THE Zamboanga City government has allocated an initial funding of P20-million to jumpstart the development of the P50-million eco-tourism park at the Great Sta. Cruz Island, 1.9 nautical miles south of the city.
Mayor Celso Lobregat said the eco-tourism park will be an environment low impact development project with the main goal of making the Great Sta. Cruz Island a premier site for eco-tourism.
Lobregat said that the development of the island will be based on the winning entries of the recently-concluded architectural design contest organized by the local government in cooperation with the United Architects Association of the Philippines-Zamboanga City chapter and the College of Architecture of the Western Mindanao State University.
As planned, Lobregat said that six quadrants, 18 small picnic huts, 10 big cottages (spread type), four closed cottages, three 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.
The amenities to be constructed are comfort rooms, shower stands, dive shop, food stalls and a spa, said Lobregat.
Private investors will likely be tapped to venture into water-taxi service, otherwise, the city government will operate it, he said.
The existing militia detachment on the west-end of the Great Sta. Cruz Island will also be developed, he added.
Lobregat has led a team of engineers, architects and other technical experts in an ocular visit to the Great Sta. Cruz Island as the local government prepares to develop the island into a world-class eco-tourism resort.
In between the walk-through, Lobregat discussed 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.
He cited the need for potable water and electricity 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.
The Great Sta. Cruz Island is an environment protected area pursuant to Proclamation No. 271 dated April 23, 2000.
The area protected covers 1,877 hectares and a buffer zone of 1,546 hectares, which are home to various flora and fauna endemic to the island.
The 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. PNA