Going into its third year, the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce is undertaking a slew of new projects to improve education, clean up beaches and increase environmental awareness in the central Pacific canton of Garabito, home to the popular beach town of Jacó.
“The most important thing the chamber has done is to unify the community and business sector,” said Juan Carlos Rodó, one of the chamber’s directors. “It has worked as the main representative of the business sector in its dealings with the municipality.
In other communities, different groups have different initiatives; some of them overlap. The chamber unites the business sector and then works as one unit with the municipality.”
The organization, which has some 60 members ranging from property developers and law firms to surf shops and a tattoo company, serves a threefold purpose: improve the quality of life for businesses and their clients; give skills and resources to groups that provide services to the growing tourist population; and make nice with longtime residents who may resent the area’s recent transformation from a sleepy surfer town to a magnet for high-end developers.
Beyond serving as a pressure group focused on lobbying its members’ interests with local authorities, the chamber has engaged in several initiatives aimed at improving quality of life for all of Jacó’s visitors and residents. In the past, the chamber has worked to collect funds for the development of a specialized tourism police, promoted beach cleanup programs, backed a wide range of local education initiatives, funded the training of local lifeguards, and donated to regional efforts to protect the endangered scarlet macaw (see separate story on Page S7). The chamber was also very active in the drafting and review of Garabito’s proposed zoning plan, which could go into effect as soon as December (see separate story on facing page).
The chamber’s efforts to clean up Jacó’s beach have yielded notable results. A huge, yellow beach-cleaning machine dubbed “the Beach King” was donated to the community last year by Diamante del Sol condominiums developer and chamber member DayStar Properties. The machine attaches to a tractor and drags along the beach, picking up garbage.
The Beach King is assisted in this venture by a small machine acquired by the chamber that can weave around trees and pick up smaller garbage. A crew of four workers picks up big debris, such as logs and tires that the machines are not able to handle.
The chamber has also organized several beach cleanups involving local elementary and high school students.
Upcoming projects include promoting a much-needed recycling program in Jacó, supporting the local police force in acquiring the supplies it needs to tackle the region’s security problems, and cooperating with the GarabitoMunicipality in building a boardwalk along Jacó beach, Rodó said.
The Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce is always seeking new members, volunteers and help. For information, call 2643-8253, visit www.cenpac.net or stop by the chamber’s office in Jacó’s PacificCenter, in front of CableTica, Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.