We had an extensive interview this past week on site in the Bucerias main plaza- with Sr Jose Manuel Venegas – “Manny” – who is President of the Committee of Works. Nearly three hours including interruptions by the many involved engineers liaising with him – and dodging wood and metal toting workmen!
It was a very busy and noisy area with lots of men and machines working, and it seemed they were certainly trying their hardest to keep to the quoted completion date of 23 January… but it also appeared that was an unrealistic deadline. Manny estimated it would be a further 2 weeks – minimum.
In answer to the question “why now?” Manny confirmed what we had learnt from Mario Topete, as reported in our article posted on 13 December:
“We had no choice. They (the Federal Govt) said on the Tuesday, 10 December : ‘Here are the plans, equipment and money – take it or leave it.’ Work started the next day, on the 11th December.
“They did not check if it is high or low season; they did not consider or consult with the local people; they did not take into account the annual town fiesta.”
Looking at the plans, the first shows Estacionamiento (car parking) in the left hand corner, but don’t get excited, this is the existing carparking area owned by Miguel Angel. The Escenario is the new stage and the three Rampas go underground below it. Within the dotted lines the Explanada is a multi-use area with markings on it for basketball, volleyball and hockey. These markings were not in the original plan and have subsequently been submitted by the Committee. The Gradas outside of that framework are the new tiers of seating, so this can now be called an Amphitheater. The triangular areas of space will be landscaped.
The second plan from the same perspective shows the detail of the underground development: To the left a total of 10 toilet cubicles; 6 sinks, and 4 showers. The original plan had not provided for banos and again this was the Committee’s added proposal. To the right are two sets of changing rooms, (Vestidor) and at the far right, two bodegas for storage. Locals will be selected to maintain the banos, receiving pesos in exchange for providing toilet paper. The existing banos on road Bonfil, which are Ejidal, will remain.
The third plan is of the arch and yes it is a bit out of focus, but hope you will be able to understand it, we have asked Manny for a better photo!
The malecon’s width will be increased by 5 metres, going out over the beach to Restaurant Adriano. Steps to the beach will be improved. The road will be reinstated.
Behind the stage will be an arch. Originally the Committee had submitted a design being a curved arch as in the plaza at La Cruz, but with a wave effect curving up and down twice behind it. Made out of cantera with coloured mosaic tile representing the changing shades of the ocean, this was rejected by the Federal office as being “too similar to the Arcos arch at the amphitheatre on the Pto Vallarta malecon”. Instead that office have come up with a modernistic design which has the appearance of a football goal (minus the netting) but with one end higher than the other. The highest end is 5.40 meters, the lowest 3.66 meters, and the width is 19.50 metres. This is specifically: ” to not obstruct the view of the ocean from the plaza.” It will be made of metal – we commented it would soon go rusty. Manny had been told it would be a specially treated kind of metal. This angular design is actually more costly than the proposed one – the cost of this arch alone is 500,000 pesos (half a million pesos).
The original plan was that the road Alfredo V Bonfil running from the malecon would be completely re-done all the way to the highway 200. Because of on site modifications, that has now been downsized to only as far as Ave Mexico – and will extend to the left between the inland (East) side of the plaza and the church, and to the right – the tianguis alley – by 8 metres in each direction. Manny did not know for sure and asked two different engineers as to the final surface of the roads and the sidewalks, and they gave two different answers. But as of the time of our interview, it appeared the roads would be the stamped concrete (as used on Lazaro Cardenas) and re-use of the original grey bricks for the sidewalks. There is no provision for any mosaic or other decorative or artistic adornment as employed elsewhere, ie Pto Vallarta, Ajijic etc.
Manny has supervised that under the road Bonfil from the malecon to Ave Mexico that his has included major modifications to the sewer pipes and access thereof so that there will be no need to dig up this road in the future. Along this road can be seen the planters ready for landscaping. The original plans for all of the landscaping had not allowed for trees which give shade, only palm trees which look lovely, tropical and swaying. Manny was waiting for a landscaping expert to arrive, but it seemed the preference would be a tree “la mahua”, which apparently grows to 6 meters, has large heart shaped leaves, but these and the fruit do not drop as untidily as the local almond trees which were dug up, and can be shaped, like the ficus. Their root system does not cause upheaval to the concrete. These would be interspersed with the palm trees, therefore practical with beauty. There are no plans at this stage to fill the planters with plants or colourful shrubs.
Manny explained that anybody seated in the amphitheater would have an unobstructed view of the ocean. Where we were standing we had the untouched (so far) plaza behind us and the new amphitheater elevated seating in front. To the left and the right that was a wall approximately 4 feet high, and the central section wall was over 5 feet high. (This is in the background behind Manny’s photo).Even as I was commenting that I (5 ft 6″) could not see the ocean, the head of the Ejidal Association came over and said the same thing (in Spanish of course!). He said it was unacceptable, and we agreed. All of that section of wall has now been lowered to approximately 3 ft 6”.
Will this area be ready in time for the renowned annual Bucerias fiesta, 16 – 24 January? “No. ”
The Blessing of the Fleet on the 24th – the biggest tourist attraction? “Ermmm. They are working on at least getting the road finished.”
Where will the vendors and carnival booths and fairground rides go?
The last idea is everything will be in “el campo” – the sports field. (This is a huge area one block inland from the highway.
We understand there is more upheaval planned for Bucerias. This is Stage One, what about the other stages?
“Stage 2 will be to finish the road Bonfil to the highway. Possibly a continuation of the malecon. Possibly rearranging the Kissing Bridge area. Possibly improvement of the Arroyo area.
“Stages 3 & 4 will be possibly the malecon expansion, continued improvement of the streets.
“Stages 5 & 6 to replace the school at the plaza with a Macro Plaza – like a smaller version of the Gallerias Liverpool at Marina Vallarta. The Salon Ejidal could become like a Vallarta straw market with vendors inside. This would also be the time to construct underground parking at the (currently untouched) Northern end of the plaza.”
We know a school was built on the other side of the highway, up the Arroyo, with a really impressive pedestrian bridge over the Arroyo just like the one over the highway, in readiness to move all the pupils from this one. But the parents refuse to let their children attend there. Why?
“Because the school was built on foundations that are too shallow, something like 6”, and the parents are fearful that in the summer season when the river floods it could wash out the building. This was built at the Arroyo without any discussion with the parents.”
Where will the proposed Bucerias marina figure in these stages?
“We don’t know yet. The initial plans costing 3,600 pesos are with the Department of Agriculture and Fishing – the full studies for approval alone will cost 4 million pesos. Currently the project allows for 200 meters of malecon 25 meters wide. The marina will occupy one hectare of space from the sewerage treatment plant, accommodating 130 boats and will include one main dock for embarking and disembarking. Based on these plans the cost for the marina alone will be 100 million pesos. We will have three different proposals.”
Where is all this money coming from?
“Hacienda. And the SCT – Communications and Transport.”
What other surprises are in store?
“The majority of tourists staying in hotels in Nuevo tend to go into Pto Vallarta for their shopping and we want them to come here. To make that easier there will be a walking and cycling route from Bucerias to Nuevo.”
As Bucerias continues to develop, will we get our own Tourist Police? Our own Transito office? Improved lighting? Improved security?
“I don’t know, but I hope so.”
Thank you for all your time this morning, Manny. I know there will be many more questions! Please keep us up to date with all of the changes. Muchas gracias!