Infrastructure Developments Planned for Culebra
With spectacular beaches, crystal clear waters, all-year round temperate climate and diverse wildlife, not to mention warm hospitality, Isla Culebra is a popular destination for holiday-makers visiting Puerto Rico. Also known as Isla Chiquita, meaning ‘Little Island’, Culebra is located around 17 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, and along with Vieques forms part of the Virgin Islands archipelago geographically, while being under the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico. A number of improvements to the infrastructure of Culebra were recently announced by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Javier García, including the construction of the island’s first hospital, new middle and high schools, a new movie theater and a recycling center that will not only deal with most of the island’s solid waste, but will convert up to 85% of that waste to energy.
The mayor of Culebra, Ivan Solis, praised the $10.7 million investment, noting that it is going to have a great impact on the island, particularly as it is linked to educating the public about the importance of environment protection. The recycling center will take around two years to complete and will take the pressure off the current dumping site near Flamenco Beach. Mayor Solis opened a small recycling center earlier this year and launched an education campaign for people to use it. Islanders will no doubt be see the value of recycling by the time the larger recycling center is operational.
Ownership of a 41,000 square foot building that belonged to the Puerto Rico government, and had previously housed the Industrial Development Company, has been transferred to the municipality of Culebra to be converted into a hospital. National Guard troops will reportedly be working on the conversion of the building, with the opening date of 2015 in view. The hospital will include several clinics, a police station and a helipad. This will be a huge boost to the approximately 1,800 Culebrenses who must travel to the mainland for any type of specialized medical care.
In an effort to promote the island as a tourist destination, Puerto Rican authorities have signed a contract valued at $1.5 million for a ferry service between the mainland and Culebra, with multiple daily trips taking place in the high season. Furthermore, small business subsidies will be available to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation, particularly in tourism services. Mayor Solis welcomed this news saying that tourism is what sustains the island.