TNC and Regional Government get together to provide inclusion spaces in the Los Rios Region
Written by Daniela Contreras
Saturday, 23 May 2015 16:42
The Nature Conservancy (manager of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve ), the Regional Government of the Los Rios Region and the Municipality of Corral launched the first footpath with universal accessibility within a protected area in the region and also signed an understanding agreement to make the Chaihuín beach more accessible and the first inclusive area of this type in the country.
It was a special day. Not only was the Los Colmillos Footpath being launched in Chaihuin, the first inclusive footpath in a protected area in the Los Rios Region, the Valdivian Coastal Reserve , but also an agreement promoted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) with the Regional Government, the Department of Public Works, Sernatur, Senadis, the National Forest Corporation and the Municipality of Corral was being signed. This agreement is soon to transform the Chaihuín Beach into the first beach with universal access in the whole country.
Maryann Ramírez, TNC Manager Conservation indicated that in its more than 10 years of presence in the south of Chile, “ TNC has taken forward projects and initiatives that have stood out not only at a national level, but also on a global scale. Our conservation project, which has been valued and supported by institutions such as BHP Billiton (Minera Escondida) is moving forward stronger than ever. That's why I am grateful for the presence of all the authorities that are here today, in our home, the Valdivian Coastal Reserve ”.
The Colmillos de Chaihuin has 2 stretches of approximately one kilometre each. In the first part, it has several viewing sensory exploration points and informative signs in braille, that can be explored and used by visually impaired people. These were financed by the World Environment Fund (GEF-SIRAP) and the Ministry of the Environment.
Jorge Oyarzo, President of the Regional Disability Council took part in this project from its beginnings and indicated that “ first we provided the indications on the locations of the signs and what they should contain. Later, the system was done in braille and that work was carried out by Mónica Reyes.
When it was already installed, we came again to see how it looked and we could offer new suggestions. We believe that the work that was carried is extremely positive because as we have said before, our region must become model also from the point of view of the inclusion”.
Meanwhile, Viviana Ávila, National Vice-director of SENADIS, valued this public - private and until now unprecedented initiative. “ For us it is tremendously relevant to have all kinds of people gaining access on equal terms to the different private and public spaces and natural environment as privileged as this one. The big difference of this initiative and others that might exist in other parts of the country, is that it has been built thanks to the collaboration of several sectors given that it was not one specific institution but diverse institutions, services and corporation that have worked on it therefore there is more conscience in relation to the responsibility that will eventually help us advance towards achieving a more inclusive country”, she said.
At the same time, Egon Montecinos, Regional Governor, emphasized TNC’s help for this initiative and promised to keep on moving forward with other related projects. “We are offering a lesson to the rest of the country, since this experience allows us to proudly announce that this is a region that permits a universal access to enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in the country and that has made a great impact on me. We already have more than 100 million pesos invested in diverse initiatives of this type through our Regional Tourism Policies but we have to keep on advancing and this agreement is an example of how we must carry out other projects in the area of productive promotion and in other services that we have in the region ”, he explained.
The Chaihuín beach will be unique in Chile
The understanding agreement signed by TNC, the Regional Government, the Ministry of Public Works, Sernatur, Senadis, CONAF and the Municipality of Corral will allow to plan, develop and implement an intervention project in the Chahuín estuary, dunes and beach with a public use footpath and universal accessibility associated with the protected areas in the sector, that is to say, the Valdivian Coastal Reserve and the Alerce Costero National Park.
Referring to the above, Alfredo Almonacid, Reserve Manager and Coordinator said that the agreement was “ very important because on the one hand it reaffirms the commitment of many public and private players with the work that TNC carries out in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve , and on the other, it urges us to keep on working for the conservation and local development in an integrated and inclusive way ”. Almonacid added that this unprecedented collaboration agreement – unseen earlier on in Chile – will permit “Chaihuín to have world class infrastructure and management with an inclusive approach that will surely promote tourism that is respectful of the environment and of people and that will additionally offer protection regulations for the maintenance of a vulnerable natural ecosystem such as sand beaches dunes ”.
The CONAF representative added that the entity also valued the possibility of offering and bringing closer and without any restriction wild areas to all kinds of persons. Juan Enrique Rodríguez, the Regional CONAF Director said that “we want to keep cooperating with all the involved on the strengthening and developing the most inclusive future infrastructure and to bring our wild areas to the whole community and thus turn our region into a model to follow.”
MOP will take an active part in the initiative
The Ministry of Public Works, according to Jorge Alvial, the Los Rios regional representative, will take part in the initiative providing the technical capacity of the ministry’s different professionals and support to define some characteristics of the project.
At the same time, the Ministry will center public resources via the Roads Department on the asphalting project of the Chaihuín-Huiro road as part of its paving program. Another project to be carried out is the construction of a wharf and a fishing cove in the fluvial and marine zone of Chaihuín, which will be in charge of the MOP Department of Port Works.
Furthermore, the Roads Department via its Global Conservation contracts in the coastal area will also be in charge of ulex control along the coast, a shrub that damages the biodiversity and alters the ecological development of the tourist zones. “MOP will become part of interdisciplinary work of different sectors, staring a visionary project, which seeks to create conditions aimed at improving the quality of life of the people with special characteristics; all linked with tourism. It is a project that seeks to create an adequate access to the Chaihuín beach to all kinds of people and to do this a master plan related to the recently launched Colmillos de Chaihuín footpath will be implemented . But at the same time, MOP will carry out several road and port initiatives, which will benefit the Coastal Reserve project”, Jorge Alvial said.