Arianna Mckinney / Voz de Guanacaste
The Municipality of Hojancha is advancing with a project to relocate families that live in the maritime land zone of the bay of Carrillo Beach. In August, the municipality sent machinery to clear land behind the Carrillo community hall in preparation for donating lots to eight families.
Although the families who live in the bay signed agreements to accept a donation of land from the municipality a couple of years ago, they have no desire to leave their homes. Saturnino Lopez Mendoza, now 87 years old, has lived in his home on the bay since he was 10. His nine children were all born in this house, and his daughter enjoys raising chickens there, which she wouldn’t be able to do in town. When the municipality offered lots to him and two of his children, someone advised him to accept the land and later sell it, he related.
“It will either be the sea or death that takes me from here,” affirmed Lopez.
Another neighbor, Mauro Jose Sevilla Sevilla, has lived in his house on the bay for 16 years but said he was not offered a lot by the municipality. “They always overlook something,” he commented. As a fisherman, Sevilla noted that it would be difficult for him to relocate because he wouldn’t have a place to store his boat or motors or a way to transport them to and from the sea.
According to Leidy Carrillo, head of the maritime land zone department for Hojancha, the municipality is donating the land to the families that live in the public zone but each family is responsible for building their houses. However, she noted that they haven’t established a time limit for doing so.
So far, Carrillo said the municipality hasn’t had conflicts with the neighbors regarding the relocation effort. They have come to meetings about it and have signed papers to accept the lots, but she acknowledged that they have to wait until it is time to transfer the land, when the period of time allowed for relocating will be defined, to see what attitude the neighbors take.
Authorization for the municipality to donate the land to the families was approved and published in La Gaceta on September 8, 2011. The project was proposed by Juan Marin when he was mayor of Hojancha.