The leaders of Playa Junquillal in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste have almost everything ready to install a boulevard walkway in the town, build trails along the coastline, bathrooms, trash cans, install 400 meters of bike lanes and even places to eat.
While city council members in this canton agreed at the end of April to approve the project, the most important thing is still missing: the money to build it.
City officials don’t know where the funds will come from or how much will be needed to complete it.
“The council would have had to have approved it in November 2017 in order to build that boulevard, or any other project,” said Onías Contreras, city hall’s chief of maritime zones.
A stack of files multiplies every month in the Maritime Zone (MZ) Department of the City Hall of Santa Cruz, where the new boss, Onías Contreras, tries in vain to attend to the thousands of sheets of paper with requests, expired concessions, unmade appraisals and other unfinished business.
These kinds of projects are often built with money that comes from concessions in the maritime zones (ZMT). But this year, the ZMT will only invest in the streets of Playa Prieta, Penca and Potrero with their budget of just under ¢59 million ($104,400) for improving tourist zones in the canton.
Nonetheless, the president of the Playa Junquillal Development Association assured that they are going to request a budget modification and include the ¢30 million ($53,100) in order to start the project in her community.
A Gem to Polish
Playa Junquillal is one of the gems of the west coast of Santa Cruz. Located 36 kilometers (22 miles) from Tamarindo, it’s a place that is frequented by surfers or those looking to enjoy sunsets. It’s also an important nesting spot for leatherback sea turtles, as well as olive ridley and green sea turtles.
It’s community of 180 residents depends mainly on tourism and construction, but in low season (from May to November) the majority of residents don’t have jobs, said Giselle Flores Villalobos, president of the Playa Junquillal Development Association (ADI).
This initiative is an attempt by the community to improve the local economy throughout the year. Their goal is for it to be “an example for other beaches and to improve the quality of life of residents,” Flores said.
Santa Cruz councilman Macdonald Espinoza explained that this type of infrastructure should be built along all the beaches in the canton.
“Building walkways is one way of providing conditions for visitors and of delimiting the entrance of motor vehicles to the zone,” said Espinoza, who promised Junquillal residents he would provide support from the council for modifying the budget.