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Municipalidad approved the start of operations of the Gas Station
By Oliver Pérez

On December 21st, eight years of disputes between the Nosara Civic Association (NCA) and the gas station’s owner, Roberto Suárez Villalobos, were left behind as the Consejo Municipal (Town Council) granted the operation permits for the gas station; six out of the seven councillors were in favor of granting the permits – José Antonio Méndez was the only one who opposed–.

At 2 p.m., nearly thirty Nosareños arrived at the municipal offices with the purpose of requesting that the councillors grant the permits. Councillor José Antonio Méndez justified his opposition to the agreement. According to the him, the Council should have awaited for the Tribunal Ambiental to analyze the report that was requested by the Biology School of the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, so that they would be able to determine if the area is considered a wetland.

“This is why I let President Mary Luz Gómez know that it was best to wait for the Tribunal Ambiental’s ruling; if this was not done, the Municipalidad will have to pay for the damages incurred. I understand the need for a gas station but it must be established in an adequate place. Gómez did not allow me to be part of the voting process, thereby taking away my rights as a councillor. In spite of this, I requested that it be put on record that I voted against it. Now all we can do is wait for the reactions and let the town council assume the consequences”, mentioned Nosara’s councillor.

Marcel Schaerer, Vice-President of the Nosara Civic Association, expressed his disagreement with what he feels was a rushed decision, on behalf of the town council, to grant the permits. “The Council will not have the final saying because our struggle is not over yet; we will appeal this decision because they should have waited for the Tribunal Ambiental to have the final word”, stated the businessman.

Emel Rodríguez Director, at the time, of the Área de Conservación Tempisque (ACT) showed at the start of this year, through a study done by the wetlands expert, Juan Bravo, that such a site of blueprint G-546525-84 is not a wetland and therefore, the project should be declared viable; this was the request or recommendation given by the Secretaría Técnica Ambiental (Setena). Based on this information, both Setena and the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones agreed to its operation.

Roberto Quirós Coronado, who represents the Suarez’s, told the Voice of Nosara that it is now time to conclude this five-year dispute. “In July, Setena ruled that the area is not a wetland and therefore, Minister Jorge Rodriguez granted the concession of the service; with this almost all the necessary permits were done and it was only necessary for the Municipalidad to grant the commercial license. Now a long and tiresome process is finally over”, expressed with satisfaction the gas station’s legal advisor.

On December 21st, at 6 p.m., the gas station was opened and it is dispensing fuel.

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