First Phase 4 condo project

slated to begin in February

By Staff

Updated information on the progress of Phase 4 will be shared when the Colonos Assembly convenes at 9:30 a.m. Dec.12 in the Dreams Hotel.

The developer is expected to note some security measures being continued as the Phase 4 project rolls toward the end of infrastructure placement, such as building a new security fence along the border with the highway. In addition, base material is in place for extension of the golf course but a timetable for completion has yet to be devised.

Some of the developer’s security measures will remain in place while the roadways remain private property and until the roads are turned over to Colonos control. For the uninitiated, the Colonos is Puerto Aventuras’ property owners’ association that maintains the resort’s roads, security and gardens. It is funded by maintenance fees from hotels, condos, lot owners and villas and several other fees including building permits.

Seven more houses set

Of Phase 4’s 130 lots, 50 have been sold so far, according to the developer’s office, and five homes either finished or under active construction with seven more in design and planning to begin construction in 2016.

As part of the continuing new housing, developer Roman Rivera Torres said last week construction will begin soon on 44 condo units in four buildings on land south of and adjacent to the Phase 4 entrance on Blvd. Puerto Aventuras. The development, named “Bliss,” will begin pre-construction sales in the middle of this month and actual construction Feb. 1. Price range is under $299,000. More information available at the Puerto Aventuras sales office next to the Omni Hotel.

Among other items to be discussed is a new strategy for the reclamation of beaches on Fatima Bay – a long-awaited improvement sought by association members – budgetary and auditing reports and setting the maintenance fee for 2016.

Voters must register

Voter registration for owners of homes, condos and vacant lots will be held Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 7-9 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m in the Colonos meeting room above the Oxxo Convenience Store.

Voters may register in person by showing identification or by proxy, requiring a simple proxy document valid for the meeting date, signed by two witnesses and accompanied by identification of grantor and proxy holder. Condo owners who do not wish to cast a vote are usually represented by their condo management.

Condo managers and hotel representatives can register on one day only, Thursday, Dec. 10, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.

Association rules require that voters must be up to date in maintenance fee payments, requiring they bring such evidence to the meeting. Anyone wishing to raise a topic for discussion should present the intention to Colonos management by Dec. 4.

Traditional Colegio Christmas Bazaar from 12 to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, new items only, and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (new and used items). Reserve booths now at the school. The Saturday bazaar includes family activities and entertainment… Monthly recycling this Friday, Dec. 4, at the skate park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m….Colonos Assembly to be held Dec. 12 at Dreams Hotel…

The street lighting program continued its progress yesterday on Privada Xel-Ha. The work is creating some dust and residents are asked to take precautions… An art lecture on Mayan murals of San Bartolo, Calakmul, Tulum, Xelha, Cacaxtla, Bonampak will be delivered in Spanish by Maestro Claudio Obregon from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday ,Dec. 11, at the PA Art and Information Center. Admission is 100 pesos and space is limited. More information at 984-802-9047.

Christmas reminder that the Colonos office is now accepting gifts and/or money to buy presents for Colonos employees who do such a good job maintaining the community. Gifts can be brought to the Colonos office during working hours. The gifts will be distributed at the annual employee party in the Poblado on Dec. 18. “As usual we look forward to your generosity,” says the Colonos board of directors……

New game in town – A French game called “Petanque” is coming to Puerto Aventuras for a one day only tournament beginning at 11 a.m., Dec. 12, at the Information and Art Center. The game consists of hurling pitch balls of hollow metal at a smaller “target” ball to see which team can get the pitch balls closest to the target ball.

