Editorial: Public Access to the Beach

Barbara Schaffer
Barbara Schaffer

Sustainable tourism means different things to different folk. It has to do with the wise use of resources like power and water, but it also refers to social outcomes. Many people choose to visit or live in Puerto Escondido because here the beaches are for everyone to enjoy; unlike other beach towns or resorts where the hotels have fenced off access to the Federal Zone and a caste system seems to separate visitors from the local population.

Continued access to the Federal Zone on the coast in Chila, however, is not guaranteed. Vivo Resorts on the Palmarito peninsula in Chila has already fenced off its land to bar public access to the beach and new tourist developments may follow suit. Some people defend this practice in the name of property rights, noting that local fishermen can use paths that are still open.

To my mind, the question is not about protecting fishermen and comuneros, but rather about allowing future members of our growing community equal access to the shore. It is up to the Bienes Comunales and the Municipio of San Pedro Mixtepec to decide the future use of Chila’s beaches. Will they only be open to people with vacation apartments and hotel guests who are here just a few months a year, or will they be a place of refuge and enjoyment for the entire community all year round?

Note: ¡Viva Puerto! is only published during the high season; the next issue will be in November.

Barbara Joan Schaffer
Editor and Publisher
954 582 2993
954 100 3507 cel

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