Country Club Changes Plans After Lidia

While some parts were relatively untouched by the storm, others are now buried in sand
BY: LACEY STORER

When talking about the damage Tropical Storm Lidia did to the Cabo San Lucas Country Club, perhaps it’s easier to start by listing what wasn’t affected. Basically, everything west of the main drive was mostly untouched, although the first floor of the hotel, and the residences immediately adjacent to the hotel, suffered some flooding but it’s nothing that can’t be cleaned up.

The golf holes that sit west of the main drive, (with the exception of number 16) and the homes further up on the club’s property were untouched by the water. The same goes for the clubhouse, driving range, Viva! restaurant and pro shop. In many parts of the country club, there’s no sign there was ever a storm and everything is as green and manicured as it was before. Country club director Alfonso Terrazas says they hope to reopen that part of the club by the beginning of October.

But that’s not the case on the east side of the property, starting at the main drive. Light poles are down, pipes are exposed, a lot of the property is covered in sand. That includes the old entry way and the drive, which are now filled in with several feet of sand. Crews are working on establishing a provisional entry for guests.

Five holes on the golf course were damaged, and are at least partially buried under sand. They’re strewn with broken branches and downed cacti, trash and other remnants of the water’s path. The holes affected were holes number 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15, and Alfonso says it’s unlikely these holes will be opening any time soon. Hole 16 also sustained some damage, with water eroding it along the sides, but it wasn’t severe.

Alfonso says he’ll be bringing in a golf course designer “soon” to figure out a plan for rebuilding the course. The goal is to have 18 holes of golf, although the damaged holes will likely be shorter and more of an executive style. The holes that didn’t have any damage from the storm will remain as they are, and Alfonso is confident those will be open again by the beginning of October.

While none of the 12 houses that sit on the west side of the country club were washed away by the storm, some did have flooding, and residents are still cleaning up and trying to dig themselves out.

Right after the storm, “It was really, really chaotic in some parts,” Alfonso says. And even now, with “roads” that have been made and packed down so the residents can drive around, it can still be a challenge. During our recent visit to tour the country club property, a water truck had just become stuck in the sand.

When the storm hit, the country club was installing new infrastructure, including new streets, for the future homes that were planned for the eastern section of the property. They were also working on an ambitious project for a new clubhouse that would have included a gym, spa, two bars and two restaurants, a ballroom and a kid’s area. Now, Alfonso says, he’s not sure what they’re going to do. They had planned on opening the pool (which is already being dug), gym, one restaurant and a residential lot sales room in November. The pool might be able to open in December, but he’s not sure about the rest.

The investors aren’t going to stop developing the property, Alfonso says, but they are re-evaluating their plan and will definitely be making some changes.

“This hit at a very critical time for us,” he says, “because we were getting ready to make the big investments that would make a real difference in this place.”

For now, all plans for building in the eastern section are put on hold. “We’ve decided not to put any further investment into that side,” Alfonso says, “until there’s an integral solution put in place by the authorities.”

That integral solution is the completion of a channel that Alfonso says could have helped prevent the damage (or at least the extent of the damage) done to the country club’s property and other businesses and homes that sit in the arroyo. He says that Conagua, Mexico’s national water commission, has had the money and permits needed to start this project for years, but politics has gotten in the way and it was never done. “It’s total negligence from these authorities,” he says.

Without the channel, what happened during Tropical Storm Lidia will just keep happening, Alfonso says, putting people’s lives, and the integrity of their properties and their buildings, at risk.

The country club is organizing residents and business owners who’ve been affected by the storm, with plans to file a class action lawsuit to get the channel built. We’ll be following that story, so stay tuned for further details and updates.