While it raises some interesting points, several of the ‘clarifications’ are pretty misleading
Elena Hodges

Rio on Watch

O artigo RIO’S OLYMPIC GOLF COURSE WILL TRAMPLE A PROTECTED ECOLOGICAL GEM, de Elena Hodges, ou, ‘Campo de Golfe Olímpico esmagará uma joia ecológica protegida’ – em tradução livre -, publicado no site NEXT CITY em 18/08 e reproduzido neste blog em 21/08/2014, repercutiu nas redes sociais. 

Ontem divulgamos no post Artigo: THE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS OF RIO’S OLYMPIC GOLF COURSE, de Elena Hodges, a segunda análise da autora sobre o mesmo tema, sequência àquela pesquisa abrangente, com outros aspectos que envolvem a construção do Campo de Golfe para as Olimpíadas – publicado em 22/08 no site  Rio on Watch  além de questionar a localização sobre a APA Marapendi e o Parque Municipal Ecológico, às margens da Lagoa de Marapendi, sob tutela de leis ambientais. Em suas palavras, “The Olympic golf course is the perfect microcosm through which to identify much of what is wrong with the approach to Olympic infrastructure development in Rio. It is emblematic of the ways in which Rio’s preparations for the 2016 Games are deeply problematic”.
A Empresa Olímpica Municipal pronunciou-se a respeito da primeira publicação no espaço para comentários do site NEXT CITY, através da sua assessoria de imprensa, para informar que o artigo sobre irregularidades na construção do campo de golfe apresentava informações incorretas, e listou os principais tópicos a serem esclarecidos: “We would like to inform you that the article published on the website Next City about alleged irregularities in the construction works of the Olympic Golf Course brings out misinformation. The main topics to be clarified are:…”A autora, por sua vez, respondeu à Empresa Olímpica Municipal no mesmo espaço, quando rebateu os argumentos daquele órgão, notando-se a afirmação, While it raises some interesting points, several of the ‘clarifications’ are pretty misleading” (tradução nossa: Apesar de levantar pontos interessantes, vários dos esclarecimentos são enganosos).
A seguir, a réplica e a tréplica. Com a palavra, o leitor.
NOTA: Além das inúmeras postagens neste blog sobre o assunto, um bom resumo pode ser lido em Na mira da Justiça, campo de golfe da Rio-2016 enfrenta nova polêmica, reportagem publicada no site UOL Esporte em 24/08/2014.

Urbe CaRioca  


Municipal Olympic Company
We would like to inform you that the article published on the website Next City about alleged irregularities in the construction works of the Olympic Golf Course (http://nextcity.org/daily/entr… brings out misinformation. The main topics to be clarified are:
· The choice of location for the Olympic Golf Course took into consideration, mainly, the proximity to the Olympic Park and the existing Environmental License granted in 2008 for the implementation of a golf course in the area, under the premise that the activity could prompt the environmental restoration of the area, back then highly degraded.
· The Brazilian legislation allows the Marapendi Environmental Protection Area where the course is being built – to combine the environmental protection with human use, including sports practice and constructions with legally established parameters.
· The Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course project was a result of an international competition, placed in 2012. To enable it, the City Hall proposed and approved a law in which the licensing was based on.
· In contrast to the exclusion of the 58,000 square meters that were part of the Parque Natural Municipal de Marapendi(Municipal Natural Park of Marapendi) to compose the Golf Course, the City Hall created a new park – Parque Municipal Nelson Mandela – with 1,000,000 square meters.
· In order to enable the private investment for the construction works of the Olympic Golf Course, the benefits described in the existing legislation foreseen in the City’s Director Plan were extended to the buildable portion of the land through the 36.795 decree of February 2013. This benefit did not enlarge the building area. The 22-floor height limit was maintained, since it had been approved through the 11.990 decree of 1993. The limit is inferior to the 30-floor limit allowed since the Lucio Costa Plan and maintained throughout the 3046 decree.
· Another requirement is that, after the Games, the Olympic Golf Course will be managed by the City Hall for 10 years, renewable for an additional 10 years, and will be used by the general public.
· Regarding the possibility of using the existing golf courses for the Games, analysis done by the International Golf Federation, proved they were unfeasible. The Itanhangá Golfe Clube, for instance, was denied because of the large investments needed for its adaptation, higher than the 60 million reais estimated for the current project. The amount would be invested by the public sector in a private property.
· Another topic considered was the trouble to negotiate the temporary closing of the existing country clubs to their members during the Games.
If you have any questions don´t hesitate to contact us.
Best regards,
Mariza Louven, media chief advisor of the Municipal Olympic Company