The game here is expected to draw players from Playa, Tulum and maybe Merida, said Gladis Perez of the Information and Art Center. The rules are simple and anyone of any age is welcome to play, she said. The tournament is free, will be accompanied by an art show and is expected to last about two hours. It is sponsored by Le Bistro Cafe…

It’s property tax time again and agents from the municipality of Solidaridad will be present in the Colonos meeting room for two weeks offering substantial discounts for payment. A 25 percent discount is in effect during December and the agents will accept payment from Monday, Dec. 7 to Friday Dec. 11 and also Dec. 14 through 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a 15 percent discount for those who pay in January and 10 percent in February. The Colonos advises that those who pay more than 10 taxes should send their catastral numbers (property number) to f_aranda1@hotmail.com…

Trivial Pursuits Sunday, Dec. 13, 4 p.m. at Latitude 20 with Shannon Rachynski. Proceeds go to the needy. The last event raised 2500 pesos for the youth center in the Poblado. People are asked to bring an unwrapped Christmas gift for the children. The featured band this Friday night is “Exiliados” that played a recent birthday party to appreciative applause… Annual road race scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31. Sign up at the Colonos office…

Commerce Corner…

Costa Realty buys KW Realty

franchise to expand services

By Staff

Costa Realty, whose two executive officers have a combined 60 years of marketing service and sales experience in Cancun and Riviera Maya, has embarked on an expansion plan that has included the purchase of a Keller Williams franchise, a leading brand in the international real estate industry.

Although headquartered in Cancun, Costa Realty recently opened a major KW market center at the corner of Highway 307 and Arco Vial Road across from the Centro Maya plaza in Playa del Carmen. The site is festooned with large red and white KW bunting that is difficult to ignore.

Stefan Kneffel, CEO and a Costa Realty partner, has 30 years of real estate marketing and sales experience. So does another executive partner, Jorge Casab, both of whom oversee a current sales force of 110 agents and aiming for a goal of 350 eventually blanketing Quintana Roo from Cancun to Tulum and other municipalities.

Costa Realty, with long and successful ties to Puerto Aventuras, teamed with the KW franchise “because we believe in the system and the teaching model. Mexico is the wild west of real estate and needs to get the industry in order to regularize it as it has been in the United States,” Kneffel said.

He explained that through the KW system, agents brought into the system are regularly trained through the so-called KW University via 840 different seminars in 17 countries covered by 125,000 agents.

Costa Realty’s reach for improved professionalism of agents comes at a time when the company has an inventory in excess of $800 million and 2016 projected sales of $200 million USD.

Kneffel explained that through the KW teaching model, independent agents are rolled into the franchise and regularly taught motivational skills, sales techniques and new habits to promote self-generating prospects.

Concern for buyer and seller is incorporated in the KW “belief system” which includes: Win-win or no deal; integrity, do the right thing; customers always come first; commitment in all things; communication, seek first to understand; creativity, ideas before results; teamwork, together everyone achieves more; trust starts with honesty and success results through people.

Faith in the KW training method is such that Costa Realty is currently hiring ambitious people with no experience who are willing to enter the KW training cycle. While Costa Realty currently has links with legal professionals, notaries and banks to better serve clients, it looks forward to having those vital services in-house as the company continues to evolve.

For more information, click on the KW Playa logo at left to reach the web site or call the number on the logo.

Hotel group says illegal rental

properties cut into profits

Tax collectors on the lookout for scofflaws

By Staff

The area hotel industry is complaining that private rental properties operating without permits are cutting into mainstream hotel income, mainly in the peak December season.

Andrea Lolito, president of the hotel association, said while there isn’t an accurate measure of losses, it is apparent that private rentals do not pay taxes or for permits and can charge a bit less, depriving taxpaying businesses of profits.

Municipal treasurer Gabriel Castro earlier announced a municipal initiate to find scofflaw operations and bring them into the taxpaying mainstream for the good of the hotel association and the municipal treasury. Unofficial data show some 800 such operations already suspected, mostly in the shadows of the central tourist area. Checking and following the local laws might be a good idea for landlords who want to avoid potential problems.

