Costambar Community Forum

Costambar is a beach community located in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
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Posts : 142
Join date : 2009-09-08

PostSubject: Shock! Horror! ....... APC Communicates with the residents!   Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:11 am

Finally a decent summary of APCs' work & achievements!


Can we assume this will soon be available in print - maybe in other languages - so those without internet access can read it as well?
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Posts : 21
Join date : 2009-04-03


Reduced Monthly Charges, Largest First Quarter Revenue in APC History, Enhanced Security Measures, Uniformed Security Personnel and Quarterly Invoices for outstanding Dues are the major achievements of the New Board.

A new budget for 2010 was promised and delivered for approval earlier than anticipated. The President took the responsibilities of Treasurer and developed a formula for assessing monthly dues for Costambar properties, which is rational, applicable to all properties and reduced the dues for most property owners. On the average, such dues have been reduced by around 20% and are now lower than in 2008 or 2009. In spite of such reductions, RD$ 1,800,000 were collected in the 1st, quarter of 2010, compared with only RD$ 1,350,000 in 2009, a 33.3 % increase in collection over 2009 receipts. This increase is the result of a substantial increase in the number of owners now paying their dues, who have been induced to pay not only because of reduced rates, but also because of stiff enforcement measures.

The President has personally met with several government officials, including the Vice-Minister of Tourism Cesar Jose de los Santos, the Mayor of Puerto Plata Walter Musa, the Director of Medio Ambiente for the North Coast Carlos Finke, the President of Puerto Plata's City Counsel and the head of their legal affairs, garbage collection and medio ambiente. APC's 1st. Vice-President Jose Polanco (responsible for Government Affairs) also attended some of those meetings, whose purpose was to lobby on behalf of APC on issues of interest to Costambar, such as the improvement of its beach, garbage collection contract and the enforcement of environmental standards within the project. These and future such meetings with government authorities should result in a better understanding of the problems facing Costambar and a more sympathetic ear for our issues.

The President continues to closely follow the pending court case by APC against a property owner, seeking judgment for unpaid dues and a decision on this is likely by the middle of May 2010.

Yash Aggarwal has met with Mr. Eduardo Vallarino in an attempt to improve relations between APC and his organization. APC accepted his offer to install surveillance cameras at the Main Gate and asked Mr. Vallarino to share in the cost of garbage fees paid by APC to the Puerto Plata City Hall. At first, there seemed to be some hope that such an accord could be reached. However, when the time came to make good on such proposals, Mr. Vallarino simply reneged to do so.

Office Manager Bethania Almonte de Tejada, working closely with the President, has produced invoices that have and are being sent to those owners that have not fully paid their dues for the first quarter of 2010. In addition, each invoice contains an explanation with the breakdown of how and in what percentage the dues are being spent on various services provided by APC. This practice is being implemented for the first time and is intended to become routine from now on.

The APC Office acquired a new computer and will also get a new printer with multiple functions soon.

The following can be counted among the challenges faced by APC in the future:
- Continued refusal to pay their dues by some property owners.
- The formation of a Junta de Vecinos in Costambar.
- Lack of collaboration and cooperation on the part of Mr. Eduardo Vallarino in sharing the cost of garbage fees and other services paid by APC.
- The continued garbage collection by some, including Costa de Ambar, S.A., in defiance of APC's exclusive right to collect garbage within Costambar. APC has taken up this matter with City Hall, which is under review by its legal department.

The Security Department continues to insist on excellence among its personnel and to that effect has instituted monthly meetings with the members of its
personnel, thus seeking to educate them in regards to Costambar street names (to improve responses to calls for help or emergencies), updated policy changes and responsibilities.

This department has been unsuccessful in obtaining additional firearms for its personnel, due to budgetary constrains. Security has increased daily patrol
in the project, including 4 additional night rounds, with the active participation of the motorized National Police members. Security's SUV has been recently
repaired and received easily identifiable lettering.

The department requested an additional speed bump at the Main Gate from CRIC, with the aim of slowing down traffic moving through the gate. Unfortunately,
the bump proved a bit too high for many Costambar small vehicles, but was quickly reconfigured and the problem resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Security has also acquired 6 new radios for communications, brand new uniforms for its personnel, purchased additional small security-related items
(handcuffs, gun belts, shotgun shells, etc.), in order to increase its effectiveness.

New security measures and guidelines have gone into effect at the Main Gate, including the identification of workers employed in Costambar.

A relatively new development has been the formation of a Security Committee with about 20 members, who additionally make monthly private contributions to this department, thus making some recent achievements possible. Also, fund-raising activities have generated over RD$ 100,000, which has helped further in achieving goals.

Security has a wish list plus a long-range plan which includes: the acquisition of more firearms, implementation of a computer-based security camera system to monitor all points of entry into Costambar and the purchase of a motorcycle in order to add an additional 24 hours mounted patrol inside Costambar.

Overall, the department feels a simple review of the statistics through the last few years, goes a long way towards explaining its achievements in providing Costambar with the improved protection it deserves.

The Secretary/Legal Affairs Arturo Abreu, has been working towards the implementation of a set of rules and regulations concerning the proper management
of garbage produced within Costambar in keeping with guidelines from the national Ministry of Medio Ambiente.

Vocal/Public Relations Lisa Melatti, with President Yash Aggarwal and Gino Melatti, met with numerous Costambar business and property owners in order
to explain the implications of the new maintenance dues formulas. They induced many previously non-paying property owners to begin paying their fair
share on a regular basis. As a result, there are now 35 private and business new payers in Costambar and a list of those may be obtained at the APC Office.

Insofar as maintenance is concerned, the Costambar Roads Improvement Committee (CRIC), under the supervision of Manlio Del Degan and Andy Broersma, has continued to toil in the repair and upgrade of our roads, to wit:

- New speed-control bumps built at the Main Gate and mid-way down Calle Central hill.
- Calle Colon: repaired pot holes from one end to the other along this street, cleaned out gutters along both sides.
- Calle Almirante: carried out extensive repair of gutters and pot holes along ¾ of this street.
- Paseo Laguna: repaired holes with cement and spread 2 large truck loads of tosca along street.
- Calle Capotillo: repaired pot holes and cleaned out grass dirt on both sides of road.
- Calle Gurabito: extended speed-control bumps in order to keep vehicles from going around them and ruining sides of the road. Extensive pot holes repair. Built drainage gutters along both side of its downhill stretch.
- Painted speed bumps.
- Calle El Penon: work in process to repair drainage ditch, gutters and eroded roadsides.

All the above work was accomplished solely by volunteers and workers paid with monies raised at fund-raising events managed by CRIC's fund-raising
subcommittee plus some private donations and not using a single peso from APC!!

For the first time in its history, Costambar has a Long Range Planning Committee that has held several meetings in which, attendees have told it all
about what they perceive to be "the good, the bad and the ugly" in Costambar. A better understanding as to where we must go will result from this input
and the head of this committee plans to formulate recommendations to that effect.

Costambar website and Forum remain up and running and an excellent source of information if one is interested in remaining well informed.

This is a unique community, the only one of its kind in the entire country. Let us all work making it a better place to live, through a concerted
effort by paying our dues and joining hands, so that APC can do what it certainly knows needs to be done, but has not been able to achieve, due to the
self interests of those that expect the many to finance their stay here.

Rafael Belliard
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