Embarking on his first official working tour of the Lake Chapala area Friday, June 14, Governor Enrique Alfaro put a spotlight on the governmental thrust for rural activities, wrapping up the visit with the introduction of a sweeping regional development plan to achieve social and economic well-being balanced with the protection of natural resources.
Alfaro started the day with a stop in the south shore town of Tizapán el Alto where he announced the allocation of 17 million pesos for tools and equipment to boost the municipality’s farming sector.
Traveling by motorcade – as opposed to the helicopter jaunts preferred by his predecessors – the governor arrived next at Chapala’s waterfront Malecón, where he boarded a tourist launch accompanied by Alberto Esquer Gutiérrez, the state agriculture and rural development secretary, and Chapala Mayor Moisés Anaya. Joined by local fishermen, the officials motored a short distance offshore to assist in stocking the lake with young fish. They emptied out dozens of plastic bags loaded with 200,000 baby tilapa spawned at a Tizapán fish farm and 50,000 young carp raised at a similar facility in Tapalpa.
Alfaro and his entourage then proceeded to the Chapala campus of the Mario Molino Technology Institute for an hour-long presentation of his administration’s outline of a long-range master plan for the lakeshore municipalities of Jocotepec, Chapala, Poncitlán, Ocotlán, Jamay, Tizapán el Alto and Tuxcueca.
Detailed through a slide show, the governor stressed that the plan is now in draft form, to be completed and enriched with input from municipal authorities and councils comprised of representatives of all social and economic sectors. The concept is to follow a paradigm that impels all municipalities to head in the same direction rather than plan in isolation on a strictly local level.
“This is a fundamental change of approach,” Alfaro stated. “We want to encourage investment, but not at the cost of Jalisco’s environmental capital.” He noted that his administration is banking on long-term projections that will exceed the six-year term of office.
Alfaro alternated the mike with José Luis Valencia, executive director of Jalisco’s Strategic Projects Agency, who explained that the master plan encompasses institutional development and governance, sustainable territorial order, protection and management of natural and cultural patrimony, social and productive infrastructure and economic growth and development.
Vital issues to be addressed include health care for seniors and youngsters afflicted with kidney ailments, public security and the establishment of operational bases for the National Guard, remedies to combat the severe pollution of the Santiago River, solid waste management and the operation of sanitary landfills. Additional attention will be given to reactivating the Chapala Media Park to fortify the film, animation and technology industry and reevaluating Mezcala Island as a historic site and potential focal point for the tourist trade.
The state government has already earmarked 533 million pesos ($US28 million) to fund projects in the lakeshore region this year, including reconstruction of the Chapala-Jocotepec highway and a segment of the adjacent cycling lane (ciclovía), along with the rehabilitation of other roads and bridges.
The governor also touched on other transportation modes that will be considered for the future, including a rapid transit line linking the Guadalajara metro area to the international airport and Chapala, a new train line from downtown Guadalajara to Chapala and a revival of aquatic transport in Lake Chapala’s waters.