Briefly Noted…

A security camera has been placed at the main gate residential exit as part of improvements in the security system. Try to smile on your way out even if you’re grouchy. Some new faces in the security force are also evident, the result of several guards leaving recently to work with the former security chief at Barcelo… Four monkeys of various sizes were reportedly spotted together here a few weeks ago by a local resident, giving rise to hope another family will be giving residents glimpses of their entertaining antics…

Too close for comfort was a car accident at the Puerto Aventuras pedestrian crossing where a car flipped over and landed on its roof last Thursday near the fence at the bottom of Bahia Chemuyil. It’s a reminder to drive defensively when entering the highway from the main gate access road. No word on injuries… A fatal accident occurred Monday night when a construction worker was killed while trying to cross Highway 307 in front of Barcelo’s. Police say the victim was inebriated and that the driver of the car stopped to await the arrival of help…

Akumal’s Ecological Center was among three entities that have failed to pay pledges of an aggregate 2 million pesos to the Council of Cuenca Yucatan Peninsula for regional water protection projects… Local weather of high winds and torrential rain brought losses to marine businesses last week, swamping boats in Playa and discouraging tourist activities on the water as the port was closed, Nonetheless, this was reported to be the driest hurricane season in five years…

Drug truck seized – A truck from a company called Beaver was stopped in Playa del Carmen last week carrying 50 sacks of methamphetamine. Authorities were to escort the vehicle and its cargo and crew to Cancun for action by the attorney general… Meanwhile, workers on the beach of a hotel in Tulum discovered a rubbish bag containing some nine bricks of marijuana…

As stunned tourists watched, on Playa’s iconic 5th Avenue last weekend, three men carrying bats attacked a rival gang member, fracturing his left arm, police said, and tainting the resort’s image… “Pirate” kiosks doing business on the avenue are reportedly skimming legitimate businesses of an estimated 60 percent in sales. Officials say there has been a rise of 300 percent in the number of non-permitted stands and tables along the avenue…Meanwhile, a 16-year-old was among four separate arrests in Playa detained for illegal drug sales over the weekend… A Tulum taxi driver was executed in his taxi and left at the gate of a ranch on the Tulum-Coba road. Police allege it was a gang killing of retribution… Playa del Carmen is welcoming the holiday season with the recent planting of 5,000 poinsettia plants…

The Mail Bag…

The points have been made

Ed. Note: The concerned residents who continued this week to write comments to the editor concerning traffic stops and alleged bribery in the vicinity of the airport, have done a service to the community by presenting several viewpoints of the issue in the hope that officials who can actually do something about it will take notice.

Those points of view have been quite thoroughly explored from different perspectives over several weeks and, in the editor’s opinion, have been well made without further ado for the moment. The issue should be put to rest for a while trusting that the well-intended exercise will bear fruit at some point.

Letters and comments on local issues are always welcome and writers are asked to remain on point without resorting to personalities. Thank you.

Nature watch…

By Staff

She noticed the praying mantis, perhaps just over an inch long, stepping slowly atop a length of driftwood that helps decorate our balcony. Squawking blackbirds and Yucatan jays were intermittently swooping down menacingly toward it from the adjacent palm trees but retreated mid-air at her “shoo” movements.

“Come look at this!” she called out. The mantis was exhibiting odd behavior, rocking forward and backward fearlessly and rhythmically as it inched along the driftwood. Out came the camera and zoom went the lens.

Looking at the size and number of birds perched in waiting on the nearby palm fronds, then seeing this sole, harmless, lonely little creature rocking, rocking, rocking forward, awakened empathy for its apparent conundrum. And therein lies another of Nature’s unappetizing little secrets.

The mantis is far from civilized, in human terms. Cute, yes, as it stands erect and unmoving, its predatory forelegs lending the impression that it is praying when, in fact, it is waiting in ambush to pounce mercilessly upon unsuspecting prey.

The jay, with its body of black sheen feathers and blue wings, feeds on insects such as small praying mantises. In turn, the mantis satisfies its nutritional needs similarly by feeding on live arthropods such as butterflies and, sometimes, small vertebrates like lizards or frogs.

It leads one to consider that empathy for the mantis is perhaps misplaced and unnatural, particularly when presented with the distasteful fact that the larger mantis sometimes cannibalizes smaller ones and that females either behead or devour males after copulation.

The rocking motion, we are told, is supposed to simulate flora fluttering in the wind as part of the mantis’s camouflage. Last but not least, the mantis is of the same order as termites and cockroaches … a family few would consider marrying into, yes?

PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication in any given week is Monday at 5 p.m. for production mid-week, usually Wednesday. Thank you.

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