Chapala Harbormaster Luis Jorge Ochoa has revealed promising news on plans for a major upgrade of the Chapala waterfront, including the dredging of a first rate navigation channel and significant enlargement of the city pier.
The project is coming together on the basis of a petition to the General Services division of the Secretaria de la Marina (Semar) filed by the municipal government last May. It will involve increasing the depth and length of the rustic navigation channel dug out at the end of the pier two years ago, under the supervision of the federal Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT).
Work will also include extending the length of the pier by 70 percent and enlarging its width. According to a provisional blueprint, the Chapala lighthouse will be left intact to serve as a small museum and tourist attraction. A new high-tech beacon will be built as the end of the pier to guide fishermen, tourist boat operators and recreational sailors.
In addition, the plan contemplates establishing a government mandated minimum operational water level (Namino) for Lake Chapala, such as those defined by the National Water Commission to regulate artificial reservoirs. Ochoa sees that as a measure that will guarantee a fair share of water resources for the lake and assure its conservation.
The harbormaster indicates that President Enrique Peña Nieto has given the nod for federal funding to be included in the Semar budget for 2015. Requisite technical and environmental impact studies are currently in progress, and should be completed by the end of the calendar year.
Chapala’s earliest docking area was a simple stone quay built in 1820. Major pier improvements date back to 1898, 1908 and the 1950’s. Ochoa is confidents that a new makeover will be welcomed by those who make a living from navigation, the local tourist industry and aquatic sport enthusiasts.