History of Costambar
IT’S A COMMUNITY EFFORT
Costambar was focused on inviting foreigners. We each brought expectations from our own country and often hear complaints that the legal system isn’t as we would like it. The same complaint is heard over a range of infrastructure issues. We bought our property, or live here, because we love the country, warts and all. If things aren’t the way we like them, then we get together to make the changes that are needed. The Dominican Government has made great strides of improvement over the years, and so have we.
In 1996 Rbt Harrison, then VP of APC put out questionnaires to set priorities for the concerns of the community. They were (1) Security (2) Water (3) Electricity and (4) Roads.
Roads – 1996 a group of APC volunteers put together a deal through the Governor of the Province of Puerto Plata and Obres Publico for the government to pay 80% of the cost of some roads in Costambar while the rest was to be raised through contributions. In this way we had 11 kilometers, out of the total 18 kilometers of road paved. We still try to maintain these roads through fund raising.
2011 – The road from the main gate to the Autopista was paved under a program put in place by the present El Sindico to improve all of Puerto Plata’s roads. APC had little or no involvement in this improvement.
Water – 1997 The elected Board of APC took a legal action to INAPA against Costa De Amber SRL, the maintenance company that was using the water supply as a weapon to collect fees, when the water came from 5 wells in San Marcos that were polluted with more than 300 parts of eColi per milliliter. The hearings lasted from October until August 18th 1998, when the Board of Directors of INAPA ordered the Director to provide potable water to Costambar. Costa de Amber appealed the decision but lost their appeal then closed their maintenance office on September 15th, 1998. We have a working relationship with the present Executive Director of CORAAPLATA.
Security 1998 to present
1. 1998 – The guards who were in place were terminated and we tried to get security by hiring security companies. This didn’t work because they were too costly and inefficient, so we started hiring our own guards with mixed success until 2010 when members of the Board of APC took a more aggressive approach and vastly improved the security service.
2. 1998 – Garbage collected by Costa de Amber SRL had been dumped at the extreme western end of Calle Colon was picked up by APC employees and rented trucks then taken to the Mimon dump. That effort took five days.
3. 1999- A DR Brush Cutter was purchased through contributions to cut the vacant lots were jungle like empty lots that created a security risk.
4. 2003 – Regulations were prepared to cover conduct within the project. These regulations were drawn from existing statutes in place within the Dominican Republic and have agencies with prime responsibility for enforcement. We work in cooperation with those agencies, such as Tourism, Media Ambient, AMET, the National police, and Forestry.
5. 2006 – Contributions were made to complete a perimeter wall protecting the project by setting clear boundary lines. The gate and some of the wall was built by Costa de Amber SRL.
6. 2007 – A program requiring domestics, workers and contractors employees to obtain and present Carnets at the gate was instituted such that we could identify people who had valid reasons for being in the project and question those so identified.
7. 2011 a Security Committee was set up to encourage members of the community to contribute for essential accessories such as weapons, uniforms, radios and CCTV, as well as direct involvement of the National Police. At this point our security became far more effective.
Electricity – 2013 – Plans were presented to the community in 2003 by EDENORTE to install a 24 hour supply of electric power with funding from the World Bank, but exigencies caused this plan to be put over from year to year until 2013 when a contractor installed the present lighting and electric power system. This was another Government initiative and APC had little to do with its success, although we work with the Customer Service representative.
We hope this Web Site will serve to be a milestone for the community to encourage involvement from all of you who call this either their first or second home.
1. 2003-04 – Members of the APC Board were contacted by elected officers of the Puerto Plata Chamber of Commerce to say that a generating plant belonging to Keppel Fels was to be installed next to the Smith Enron plant. It was a barge based plant managed by a Singapore firm. Protests involving most the City and Unions as well as a report and direct contact with the Singapore Company caused them to locate elsewhere. It also cost the Superintendent of Electricity his job, because of his overbearing approach to the problem. The
demonstrations were aired on CNN.
2. To coordinate the many organizations involved, a non profit company Movemiento ProRescate de Puerto Plata Inc. was set up with elected officers from the different groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, APC, the Federation of Junta de Vecinos, and the Hotel Association.
3. 2004 – A contract was signed by the El Sindico/Ayuntamiento to install an incinerator in Playa Negra. The garbage was to be trucked in from Santiago. The familiar pattern of protest, although nothing like the ones against Keppel Fels, caused the contracting parties to reconsider and the project was scrapped.
4. 2004 – Shell Oil obtained an agreement to install and tank Farm in San Marcos south of the Zona Franca. Based on our previous successes it was only necessary to meet with company representatives to stop them from proceeding.
5. 2006 – The Barcelo Company set out to install a Tank Farm on the coast in Guzmancito with the support of the community; however Rio Hotels were affected and complained. Members of the Board of Movemiento ProRescate de Puerto Plata Inc met with the community, the Governor and the company, who withdrew their plan.
6. 2008 – During the previous five years contact with Media Ambient was maintained by members of Movamiento ProRescate de Puerto Plata Inc Complaints were made, reports submitted and studies carried out concerning the levels of Sulphur Dioxide and waste being emitted by the 4 Generating Plants in Puerto Plata. They were ordered to install scrubbers to relieve the problem. Sensing equipment was installed to monitor emissions – one is on top of Jenny’s Market.
7. 2008 – At the time of the execution of that order Jose Polanco, who was both the President of Movemiento ProRescate de Puerto Plata Inc and APC was personally designated by the Secretary of Media Ambient authorized to have direct contact with the Secretary for the purposes of maintaining an environmentally friendly North Coast.
It’s been generally quiet since then, and service has improved from Media Ambient.