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Citizen complaint leads Zofemat to request removal of illegal hotel fence on Cozumel beach

Cozumel, Q.R. — The Iberostar Hotel on Cozumel has removed a beach fence they had erected, completely closing free public passage.

Ricardo Lizama Escalante, director of la Zona Federal Marítimo Terrestre (Zofemat) in Cozumel, explained that due to a citizen complaint about a wire fence being strung across the beach preventing free passage, they went to verify to complaint. When they arrived, he says officials did find a wire fence had been placed from the hotel property to the sea, completely closing beach access.

“We made an inspection visit and indeed, unfortunately this concessionaire did have these restrictions for free transit in the federal area,” acknowledged the head of the Zofemat. The verification was made with both Zofemat and la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (Conanp) officials who explained to them that according to the law, they cannot erect a fence within 20 meters of where the last wave breaks.

Lizama Escalante said the hotel was told they must leave free public access in those 20 meters and that failing to comply would result in their concession being revoked. He added that the Iberostar hotel understood they had made a mistake and resorted to removing the fence. He said both parties reached an agreement and the wire and wood fence was removed.

The Iberostar hotel, which is located on the southern part of the island, told federal authorities they put the wire fence in place to deter theft. The hotel, like most others, are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He says that all hotels, beach clubs and any other concessionaires in the Federal Maritime Zone can to go to the agency and ask for their staff be trained in the responsibility, obligations and rights that must be observed when being a concessionaire.