candidates from Nosara will be on the ballot to be municipal council members: Ileana Avilés from The Gran Nicoya Party (3rd place) and Yéssica Gutiérrez, from the Progressive Liberal Party (1st position).
On February 4th, every Costarrican citizen will receive three ballots. What do they have to decide in each one?
Avilés, 43, is director of the program “Vive el Sueño” (Live the Dream) and secretary of the David Kitson Senior Citizens group. She also has a flower shop, an ATV rental company and another business that rents mulitas (a vehicle similar to a golf cart). For her part, Gutiérrez is a private chef and owner of a house cleaning company in Nosara.
The two candidates agree that being from Nosara gives them the knowledge and opportunity to position specific community issues in the municipal government. The Voice spoke with both candidates to find out their positions on six recurring concerns among the people of Nosara.
1. What do you consider to be Nosara’s main challenge and what is your proposal in this regard?
We have serious problems with Nosara’s EBAIS [clinic]. About six months ago, they started seeing patients with the evening session, but nevertheless, the following happens: There’s an accident in Nosara and the doctor has to go [to Nicoya] and the other people who are there waiting for an appointment are left without an appointment and maybe they also have an emergency. So I feel that in Nosara, it’s time to have a clinic or a CAIS like Cañas has, where there are better facilities and more personnel to care for the population.
Security is the main challenge. I would love to establish or try to have a municipal police force in Nosara.
2. Security: In 2023, the number of homicides in Nosara was one of the community’s concerns throughout the year. Mention three suggestions for how security in Nosara can be improved.
1- Coordinate and support the video camera program [current municipal project].
2- Be able to create a Municipal Police Force.
3- Create an agreement with OIJ and the Tourist Police so that the tourist police that are already in Nosara have the power to take complaints from the local population and not just serve tourists.
1- One for me, which I have always thought about, would be to put cameras in blind spots, escape points for murderers.
2- Another would be community security… Community police would be a good option.
3- Close businesses that have a lot of illegalities such as the Tres Amigos Bar, for example. Homicides have taken place there and all that.
3. Environment: Nosara is a community with many environmental problems: ocean pollution, the emergence of clandestine garbage dumps, the felling of trees, encroachment upon protected areas, among others. What do you consider to be the environmental priority that should be addressed?
There is too much construction, and we don’t have a specific place where all the waste from that construction will be deposited. They take advantage of afternoons or nights to leave it on the banks of rivers and streams. In the rainy season, that is where the floods come. So all of us who live on the riverbanks are the ones who are affected. The municipality has made an effort to have one day when the municipality is here, but they really need more days and need to have inspectors come to carry out inspections.
Take care of the Nosara Animal Care animal shelter. Also watch the rivers a little more because they have been poisoned. We always find dead shrimp and a lot of things. And also, like, the garbage. I want to remove that by any means possible. When they go fishing in the sea, they catch the smallest fish and throw them out as if it were nothing. So I think protecting those parts would be great.
4. Urban Growth: In the absence of a regulatory plan and with a boom in new construction, what development model or rules do you plan to promote to ensure sustainable growth?
Hotels have to have septic tanks with a good [amount of] space where they really have somewhere to go to deposit all “the history.” Here I know that there are septic tanks in super large buildings that don’t have good drainage. And for inspections to be a little more rigid because that’s a huge impact on the environment. We’ve seen the development in front of our eyes, but we haven’t been able or the right people haven’t been there to have a regulatory plan, until now that it’s being [developed].
A lot of construction without permits. That would be good to keep a closer eye on it because the poorest families get caught super quickly when they’re building a super small house, and the “Americans” build mansions and don’t have much supervision.
5. Inequality: How could we work to reduce the social and economic inequalities present in the district?
There’s a very good economic income in the part of Guiones where the vast majority of us Ticos benefit. But what is happening? Many people don’t like to work. Part of that comes from academic training. The kids don’t aspire to study at a university because of the great distance we have to go to Nicoya and aside from that, the economic situation of the parents. Converting the Nosara High School into a technical school is a project that I would support 100 percent because for me, education has a lot to do with society… One of my goals is to be able to instill music, culture and sports in children.
At this point, we have too many foreign workers. This has taken away the jobs from Costa Rican workers. That would be one part, having a work permit for Nosara or any part of Costa Rica they go to. Increasing income is important, right? That’s a good part and having a little more support from ourselves.
6. Streets: What’s your assessment of the road conditions in Nosara and what would be your proposal regarding road improvement?
Well, in Nosara, we have a lack of sidewalks. It is extremely dangerous now for pedestrians to walk around in the parts that, thank God, are paved. For neighbors to build their own sidewalks [in collaboration with the municipality]. It’s no secret to anyone that the way back from Arenales is in great need of being paved. There many people are getting very sick from the dust. San Pedro, the road that leads to the high schools, is very important. And in Ribera Norte (North Bank) maybe not pave, as I told the neighbors, but rather maintain it with a good gravel. I feel that the river has enough material to be able to remove that material and reuse it in the streets of Nosara.
The streets in Nosara always have giant potholes in them. Right now, they are new but there is no guarantee that they will last long. Even the bus is being affected and doesn’t want to go through Arenales. And all the repairs are done on little parts. We have to joint together the streets [repairs]: the center of Nosara, Arenales, Santa Teresa. Fixing the streets in parts is giving us crumbs. It isn’t fair… I think that if there is money, it [should be done] all at once. Why are you going to go little by little?
7. Plebiscite: Do you support creating a municipal district council in Nosara through a plebiscite or not?
Yes, I support the plebiscite. I know that there are people trained to be able to manage everything that Nosara has… We must start with something. Right now, it’s to have a voice and a vote in the municipality to be learning and know how to manage and how to solve the community’s problems.
Yes, I support it, 100 percent. I think Nosara deserves to have that. It’s time for us to take charge to make more proposals due to the percentage [of money] that Nosara gives to the municipality of Nosara.