Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks – for a road – maybe!

As someone who is lucky enough to call a beautiful place like Loreto Bay “home” it is not difficult to find things to be thankful for – the weather, the Sea of Cortez, the people and the community that surrounds me for starters. However, on this, the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, we who are living here have added another thing to that list . . . a road!

For those of you not familiar with the history, a little background is required. The road that bisects this development was built many years before there was anything else here, and with the traffic and construction work over the last five years of the development of the Founders Neighbourhood, it has deteriorated significantly. Almost two years ago work started on resurfacing the road and most of one side of the divided street was torn up in preparation. Unfortunately, this timing was bad and before constructive work could begin, the previous Developer, who was to be contributing funds to the project, ceased all operations and we were left with a worse situation than before. Half the road was compressed sand and the remainder was old asphalt, potholed and broken in many places.

Therefore, during the most of the time people have been living in the Loreto Bay development we have had to deal with a “substandard” (to say the least) road through our community. This situation has been further complicated by the fact that the road itself is not owned by our Condominium Regime, it is controlled by Fonatur (the Mexican Government’s department that is responsible for administering tourism, among other things) and, as such, beyond our control, even if we did have the funds to fix it, which we didn’t.

Earlier this year, when Homex (the new Developer) purchased significant assets that belonged to the previous Developer including the Inn, Golf Course and a parcel of land for future development, one of the issues that was the subject of great speculation among many Homeowners was “Would Homex fix the road?”. My opinion from the beginning was, simply put, Homex would likely do whatever was in Homex’s best interest. And, since they owned a Hotel at the south end of the development and were going to be building hundreds of homes at the north end – connected by this road – it always seemed clear to me that, yes, Homex would fix the road . . . when they wanted to.

Well, that day appears to have come – maybe. Last week Homex informed our Condominium management that parking needed to be restricted on certain stretches of the road because work was going to begin last Thursday. And it did! Did it ever! Men and equipment appeared and work began. Graders, back hoes, rollers and dump trucks with dozens of workers started the big job last week and work has continued ever since, late into the night and on the weekend.

So far the progress has been impressive, with work starting on the south entrance, forming concrete curbing for the relatively new paving on that stretch, and major work has been done on the “T” intersection where that road joins the main Paseo road near the Inn. From there to the Inn, the old asphalt has been torn up and a new roadbed has been graded. From about halfway down the Paseo, towards the north, the west side of the road, which had been left as bare sand after the initial work stopped several years ago, new roadbed has been graded and compacted and forms for curbing are being assembled.

The uniquely Loretano aspect of this project is that apparently no one except Homex actually knows what the extent of work and the timetable is going to be – and, so far, they aren’t talking! So the speculation about “if and when” the road will be fixed has been replaced with new speculation about “how much and where”. But the undeniable fact is that THE ROAD IS BEING FIXED! And the work is being done in a timely, efficient and obviously professional manner - which is a refreshing change from what many of us have experienced here in the past.

Although I do not normally participate in speculation – particularly on these pages – it is my opinion that the work will be completed and the Paseo will be fully (and beautifully) paved possibly in time for the New Year. While having a nice new road will be one of the most important improvements to the infrastructure in the recent history of Loreto Bay, I think the significance of this project is even greater than the obvious benefits of the road itself.

The new road, when it is completed, will become a positive and tangible symbol and statement about the current health and future potential of this development. From my professional perspective, (with my Real Estate agents hat firmly in place) I know how important that symbol will be in making a positive first impression on visitors and potential buyers of this project. In the past, without exception, I have come to expect the inevitable questions from those visitors and prospects about the condition of the road and what was going to be done about it.

Going forward, no such explanation will be required, and the evaluation that these people will make, in the absence of such a glaring deficiency, will undoubtedly be that much more positive as a result. While it is easy to foresee the positive impact that removing such an obvious negative will have on those seeing Loreto Bay for the first time, it is perhaps more complicated understanding the effects it will have on those of us who are long term residents as well as the Homeowners who stay here for shorter term visits.

Community pride will no doubt be positively impacted – that goes without saying – and I expect that there will also be a significant confirmation of their faith and confidence in their decisions and choices that have brought them to this place, where they have made an emotional as well as financial investment. But I also know that the majority of the people who make up this community are a special group. What brought them here in the first place was obviously not the level of the infrastructure that was here. They needed to have the vision to see beyond some of those obvious shortcomings – to see the underlying natural assets, like the sunrise breaking over Punta Nopolo and setting behind the purple Sierra Gigante range.

This place has brought out the best in many of the people who have come to consider it home, in spite of – not because of - what is, or is not here. Their love of being here has not been dependent on the normal qualities that are taken for granted where we have come from. They see (and appreciate) more important (and rarer) values that endure what frustrations they have learned are part of the bargain you have to make to live here. So when something as positive and important as the paving of the road that is the main artery of their community occurs, it remains to be seen what the impact will be on the people who live here – but I know it will be good!

When the simple act of paving a road, that would be taken for granted almost anywhere else, becomes a symbol of the positive future for the individuals who live here and the community in general that is one of the things that makes Living Loreto so special.