The following is excerpted from the web site of WildCoast.
Public road access to one of Baja California’s best waves, Punta Salsipuedes, is history.
Surfers accustomed to giving the local family a few dollars to park and camp are now being turned away by security guards. Salsipuedes is part of the current development wave washing over coastal Northern Baja. Marketed to Americans as affordable coastal living, these developments are sprouting up from Playas de Tijuana to Ensenada.
According to the daily business report, San Diego Metropolitan, once completed, “Salsipuedes will have a boutique hotel and a mix of condos, homes and estate-size lots plus a commercial village with stores, cafes and restaurants…Salsipuedes will become a retirement or vacation haven of 2,680 residences and guests in the five planned village hotels.” Salsipuedes is being developed and sold by Grupo Lagza, a binational real estate development company whose goal is to “attract 80% of its clients from the United States” and who are marketing Salsi as “Baja’s Big Sur.” Recently, Surfrider’s San Diego Chapter shot down an attempt by company representatives for a “surfer friendly” endorsement of the Salsipuedes project. Among their promises was the claim that surf access would not be restricted.
Public access, though guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution, is seldom enforced. According to Serge Dedina, Executive Director of WiLDCOAST, this is a problem not only for surfers but also for efforts to protect the Baja California coast. “Without coastal access for local communities building an ethic of environmental stewardship is nearly impossible. How will the average person ever understand the need to protect our coast if they’re barred from using the beach?”
Environmentalists are also concerned that the development at Salsipuedes will adversely affect the coastal water quality. According to Fernando Ochoa, a lawyer with Ensenada’s Northwest Environmental Defense Law Center, the ease by which Baja’s coastal developers are acquiring their project permits means that they often circumvent the required environmental reviews, including those for sewage treatment.
Grupo Lagza already has a less-than-stellar environmental record. Earlier this year WiLDCOAST found Residencial San Marino, another of the company’s developments, discharging sewage-contaminated wastewater onto the beach at Baja Malibu.
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