Rincón, like many places around the world that are attractive to many, is undergoing intense pressure to build up to accommodate more and more visitors and their pleasures. Our town has become the poster child of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s advertising campaign, some sort of resort town, and the results are evident.
Fifty years ago, a historical event changed Rincón forever, mostly for the good and for economic prosperity. The 1968 World Surfing Championship showed the world the fine waves of our town and the northwest of the Island in general. But Rincón has the geographic peculiarity that, given waves, the winds will mostly be favorable for surfing.
And from that realization was born a new industry: Surfing Tourism.
For all those fifty years, surfers came, year after year, and then with spouses, and then with their families. Many stayed, and continue to do so. And every year, new visitors come.
Much like after 1968, Rincón has welcome one and all, with graciousness and open arms. Rincón’s prosperity is evident, but things are changing very fast, and likely for the worst…
WHY WE ARE OPPOSED TO
THE MEGA HOTEL AND CASINO
The property selected for the mega hotel and casino is environmentally sensitive. It is less than 500 meters from the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, the eastern half of the property is occupied by wetlands, and the southern boundary of the property is a creek that carries all runoff from the property to the ocean, including many bathing beaches.
Gambling has resulted in economic and social costs individuals and families, as well as to communities in many areas. Such costs include traffic congestion, demand for more public infrastructure or services (roads, schools, police, fire protection, etc.), environmental effects, displacement of local residents, increased crime, and pathological gambling.
Rincón is a small town, with 15,000 permanent residents. Being a small town, Rincón has the infrastructure of a small town. Our roads are narrow, water and electric services are unstable, and the sanitary services are limited. Many of us ask ourselves “how are they going to provide these services for the mega hotel and casino?”