08 de Dic de 2022


Who’s paying for the “green” space?

The Cinta Costera, the $189 million Cinta Costera, the much hailed green space for the people of the city and beyond, is to be paid for ...

The Cinta Costera, the $189 million Cinta Costera, the much hailed green space for the people of the city and beyond, is to be paid for through increased taxes for those who live, or have businesses near by. And how near is nearby? Try Bella Vista and Calidonia.

As one indignant restaurant owner said to me recently: “What benefit will the new parking lot have for my business?”

Parking lot? The latest figures from the MOP, show that the green space will host 2,000 parking spaces, and then there are the new roads. With all of that in play only 20 percent of the total area will be providing recreational space. So why are there giant bill boards at either end of the development showing happy families rushing to enjoy all that green space? And the project is still lined with beautiful graffiti portraits of greenery, blue skies and sparkling sea.

So if the “green” project is really another paving area, designed to speed traffic to the next bottleneck, why are the neighboring residents being asked to cough up?

We will be following up on that question. It should also be put to Senor Virgilio Crespo , running for re-election as the deputy for Bella Vista. Or, if returned, will he be afraid to rock the party boat.

PARKING FEES. This is not the first reference to illegal parking and lack of enforcement. Apart from easing street congestion and improving traffic flow, the resulting cash bonanza from ticket money could do much to improve the city structure. Has consideration been given to charging for those parking spaces on the “green” belt, and lifting the extra tax burden from the residents and businesses in the area? And is it too much of a problem for the city to handle, sell the parking franchise to the highest bidder? It’s big business in other cities. There are millions of dollars floating around among former owners of diablos rojos. They may not know how to drive, but surely they could handle a car park.

THE TOURIST LOOK. Time was when foreign residents were cautioned against dressing like a tourist (Palm Beach shirt, camera around the neck, a night club tan etc). Now there’s a new law in place that will increase the jail sentence for those found guilty of attacking tourists. On first reading, it looks like an extra two years in La Joya for biffing a tourist over the head. So better to look like one as the authorities obviously believe this extra punishment will reduce attacks. Dream on.

SEASONAL NOTE. Did you know that yesterday was Little Christmas Day , otherwise known as The Feast of the Epiphany (The manifestation of Christ to the Maggi). Monday was Little Christmas Eve, and also Twelfth Night , the last day of Christmas.

So one ex-pat, with a fondness for making traditional British Christmas puddings, held a twelfth night soiree, where the guests were fed the pudding, flambed with brandy, and served with lashings of brandy butter.

The point of the story is that, with only 20 invitees, nine different nationalities were represented. A true measure of the ever increasing cosmopolitan population of the city.

It has a little way to go to catch up with some Northern cities, in Toronto, Canada, for example, over 125 different languages may be heard on the subways. But Panama is getting there. We even have a magazine in Russian.