(Newsroom Panama) Vía España and the “Cinta Costera” facing Avenida Balboa, are the two routes being considered for the capital’s “Carnaval” celebration this year.
A view of the future for Cinta Costera?
But Panama’s Tourism manger has his eyes set on the Cinta Costera.
Salomón Shamah, said he is leaning more towards the coastal strip for the early March event
Residents along Avenida Balboa, listed as prime real estate, where apartments cost upwards of $400,000 are not amused. Real estate agents used the view of “peaceful green belt” as a selling tool, and at one time the government proposed a tax on homes in the vicinity because of the forecast rise in property values.
One resident fumed: “First the glaring searchlight advertising board above Extreme Planet, then Bosco’s plastic horrors over Christmas, and now the prospects of this noise and booze orgy.”
On a TVN news program, Shamah said: “We have to break the myth that no events should take place on the coastal strip.”
He claimed that, where they are planning to have the carnival celebrations – beginning near the Seafood Market- would not affect the two major hospitals that sit on Avenida Balboa.
After the damage caused by visitors to the first Christmas villages, the Ministry of Works said that no more major events would be held there, but then, later in the year, the coin was flipped and with the approval of President Ricardo Martinelli, the event was repeated in 2010.
But, Shamah said he is not the one that will determines the official route of the carnival. The National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), the Fire Department, and the National Police will make the final decision.
His remarks came a day after the Cabinet Council designated the tourism authority as organizer of the 2011 carnival and allocated a budget of $1.5 million.
He said that the budget is more than enough, if local artists only, are hired. He made no mention of a budget to repair damage to the trees, and public facilities that were vandalized during previous events.
Carnaval is the event that brings out the strongest NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) syndrom in residents. In the past they have complained of noise, drunkenness, garbage, crime, and inability to drive to their homes. One group in Bethania even went to court to try to stop what they called the degradation of their neighborhood.