Guanacaste’s Hyatt Regency Under Investigation

May 9, 2008

The Hyatt Regency Azulera, a $300 million luxury beachfront resort under construction in Brasilito, is among more than a dozen developments under investigation for potential environmental damage, said the Environment Ministry’s Environmental Tribunal yesterday.

The tribunal was in the northwestern Guanacaste province this week doing surprise inspections aimed at catching real estate developments violating environmental laws.

According to the tribunal, the Tamuz of Tamarindo, also in Brasilito, Punta San Francisco in Tamarindo, Bahía del Sol in Playa Potrero, Mar Serena in Zapotillal de Cabo Velas and El Castillo residences in Zapotal de Carrillo are among projects under investigation.

In addition, inspectors stopped three construction projects and opened cases against 17 vacation rental homes, some now slated for demolition by the government, that were built inside the borders of the Las Baulas National Park, in Playa Grande.

The Hyatt, which attracted Tourism Minister Ricardo Benavides and Public Works and Transport Minister Karla González at its groundbreaking, is perhaps the highest profile development to catch the eye of authorities in these sweeps, which have already gone through the central Pacific and the Caribbean province of Limón.

The tribunal’s president José Lino Chaves told The Tico Times, “We have doubts as to the protection of the riverbed, the logging that was authorized and what was carried out, and the large movements of earth,” he said.

Tribunal spokeswoman Gabriela Hernández said more than 300 trees were cut down to make way for the site in areas identified on plans as forest.

 

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