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Nicaragua's Ocean Playground Threatened by "Public" Pier PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Just south of the town of San Juan, Playa Yankee is a local favorite that spits out perfect, hollow barrels when conditions are right. This ocean playground will soon disappear for the sake of the privacy of one man.

Piero Coen Ubilla, a Nicaraugan businessman who, among other things, owns the Western Union franchise in Nicaragua, is also the owner of the land that fronts Yankee Beach. Although beaches in Nicaragua are public property, Ubilla has managed to create his own private beach by placing an armed guard at one end and now a pier at the other.

Ubilla bought permits for the pier construction from MTI (Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure). "This most likely means that he wants to pull boats to it,” explains Donn Wilson, a Nicaraguan resident who opposes the pier. “If that is the case, it will destroy the break, among other things such as sea life and the natural marine habitat." The construction plan also includes the use of explosives in fragile marine areas, where parts of the natural reef will be blown up. This reef is host not only to an epic surf spot, but is also home to many endangered marine species who will be drastically disturbed by the new construction.

Although Ubilla claims to be building a public pier, his actions and intentions demonstrate otherwise, by locking and arming his gate so that the public can't access the beach. It is obvious to surf camp owners, surfers, and local residents that Ubilla is using loopholes in the law to eventually have a stretch of Nicaragua's Pacific coast all to himself.

A group of devoted surfers, environmentalist and marine biologists have come together to fight this injustice. A recent rally opposing the project was successful in halting the project for the next month, which will give MARENA (Nicaragua's environmental agency) enough time to review the permit and assess the site. This temporary halt in the pier’s construction is seen only as the beginning of a long and complicated battle, and it is crucial that those opposing the project keep the pressure on until the end. Wilson advises, "Our concern is that this temporary halt will only allow for our momentum to subside, allowing them to continue. We have to push until the permit is revoked and reparations are made to the damage already done."

To help save “Playa Yankee”, click on “Help Save the Wave” and sign the petition and letter to the Nicaraguan government.

Save the Waves needs your support! A donation will greatly help us continue our conservation work, as well as our ongoing effort to educate the world's government and industry leaders that surf spots are an invaluable and irreplaceable asset to any coastline.

 Help Save The Wave

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 July 2007 )
 
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