A few thoughts in response to the Municipal Olympic Company’s comment below. While it raises some interesting points, several of the “clarifications” are pretty misleading.
1 – Proximity to the Olympic Village was certainly a factor in choosing the golf course site, but the “premise that the activity could prompt the environmental restoration of the area” is quite a stretch. Pasquale Mauro does have the land title, even though it’s under dispute and likely fraudulent. (See:http://oglobo.globo.com/rio/pa… Mauro was responsible for illegally extracting sand from the area in the 80s, degrading part of it. The Lei da Mata Atlântica clearly states that whoever is responsible for degradation must restore the area in question, regardless of the motive or circumstances of degradation. There’s no reason for the restoration to depend on the prior existence of the golf course project, even if the golf course would be beneficial for the land. And according to a whole range of experts including environmental lawyers, and government biologists from the technical support group GATE, and the MP-JZ Ambiental (the Environmental branch of Rio’s Public Defender) the course will only increase the damage, not repair it.
2 – Yes, the legislation now allows the golf course within the bounds of the APA, though what the MOC does not mention is that this decision runs counter to the sustainable use guidelines as well as the Lei da Mâta Atlantica and Forest Code. This means that the present legislation is on shaky ground, running counter to previous, respected law.
3 – It is certainly true that Municipio has designated another park of 1,000,000 square meters. This is an interesting point to raise, though. No amount of illegality or irresponsible planning in one area (in this case in Marapendi) can be erased or justified by the protection of a completely different area. The creation of Parque Municipal Nelson Mandela is a good thing, but the City government must not use it as a way to distract from or justify the damage its policy is doing in other parts of Barra da Tijuca.
4 – I had not previously read about the 30-floor limit of the Costa plan. However, the MOC’s statement is misleading. The 22-floor height limit might be the standard in the surrounding areas of Barra, but it doesn’t apply to Áreas de Proteção Ambiental, since the whole point is that building there should be strictly limited to construction that doesn’t damage the protected area. The point I intended to make in the article was that the decision to allow the golf course within the APA was already a questionable one, but that donating the top band of the parcel to the developer and changing the zoning requirements clearly violates the sustainable use guidelines, which have as “basic objectives: to protect biological diversity, regulate the process of occupation, and secure the sustainability of the use of natural resources.”
As evidenced by:
Lei Federal nº 9.985/00 http://www.florestal.gov.br/sn…
From the São Paulo Secretary of the Environment:
“APAs, constituting a Conservation Unit category of Sustainable Use, seek to make the conservation of nature compatible with the socioeconomic development of residing communities, regulating the use of its natural resources and the processes of the use and occupation of the soil. In this way, social participation is the fundamental mechanism of the environmental planning and management of conflicts. So that APAs are effective, it is necessary that the management of the territory be of a participatory manner.”
From Rio’s Environmental Secretary:
“It is with the objective of guaranteeing that the city develops in a manner that is sustainable and in harmony with its environmental resources and to increase the efficiency of the efforts to protect, conserve, and recuperate the ecosystems of the Atlantic Forest biome that the Municipal Secretary of the Environment of Rio de Janeiro proposes the creation of Areas of Environmental Protection.”
As is clearly stated above, building 22-story high rises is not compatible with the goals of an APA.
5- This statement is also misleading. Yes, the course will technically be open to public use, but this is not the same as publicly owned; the course will be open to those who pay, not free for the public. The argument that a public golf course will open up the sport to people who never had access previously is rather weak. The cost of playing golf is still prohibitive for many Cariocas. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the course, which will be flanked by ultra-luxe condos, will prove to be an inclusive environment for players coming from the middle and lower classes.
6 – I have not seen the numbers on the proposed adaptation of Itanhangá. I’d be interested to see how much they’d estimate it would have cost, and whether Itanhangá officials would agree with that estimate. The letter from Itanhangá president (available at http://espn.uol.com.br/noticia… indicated that the golf club was not sought out at all about the possibility of hosting, lessening the credibility of the City’s unusually high estimate.
7 – Trouble to existing country clubs might have been a factor, but it’s a non sequitur, having nothing to do with the legitimacy or legality of the project in Marapendi.

Foto: Celso Junius


  1. Parabéns a jornalista norte americana Elena Hodges que veio ao Brasil e investigou de forma exemplar o fato danoso ao meio ambiente. Ela esta bem respaldada pela legislação ambiental brasileira e tem argumentos fortes e incontestáveis a cerca do crime promovido pela Prefeitura do Rio de Janeiro se valendo de uma Olimpíada internacional. Além dela outros jornalistas internacionais também publicaram em seus países o crime contra a Mata Atlàntica brasileira que é tombada pela UNESCO como Reserva da Biosfera e esta sendo devastada pelo próprio Prefeito Eduardo Paes presidente do C40 http://www.rbma.org.br/index.asp

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