Mexico: Community & activists raise concerns over impacts on water, community, local fishermen of Mira Companies' Tres Santos project

Residents of Todos Santos, in Baja California, Mexico, as well as academics and activists, have raised concerns about impacts on poverty, development and access to water that could be caused by Mira Companies' Tres Santos property project.  Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Black Creek Group, the founder and now owner of 50% of Mira Companies, to respond.  It sent a response from Mira Companies, below.

Todos_los_Santos_Baja_California_Credit_Gabriela_Flores

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Article
17 November 2015

Mexico: Fishermen & locals protest against Mira Company's Tres Santos tourism & residential complex over negative impacts on their livelihoods

Author: Viviane Mahieux, Ecologist

“Colorado State campus mega-development steals Mexican beach - you call that 'mindful'?”, 2 Nov 2015

Resistance is growing in Todos Santos, Baja California, to a tourism and University campus mega-development of 4,500 homes…[L]ocals fear it will drain their aquifers and obliterate a harmonious community…Water scarcity has long been an issue…Tres Santos has already bulldozed endangered mangroves, disfigured a beach, built a private reservoir that holds more water than the town's own, and reportedly is requesting permits to build eight more private wells…Meanwhile, local citizens are organizing to protest the project…[F]ishermen and community members blocked the road to the beach development, halting the construction and pressuring Tres Santos to respond for their loss of livelihood and displacement. More protests have followed…

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NGO rejoinder
14 October 2015

Rejoinder to MIRA response regarding the touristic project of Tres Santos

Author: Viviane Mahieux, Associate Professor of University of California, Irvine

Thank you for becoming involved in the matters surrounding the MIRA/Tres Santos mega-development in Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico….[T]he links [MIRA] includes in his response all lead to publicity and promotional material for the Tres Santos project, not to facts…Below I list Mr. Barrios’ questionable assertions…No scientific study has been made public…One cannot “pay” OOMSAPAS [the local water authority] for additional water rights, in fact, this is not legal…Historically the Todos Santos aquifer has been in deficit…To assure the concerned public and the fishermen, MIRA is asked to provide all of the data…Tres Santos needs to make their plans public, and needs to be accountable for these plans. Without this evidence, the community has no reason to believe their intentions…

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Article
29 September 2015

Colorado State University comments

Author: Colorado State University

Colorado State University (USC) is appreciative of this donation, which provides us with an opportunity to establish an international center in Mexico. This center will support the US government initiative to increase educational exchange between our two countries, and provides our students and the Todos Santos community with unique, mutually beneficial learning opportunities. The university is in the process of completing a comprehensive assessment of community educational wants and needs, and will begin developing educational programs for community members specifically based on that feedback. We also are developing opportunities for CSU students and faculty to learn and conduct research in the Baja California Sur region through the center, in partnership with regional experts and community members. CSU believes we can learn from Baja California Sur residents, and also share our own knowledge, creating cultural exchange and global learning, benefiting both of our communities.

Company response
29 September 2015

Mira Companies response

Author: Mira Companies

We are not aware of research that supports materials in either of the articles or the website mentioned... Regarding water use in Todos Santos, we are deeply aware of the effects of the drought and the basic water infrastructure problems... To minimize the impact from the Tres Santos development on the town (both while under construction and ongoing), Tres Santos is creating its own water supply and infrastructure... Tres Santos supports the long legacy of the fishermen at Punta Lobos and the important contribution they make to both the culture and food supply of the region. The Beach community at Tres Santos will not take over any part of the beach that has been concessioned to the fishermen... [also addresses community impact]

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Article
18 September 2015

When Mindfulness Goes Wrong: a Mega-Development’s Deceptive Branding in Mexico

Author: Viviane Mahieux, Counter Punch

…Todos los Santos is getting…[a] real-estate project called Tres Santos…Colorado State University’s first international campus [has already inaugurated]…But the campus’s coziness with Tres Santos and with MIRA, the Mexican affiliate of Colorado-based Black Creek Capital…have unsettled both the…community and…students. The campus is supposedly built on gifted land, but CSU does not have full ownership of the trust…Tres Santos has already bulldozed endangered mangroves, built a private reservoir that holds more water than the town’s own, and reportedly is requesting permits to build 8 more private wells. Such a large-scale luxury project can only exacerbate inequality and result in various forms of displacement…

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Article
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Author: Truth Santos, B.C.S.

 …Despite saying that Tres Santos “will not utilize any of the current municipal water supply in Todos Santos”, Tres Santos recently applied for and received enough water concessions for the first 66 homes. Water is always in short supply for the current residents …[S]ince [2013] there have been no waste treatment programs, no publicly accessible unpaved roads…There is controversy also because construction workers drilled into one the towns underground aquifers and then filled parts with concrete so that the water is diverted to the Tres Santos project…[F]ishermen have been confined to just 100 meters of the beach…

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