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From: Bonaire National Marine Park <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Subject: Bonaire Environmental Legislation in Peril - Beware of the camel nose
To: Bonaire National Marine Park <email@example.com>
The actual proposal of the Government of Bonaire in allowing the construction of piers for other than the specified in the recently approved zoning plan reminds me of an old Arabian proverb: "If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow."
The seriousness of this issue is something that you have to take into account if you want to imagine how the rest of your life will look like, either if you live here or visit Bonaire. If accepted, the Government proposal will be devastating for nature conservation and for the future of the Island.
This law proposal will take the entire ‘conservation’ effort out of the current law. More than 50 years of advanced environment legislation is about to go down the drain.
Developers will be allowed to build things in the Marine Park for recreation /tourism/bar and restaurant purposes. Recreation is a wide word and we don’t know exactly what else can come. On the new piers, developers will be allowed to build structures of maximum 5 meters high and maximum size 50 m2; this is almost a standard two stories building seating in a pier.
The maximum length of a pier can be 40 meters, all the way to the drop off in most of the island. The Government can allow constructions to a size 250 m2 with a height of max 5 meter; this is the equivalent of 3 to 4 small two stories apartments!!!......in the water!!!!.....on top of a pier!!!
They (the Government) can allow piers larger than this (without describing for what purpose or in which instances), so you can expect request to build larger piers with just God knows which structure on top or what for.
Finally, the Government can deny a request for permit if they are of the OPNION that what will be build is damaging to the coral reef. So, no independent expert Environmental Impact Assessment will be required. Just the “OPINION” (expert!?!?) of the Government is enough to decide if a proposal is damaging or not and therefor allow it or not……Good-bye science.
This is serious business if passed. It is not the 5 piers that they have proposed now. The problem is the 25 or more that they have denied in the past years, with good criteria and following the guidelines and laws that they themselves approved. Those are the ones that I’m afraid of. ALL of them will come back and ask for a permit and more will follow…….and then, the rest of the camel will be in the tent and it will be too late. We will walk our beautiful boulevard looking at the backside of restaurant kitchens, sundecks, 250 m2 two stories buildings and more. Good-bye horizon.
You can help to stop this proposal and keep Bonaire in the forefront of coral reef conservation where it always was. We have until February 2, 2012 to give our comments and object the proposal. You can log in http://www.bonaireweb.com/zoning/ and read more and download an objection letter. Be sure to clearly state what your interest is in this subject. Feel free to add or modify the letter as you wish. Print it, sign it and bring it to DROB office in Kaya Amsterdam. If you cannot personally bring it, sign it and send it to me ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), I will print it and bring it for you. Be sure to bring 2 copies and make them sign one as prove of receipt. Let the Government hear your opinion and make your opinion count. BEWARE OF THE CAMEL NOSE……Bonaire, its people and its reefs deserve better.
Ramón de León.
Bonaire National Marine Park Manager
P.O.Box 368 Kralendijk BONAIRE
Phone: (599) 717 8444 Fax (599) 717 7318
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