In order to not hinder progress on the Coastal Community Territories Law Project (TECOCOS), the portion that dealt with the Ostional Wildlife Refuge has been separated from the project.
“It is the same TECOCOS proposal, only that it will be dealt with as an independent project while presenting environmental studies required by the Constitutional Court (Sala IV) in order to complete the process faster,” explained Legislator Jose Maria Villalta, a presidential candidate of the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) part, to an audience of about 200 people on October 11 in the auditorium of Coopealianza in Nicoya.
If passed, TECOCOS would benefit more than 50,000 families that have traditionally inhabited the maritime zones of the coasts and islands of the country. The project was approved by the Legislative Assembly in the first debate on April 30 and then sent to the Constitutional Court for review. However, in August the court ruled on two points: that the first 50 meters of the maritime land zone cannot be inhabited under any condition, and that studies were required for the Ostional Refuge.
Wilmar Matarrita Matarrita, coordinator of the law project and also a member of Frente Amplio, said that they are proposing a new law project called the Constitution of the Ostional Refuge in Coastal Territory Law Project, with the same wording as the previous segment about the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, and Legislator Carolina Delgado is in charge of preparing the report. At the same time, the Univeristy of Costa Rica and the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) have been preparing the technical studies required.
Once published in La Gaceta, Costa Rica’s legal journal, Ostional law project will go to the Environmental Commission and the required technical studies will be presented and evaluated. Magdalena Vega, president of the Ostional Integral Development Association and a member of the TECOCOS commission, said she sees this as very positive and is confident that the studies will show that “here people can live together with the turtles.” As proof, she said that data shows that the number of turtles coming to the reserve has been increasing.
Meanwhile, the TECOCOS law project has been presented again, this time without the segments about the first 50 meters and the Ostional Reserve. The revised law project has to go to first debate again, which Vega hopes might take place as early as mid-November.
“It is feasible to vote on it this year if we hurry and there is support from the community,” assured Villalta.