Government Not Enthusiastic About The Project, Environmental Organizations Concerned
Aruba Tradewinds Times by Eddy Ramou
May 28th 2008, Aruba.
Land area construction Eco Resort
SAN NICOLAS-Aruba will receive its first fully eco resort near the boarder of Arikok National Park, in the area between Boca Prins and Fontein. The property on which the resort will be constructed is owned by the Lacle family. The Lacle family and a group of Venezuelan investors have joined forces to develop the area with 59 timeshare villas and 44 hotel rooms. The hotel will be named Arikok Green Village & Eco Resort.
Once the resort is completed, it will be the most environmental friendly property in Latin America and the Caribbean. The resort will be much greener than hotels found in the most eco friendly destinations in the World such as Costa Rica and Brazil.
Environmental organizations and nature lovers on the island are very concerned with this new development. Jorge Trevino, one of the Venezuelan investors behind the project, admitted that the
government is not enthusiastic about the project. A lack of knowledge on the environment and the management thereof are the possible reasons, said Trevino.
When Trevino presented the plan to the Department of Infrastructure and Planning (DIP), there reaction was "why so green?" It implied that there was no need to be that friendly with the environment, said Trevino. He answered DIP: "so that there is no negative decision on the project!"
The intention was to start with the construction of the project in October of 2007. Developers are still waiting on the green light from the government who would rather see the National Park and the areas surrounding its boundaries development free.
Investors will only inject money in the project if it is supported by the government, said Trevino. However the huge plot of land is owned by the Lacle family, long before the National Park and its boundaries were established, it basically means that the family can do whatever it wants with the land they own.
Maria Cristina Lacle member of the Lacle family says that she wants something good to be done with the land. It is therefore that they sought the cooperation of the management of the National Park in the project. The oldest governor home on the island is owned by the family and is located on the land. Trevino is surprised that the home is not on the national monument preservation list. The home will be incorporated in the project and will be converted into a museum for the public.
There will be rules for locals as well as tourists to enter the eco resort. The use of plastic bags will be strictly forbidden on property. Smoking is not allowed on property. Cars are allowed to be parked in a designated parking lot, and visitors can either walk or take an electric golf cart to the entry of the resort.
The frame of the eco villas will consist of special environmental friendly wood imported from Colombia. The walls will be made out of mud, a technique used for making homes on the island during the 19th century. There will be little use of cement material.
The many open spaces on property and the open frames of the villas should provide enough cooling, and make the use of air-conditioning unnecessary. However there will be special air-conditioning beds that are energy efficient. Project developers are still debating on how to provide the property with electricity. The intention is to install wind mills that would produce clean energy, other alternatives are being studied. Water supply will come partly by the natural source of drinking water at Fontein.
Aruba has many advantages above other eco destinations, said Trevino. "The island is overall safe. If you start an eco resort at a destination in Latin America, you would have to build a high wall to make sure guests are not robbed or kidnapped. Aruba has many activities at a short distance. You can be surrounded by nature, or you can choose to go to a casino or swim in Palm Beach if you like, which is 20 minutes away. If you are in an eco bungalow in Brazil, then you are in the middle of the jungle, and there is no other different activity to do in the large jungle."