Members of the community of Ensenada
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2009
More than one thousand petitioners call on Tiger Woods to abandon his golf project in one of Baja California's most Fragile Environmental and Cultural Landmarks
Local citizens and residents claim that the project violates local ordinances and negatively impacts the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
At the southern tip of Ensenada Bay lies Punta Banda. Considered one of the last remaining areas of endangered maritime coastal scrub habitat and place of numerous prehistoric and historic archeological sites, Punta Banda is a landmark for the local community. This spectacular landscape together with its natural and cultural heritage may disappear by the development of a Golf Course and resort designed and promoted by famous golfer Tiger Woods.
Last April, more than 200 local citizens and several local and international groups sent written communications to Mr. Woods regarding the negative impacts of his project. However, Tiger Woods remained silent to this request to abandon the project.
Also, several community members demanded that Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conserve this place intact. "We fear that if this project moves forward, we will lose part of our history and part of our land. Punta Banda would be wounded to death" said Carlos Lazcano explorer, speleologist, renowned international journalist and member of the local community. INAH has yet to determine the actions that will be carried out to protect and conserve the archeological remains.
Yesterday, a second communication was sent to representatives of Tiger Woods, this time more than 1200 signatures from the local community, civil society and interested parties from around the globe, -some even admirers of the celebrity- requesting that he act differently and join worldwide efforts to combat climate change and environmental degradation.
¨The project Punta Brava is not in accordance with the natural and cultural attributes of the area known as "La Lobera". The project falls outside Mexico's sustainable and legal standards", said Gabriel Camacho, a local resident and long time visitor of Punta Banda.
For this reason, a coalition of local non-profit organizations and individuals are already preparing the lawsuits that will be filed in case the project is approved. Paula Pijoan from the Ensenada Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation said: "We will make sure that the environment and culture are respected but most importantly that the rights of the local community remain unaffected".
During the public consultation process related to the project, local scientists, community members and activists pointed out numerous glaring flaws and inconsistencies in the environmental impact report presented by the promoters. This lead the government's Environmental Secretariat (SEMARNAT) to request additional information from the developer. A project of similar dimensions in the developers' own country could easily take years and millions of dollars to be approved. In this case it is not yet clear what plans the federal bureaucracy at INAH or SEMARNAT have for the area. Although the Mexican Constitution guarantees the rights of Mexican citizens to a healthy environment as well as their cultural heritage, local residents have been alarmed to find that the area has already been fenced off, denying all access. Additionally, local residents have pointed out that municipal land use ordinances for the area do not allow the construction of this type of development in this fragile zone, and yet the permitting process continues.
Local community leaders, scientists, residents and activists fear the loss of cultural and natural heritage at Punta Banda. The resort as planned would destroy acres of archeological sites as well as fragile coastal and marine ecosystems home to a wide variety of endangered and endemic flora and fauna.
For more information, contact:
Carlos Lazcano 52 1 (646) 175 9038
Moises Santos Mena 52 1 (646) 148 9907
Gabriel Camacho Jimenez 52 1 (646) 161 4158
Fernando Ochoa Pineda 52 1 (646) 171 5348
Claudia Leyva Aguilera 52 1 (646) 136 9161
in San Diego
Aida Navarro (619) 261 2060
Mike Wilken (619) 578 3149