City to allow taller buildings to combat high land prices; New conductor debuts with orchestra; ICU occupancy remains high; Vaccine acquisition update

Feb 25, 2021 | 2 comments

Miércoles, 24/2/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

De la pagina cultural –

Sinfónica con nuevo director (Symphony has a new conductor) – Augusto Carrión, the new conductor for the Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuenca, replaces Michael Meissner, and will debut on el 26/2 a las 19:00 with a performance in the Teatro Pumapungo. The program will include the Overture “La italiana en Argel” by Rossini and the Symphony No. 36 K.425 Linz by Mozart. Carrión started his career in Cuenca 30 years ago, was the first violinist in the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Quito, and moved to México to work before returning to Cuenca earlier this month. The concert is free with limited seating capacity.

Obra de Juan Carlos Astudillo ingresa a colección de poesía (Juan Carlos Astudillo’s work included in a poetry collection) – Two publishing houses issued the “Alfabeto del mundo” collection virtually in 2020. It contained 8 books of poetry written by Latin American poets. It was such a success, they are preparing a 2nd collection which will include “El tiempo semejante” by Cuencano author Juan Carlos Astudillo which was published by the Casa Editora of the U of Azuay in 2020. The book launch will be el 25/2 a las 19:00 on the YouTube channel of the Casa Museo OTRAPARTE in Envigado, Medellín. To be a part of it, go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZIqZRnmbh9TdTJ3u_DXVIA.

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Otras cosas –

The Cuenca Municipal Council authorized construction of taller buildings to combat high land prices. (El Mercurio)

Titular – 48 títulos artesanales para surgir (48 artisan titles to emerge) – 48 people got a craft title from the municipal Escuela Taller Cuenca (Cuenca Workshop School). Students were trained in beauty, gastronomy, cabinetmaking, carpentry, crafts productions, gardening, cut and tailoring as well as language courses such as English. The title is recognized by the Junta Nacional de Defensa del Artesano. In the long term classes (2 years?) there were 160 graduates in 2019, 132 in 2020, and 56 in 2021. In the short term classes, ther were 2000 students in 2019, 358 in 2020, and 600 in 2021 who took the workshops virtually.

Masacre en tres cárceles (Massacre in three prisons) – See yesterday’s and today’s CHL article for all the gory details.

Construir edificios más altos subiría costos del suelo (Building taller buildings would raise land costs) – At the last meeting of the Concejo Cantonal, the analysis of the reform to the ordinance that regulates land use in Cuenca passed almost desapercibida (unnoticed – our word for the day). It also opened a debate on a related topic – the cost of land in the Cuenca which is one of the 15 Latin American cities with the highest land costs for housing. A study by the private firm Properati, the cost of a square meter is over $1,000. The reform to the ordinance didn’t address this topic specifically, but it did permit the development of taller apartments and offices in consolidated zones in the city.

The reform also established incentives for developers to invest in these types of projects. A representative of the construction sector said that this would give the constuction sector, which suffered lossses during the pandemic, an economic boost. Construction is also an energizer for the local economy since there is a supply chain including building materials stores, workers, food stalls to feed workers, and designers. The Municipality also considered that if heights increased, the city would not have to increase its infrastructure footprint and could save on extending utility services and roads.

An urbanist who was the planning director for the city said not everything was positive with the ordinance proposed to the council. He and other group of professionals said that allowing taller buildings in consolidated zones would increase land costs. While it is good for land owners, the cost would be out of reach for an ordinary citizen wanting to buy a lot. There are already examples in Cuenca such as around av. Ordóñez Lasso which has some of the tallest buildings in Cuenca and where there are lots costing between $750,000 and $1,600.000. <That might buy you a shack in San Francisco or Vancouver.> High prices like this put pressure on people to look for cheaper land in rural areas.

Hospitalizados por COVID suman 154 pacientes (154 hospitalized COVID patients) – There are 133 patients in the 2 public hospitals with 49 of them in ICU beds and needing ventilators. In addition to the 64 hospitalized Covid patients who don’t need ICU beds are another 87 hospitalized patients for a total of 211 beds representing 41.23 occupancy. What is worrisome is that the ICU beds are 92.3% occupied. In the Red Privada Complementaria de Salud (Complementary Private Health Network), which are the private hospitals and clinics that treat Covid, there is a 35.55% occupancy of beds for non critical Covid patients. The ICU beds in the private network are 71.42% occupied with only 6 beds still available. <If you celebrated Carnaval carelessly, you’d better pray you stay healthy or don’t get too sick.>

Proyecto turístico para complejo de Cojitambo (Tourist project for the Cojitambo complex) – A $677,000 project to rehabilitate the Complejo Arqueológico Cojitambo in Azogues was presented by the Provincial Government of Cañar and INPC ayer. The project has 3 goals – heritage rescue, strengthening tourism, and economic development. A contract was signed for additional archeological, architectural and social-cultural studies. The first phase of the project will be building the “Plaza del Sol” which will be a lookout, and an area to rest, observe, and take pictures. A glass lookout will also be built and a service balcony for information and souvenir sales. This phase will cost $350,000. The 2nd phase will be the build the “Plaza de la Luna” which will also be a rest and observation area and an area for talks and popular games. <Where teenagers can sneak in a play spin the bottle?> Phase 2 will cost $327,000. The province already has the $350,000 for phase one and a promise from the Banco de Desarrollo del Ecuador to finance the whole project.

Gobierno dará vía libre para importación de vacunas (Government will give a free pass to import vaccines) – Pres. Moreno accepted “breaking the vaccination plan a little bit” and is inclined to authorize municipalities and private businesses to freely import vaccines. However he doubted that it could be done since the drug companies are only negotiating with national authorities. <I bet any entity willing to pay more than the going rate would go to the front of the line. Isn’t big pharma pretty much about the bottom line? > He said that the vaccines would have to be certified by the Arcsa (Agencia Nacional de Regulación, Control y Vigilancia Sanitaria) and comply with traceability and the cold chain. He noted that the importing entity could not sell the vaccines but must provide them free of charge. The Russian vaccines can’t come into Ecuador until they have been approved in the US or EU. <Do you really think the US is going to rush to approve the Russian vaccines?>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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