Lobregat leads technical team to Sta. Cruz Island PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 August 2012 14:00

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday led a team of engineers, architects and other technical experts in an ocular visit to the Great Sta. Cruz Island, about 1.9 nautical miles off the mainland Zamboanga, as the city government prepares for the implementation of the plan to develop the island into a world-class eco-tourism resort.

Amid the scorching sun, Lobregat led the technical team in a walk-through on the island, from the pink-sand beach to the mangrove and lagoon, and measured the areas where the structures and facilities will be constructed.

As planned, 6 quadrants, 18 small picnic huts, 10 big cottages (spread type), 4 closed cottages, 3 small (closed cottages), all aesthetically designed, will be constructed on strategic locations on the island in addition to the administration building, a staff house, a pontoon and walkways.

Amenities to be constructed are comfort rooms, shower stands, dive shop, food concessioners, and a spa. It was also suggested that private investors will be tapped to venture into water-taxi service. Otherwise, the city will be the one to do it. The existing CAFGU detachment on the west-end of the island will also be developed.

In between the walk-through, the chief executive would discuss with the engineers and architects, particularly on the size and exact locations of the structures that will be constructed without destroying the island’s ecosystem.

The need for potable water and electricity was also discussed as a matter of priority, venturing on conventional and non-conventional sources. Water desalination or treatment facility, solar energy and generator sets were among those considered.

In the meantime, Lobregat instructed the engineers and architects to work first on the comfort rooms. “Once the comfort rooms are functional, then people will start coming,” he said.

To recall, the Great Sta. Cruz Island is an environment protected area pursuant to Proclamation No. 271 dated April 23, 2000. Area protected covers 1,877 hectares and a buffer zone of 1,546 hectares, which are home to fauna and sauna endemic to the island. First phase of the island’s development will cover an area of about 3.4 hectares.

Yesterday’s technical visit to the island came about a week after the city government had awarded the cash prizes to the winners of the Sta. Cruz Island’s architectural design competition, signaling the start of the P50-million eco-tourism spot on the island.

An initial amount of P20 million has been allocated for the development of the Island. The island’s development will be low impact with the main goal of making the facility a premier site for eco-tourism. The development plan will be based on the winning entries of the recently concluded architectural design contest organized by the City Government in cooperation with the United Architects Association of the Philippines (UAP) Zamboanga chapter and the Western Mindanao State University College of Architecture.

Joining the trip to the island were Assistant City Administrator Elmeir Apolinario, Tourism Regional Director Mary June Bugante, City Tourism Officer Sarita Hernandez-Sebastian, City Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo, City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat, City Planning and Development Coordinator Rodrigo Sicat, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Reynaldo Gonzales, infrastructure consultant Engr. Antonio Sta. Elena, Architect Domingo Abarro, Dr. Rosalio Tenorio, Arch. Shiralee Pajarito, Arch. Rodel Falcasantos, Arch. Rommel Reyes, Atty. Eduardo Fronda, representatives from the Zamboanga City Water District, Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco), and other offices.— Vic Larato