Part II Home Port Impact: DOWN BY THE PIER

Apr 2, 2014 by Joe Houchin

In Part I last month we promised to get the facts straight from exclusive interviews with behind-the-scenes leaders of the Home Port construction project.

We met with Mrs. Wendy Winzer, Administrative Director for the Home Port project under the general contracting company, Consorcio Constructor de Obras Marinas SA de CV (CCOM) who were appointed by the state of Sonora to oversee the construction phases of the project because of their worldwide experience in marina construction. CCOM brought in two sub contractors with marina experience and contracted with the local union to operate the 90 trucks you see hauling rocks, stone and boulders to build the breakwater.

Seems like every time we look, the breakwater has reached further into the sea. That’s because the trucks have been working mostly 12 hour shifts and the water is not so deep where they’ve been pouring the rocks up to now. This has allowed them to build 440 meters of the 1,280 meter breakwater since beginning the project just a little over 40 days ago. “Of course,” says Wendy, “progress won’t seem quite so obvious now that we are reaching deeper waters, even though we are considering extending the shifts to compensate for the additional loads that will be required.”

If you’ve noticed the truck movement has slowed down recently, it’s because they are waiting on the permits allowing them to dynamite more of the mountain from which the stone is being transported. The breakwater is built up from the bottom of the sea using three different sizes of rock according to a design that will result in a solid 10 meter wide road surface flanked on the outside by boulder-sized stone all the way to the sea floor.

These boulders will serve as protective living areas for the smaller organisms and plants which have been carefully moved from the construction path almost daily by divers from the full time ecological protection company, Ornitorrinco AC (OAC) which means Platypus in English. OAC is the company that conducted the preliminary eco-studies to determine the feasibility of the homeport in the beginning. Their familiarity with the specific area is very important to the environmental concerns of everyone involved with the homeport’s realization.

In fact, OAC have up to five divers who inspect the sea floor and pathway of the jetty as it is being built, relocating even the smallest life forms to safe areas then returning them when it’s safe to do so. There are no reefs in the pathway of the jetty to be concerned about, although there is some small coral growth around the 750 meter point which have been relocated to safety.

To be absolutely clear, according to both companies, there has been no destruction, or even damage, nor will there be to any escollera ecologically related life forms, flora or reefs at any time during the entire construction process of the homeport.

Another area of concern on our part was based on comments overheard around town regarding the homeport construction having minimum impact on the local economy because everyone on the project was brought in from out of town. Graciously, Wendy referred to her personnel files and, of the nearly 200 people currently on the project, she counted a total of 21 from outside Puerto Peñasco. She did state that the truck and heavy equipment operators are contracted by the local union and not under the control of CCOM.

Next month in the Down by the Pier section of this series, we’ll go into more detail about the port facilities and services surrounding the physical homeport structure, plus updates on the port construction progress. And, as always, we’ll replace the “word on the street” with the “facts from the port”.

To close for this month, we’ll address a question that should be at the top of everyone’s mind: When will the homeport construction be completed?

Because the construction process is divided into several phases with parts of each being put out for bids, the answer to this question will also have to come in phases. Phase I of the contractual agreement between the general contractor and the State of Sonora includes the breakwater (aka jetty or pier) and docking berth (parking space for one cruise liner). The agreement calls for completion of the main pier and docking berth by December of this year, 2014. The second part of Phase I includes a second docking berth and the ultra-modern Terminal with the completion date yet to be determined since bids have not gone out for them as yet—still an aggressive goal, for sure; and one that if anyone can meet, it will be CCOM and their lively, energetic, seemingly everywhere at once, Home Port Administrative Director, Wendy Winzer!

This article is brought to you by the Sonoran Resorts Sales Group, www.sonoranresorts.mx, Jim Ringquist, Director of Sales and Marketing.

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