COLOMBIA NEWS — The boardwalk of the Pacific town of Buenaventura, called the greatest urban renewal work in the history of the city, 13 years later after being announced in 2001, is still a dream despite available funding, at least for the first phase.
In February 2009 mayor José Félix Ocoró announce that construction would start in July (of the same year), but it appears to have been all promises, despite having on hand the technical studies of the Universidad del Valle, which has now been scrapped.
“But since June 13, 2013, when Findeter (the central government delevopment funder) took over the project, it has been a total failure, it has not made any serious decision and for me it is going to be frustrating, because it was something we came up with thinking about the future of the city. Now, they want to do it all from Bogota, without the local people,” said Jose Pablo Castillo, project manager and director of the Malecón Cruz Bay Foundation.
He stressed that all they have done is announce that they will make some adjustments to the original plan, “the boardwalk they want to build is very different to the original which had an international impact. What they are proposing is building a few football (soccer) fields.”
Findeter, said that this is not true, and that the construction of the boardwalk will begin in February next year, after finishing the new designs by the Spanish firm Steyco (the same as the advance studies of the Master Plan).
“The issue has been technical…,” said Jaime Osvaldo Marines, director Findeter in Buenaventura.
“It will be a work of international stature,” Marines said.
Nevertheless, to Findeter’s commitment to change the face of Buenaventura, have emerged voices against the project, like that of civic leader, Hernán Rodríguez.
For Rodríguez the District Administration should, before attending other matters, concentrate on solving the the problems of the city like the quality of the utilities, maintenance and upkeep of roads, improved safety, reduce unemployment and solving the problem of the public hospitals.
The Malecón will be a reality, it will be a space to be shared by all “Bonaverenses” says Wilmar Garcés, Planning Director.
“The boardwalk should be a representation of who we are in Buenaventura, preserving our customs,” said Garcés.