SANTIAGO – The coastal city of Papudo stands out for its valuable native forest. Nevertheless, the woodland has been destroyed at an alarming rate as a result of massive construction in recent years. “Salvemos Papudo” is trying to stop or slow it down.
Papudo is located in the Valparaíso region. It is well known for its significant and beautiful landscapes and beaches, which attract tourists every summer. Some might say it is being loved to death, though, as major development in recent years has eaten up large swaths of native forestland.
The latest and most controversial project is the “Punta Pite Lookout,” which is the largest real estate development of ocean views between Papudo and Zapallar and covers about 60 ha of land. However, the project is being investigated for illegal logging of native trees.
“Salvemos Papudo” Movement
For decades, various social organizations have demanded the updating of the current planning instrument (Plan Regulador), which defines the development policies, such as distribution of population, land use, and building conditions, among others.
Sergio Rebolledo, the coordinator in chief of conservation group “Salvemos Papudo” (“Save Papudo”), told Chile Today that Papudo’s current regulatory plan is old and out of date and does not take into account improving the virtues of Papudo. “An example of this is that residential areas are being constructed on the hills without taking the proper safeguards so that this [the construction] does not damage the landscape and natural heritage of Papudo,” he said.
Rebolledo also pointed out that Papudo’s native forest is considered a global biodiversity hotspot and that this plan “does not take care of this biodiversity, which is mainly housed in the ravines, where residential projects are being carried out, including roads that would cross this natural heritage.” “From that point of view, I believe that it presents a risk both for the quality of life for people, in terms of eliminating green areas, and not caring about the tourism that is associated with the natural wealth Papudo offers,” he added.
Y así es Hoy el RíoHuasco (Vallenar). 8 megaproyectos mineros que demandan agua para uso industrial lo están SECANDO pic.twitter.com/rwhPWpMbuR
— Andrea Cisternas #AsambleaConstituyenteYoApruebo (@misharf) February 4, 2014
Regulatory Plan Favors Developers
The current regulatory plan that governs Papudo was created in 1969. Over the last few years, modifications have been presented through various proposals and meetings, but disagreements remain about the possible new terms.
Social organizations have been supporting the “Salvemos Papudo” movement, because the current proposal for the new regulatory plan would eliminate green and recreational areas, allowing even more real estate expansion.
Rebolledo emphasized that members of the public have repeatedly requested to participate in the process, but the municipality has not allowed it. He says the municipality’s lack of interest is telling: they are strongly committed to a plan that favors real estate development “and that is exactly what we are trying to prevent.”