Do you know where you were on August 10, 2021? For those of us who spend the summers in Puerto Vallarta, it is a day we will all remember. That afternoon the excavation occurring on Calle Santa Barbara in preparation for the new development called Serena – came violently crashing down. Thankfully there was no loss of life; however, the landslide significantly disrupted the lives of those who live and work on that street. Businesses were closed for several months, some neighbors have not had water for nearly five months, employees have had their incomes significantly reduced, and no one can use the street to access the other side.
On Wednesday, January 5th a meeting was planned between Susanna Carreño, local journalist and activist from Radio Universidad Puerto Vallarta 104.3, to conduct interviews with those people and businesses who were impacted by the landslide on Calle Santa Barbara. Even though she was late in arriving, the extra time gave ANA an opportunity to share common information with the nearly 40 attendees.
One Interview Leads to Two
At approximately 1:16 pm Susana Carreño arrived and explained her late arrival as a result of her spending time with the Federal Secretary of Environment & Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) María Luisa Albores González who had spent the previous days with representatives of Districts 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 regarding ecological issues in the city. Amapas is a part of District 9. Susana’s meetings with Mexican President Lopez Obrador had brought the attention of ecological issues and corruption to his attention. She shared there was to be a video with English subtitles of what has happened in the area.
Susana Carreño shared with the group that the Secretary of SEMARNAT had completed her analysis and diagnosis of the problems in Puerto Vallarta. There was now a dictamen from the Department of Disaster Prevention that there was to not be any other buildings here. The Secretary of SEMARNAT will return to Puerto Vallarta on February 28, 2022. Susana offered to get us a meeting with the Mayor and SEAPAL at which point she immediately contacted the director of SEAPAL via cell phone. He offered to attend the meeting in session.
Director of SEAPAL, Engineer Salvador Llamas, arrived at 2:20 pm and was greeted to a round of applause by the remaining attendees. Robert Howell greeted him cordially and reminded him that we had yet to hear any response to the Manifesto we had sent to the City nearly three months ago. He also asked if it was true that the person who contributed to the problem – the landslide – was indeed expected to fix the problem. Robert requested a response from the Mayor and the acceptance of our Civil Engineer to
represent the neighborhood in any repairs. Llamas later confirmed that the City is looking into several
ways in which to get the work completed on Calle Santa Barbara in a quicker manner. This could include
alternative repair contracts under City direction.
While there was no money to fix Calle Santa Barbara when this new administration came into office, this week the City has finished securing estimates from SEAPAL, IZZY, TELMEX, CFE, and Obras Públicas regarding the work that needs to be done in the area. The next step will be to get an estimate from different construction companies as to the costs of redoing Calle Santa Barbara by Villa Serena.
Initially the work had begun by the developer; however, the developer stopped the work when he filed a lawsuit against SEMARNAT. The City has also filed a lawsuit against Villa Serena. The winner of these lawsuits will determine who is financially responsible for the repairs of Calle Santa Barbara. Once the work is approved it will take at least five months to complete.
Since significant damage occurred to the surrounding infrastructure in the area, Salvador Llamas made a compromise with the neighbors. The water pipes will be connected within 5 weeks. When the final work of the street is finished, the City will need to temporarily cut the service to add it properly to the street works.
- Calle Santa Barbara will be fixed. Initially, it may only be for pedestrian use but it may not stay this way forever.
- Neighbors on Calle Santa Barbara should expect the reconnection of the water pipes within 5 weeks – approximately February 5th. However, it is important to realize that the current water issues in the city will still exist.
- As part of the meeting held with the Federal Secretary of SEMARNAT Llamas shared that building construction and their environmental impact will be reviewed directly by the Secretary of the Environment, in order to avoid local corruption.