Friday 2 December 2022

Chopping Down the Guanacaste Tree in the Heart of Nicoya Outrages Many

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2 December 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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The broad leafy branches of a Guanacaste tree that provided shade for decades in Nicoya’s park in front of the historic colonial church has been chopped down, saddening many for the loss of a tree that symbolizes the culture of Guanacaste and Costa Rica.

For example, Mey Obando commented, “They tore out one of Nicoya’s lungs,” on the social network Facebook page of the “Alcaldia de Nicoya.”

“Progress shouldn’t come by means of destroying but rather building, and if you don’t see more than a simple tree, you shouldn’t be called Nicoyan,” commented Christian Romero Arroyo, making reference to the project currently underway to build a new plaza in front of the church. “This country is sold to the world as being an ecological and green country!!! Now where will the green in this project be besides the moss that will grow on the square when it rains? You and I both know how hot it gets in Nicoya and the trees are an important part of the environmental balance. If we put more cement, it creates more heat,” he added.

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These are just two of more than 75 comments left on the mayor’s Facebook page.

According to Mayor Marco Jimenez, the tree was in the way as the municipality, in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism, initiated a project to build a Colonial Square in the area of the church and the Recaredo Briceño Park, a project that will cost 144 million colones ($288,000). “The tree impeded our construction of the plaza; in addition because it presents a danger to the infrastructure and human security,” the mayor declared.

Since the land where the tree was located belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Tilaran, the mayor indicated that they requested permission from Marvin Sanchez, the priest of the colonial church, who later requested permission from Minaet.

Gerardo Martinez, in charge of the Nicoya office of Minaet, affirmed that permission was granted to cut the tree down because it was causing damage to the structure of neighboring houses, pavement of sidewalks and public roads and sewage pipes. He also noted that the tree presented a risk that branches could fall in a heavily frequented site. When asked if there was an alternative to cutting down the tree, Martinez explained that neighbors had been asking to cut the tree down for some time and that nothing could be built in the area because of the tree’s roots.

Priest Sanchez could not be reached for comment.

By Arianna McKinney
Via Voice of Nosara

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