Development southern zone
Over the past 20 years, excessive, uncontrolled and often illegal road and terrace construction have led to extensive environmental damage and loss of wildlife habitat in the mountainous area between Dominical and Palmar Norte, the Fila Costeña. This high biodiversity area is part of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor between the Savegre and Terraba rivers identified in 2000 by Asociación Amigos de la Naturaleza del Pacífico Central y Sur (ASANA - http://www.asana.co.cr) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC - http://www.nature.org/wherewework/centralamerica/costarica).
In 2007 the Municipality of Osa finally started to take steps to reduce and control earthmoving and road construction works. New detailed regulations for construction permits were published, see Reglamento_Osa.rtf
In 2008 and 2009 the Environmental Court of the Ministry of Environment, the Tribunal Ambiental Adminstrativo, stepped in and closed down 33 construction projects in the Fila Costeña for violation of environmental legislation. See the website of TAA: www.tribunalambiental.go.cr
Unscrupulous developers don't give up easily: in 2011 Canadian developer Olsthoorn presented his 8 stories high 56 condominiums mega VISTA BAHIA project right in the middle of a largely forested and environmentally sensitive area above Dominicalito. Early 2014, after two years of intense legal action, EALA has succesfully stopped the project: at EALA's request, MINAE's environmental authority SETENA declared the environmental permit invalid. The project would have destroyed an essential part of the forest and scared away remaining populations of howler and capucin monkeys, crested guans, great currasows and other rare birds. The project would also have jeopardized the scarce water resources for the communities in the area. The project is located right in the biological corridor "Paso de la Danta". Information from Canada has shown that the developer intended to build 86 (!) apartments at prices up to $ 1,1 million, in stead of the 56 condominiums reported to the enviromental authority SETENA.
In August 2014, the wife of the developer Martha van Eden-Olsthoorn has resubmitted an application for an environmental permit, the so-called Viabiliadad Ambiental for exactly the same project. SETENA issued the new permit within three months without even visiting the site of the project. In December 2014, EALA has presented an extensive appeal which has resulted in a favourable decision by the Comisión Plenaria of SETENA which accepted various arguments of EALA and ordere further environmental investigations. In August 2015, EALA outlined again its objections in a hearing of the Comisión Plenaria. At the insistence of EALA, SETENA requested in May 2016 a technical evaluation by ACOSA, the environmental authority of the Canton Osa, as was anyhow required by law. ACOSA finally submitted its report to SETENA in July 2017. The report ordered SETENA to request Costa Rica's Underground-water and Drainage authority SENARA (http://www.da.go.cr/senara) to investigate the capacity of the aquifer. Over the period July 2017 to September 2018, EALA again contacted the persons concerned in SETENA numerous times to press for action. Finally, after apparently the project file was lost and found again, SETENA informed EALA that it would resume the handling of the case on 24 September, 2018. In January 2019, SETENA has ordered the developer Martha Vaneden Olsthoorn to submit within three months the report of SENARA.