Judge Carlos Cuéllar ruled yesterday to enact a new plan for the construction of a public road to the Lago Escondido. The decision allots 120 days for the completion of the new road that will stretch from Tacuifí to the water’s surface, in accordance with the requirements decided by the provincial Supreme Court in 2009.
The new deadline was presented to representatives from Viarse, the Secretary of the Environment, the Hidden Lake firm, and legislator Magdalen Odardo, who have all been involved in legal battles concerning the construction of a road to the lake for years. Cuéllar stated that the civil and commercial court of Bariloche would issue a formal resolution dictating the plan of execution and the amount of allocated funding in the coming days.
Last Friday’s hearing lasted until midday, and representatives from the provincial organisations and the Hidden Lake firm left without commenting on the decision. However, Odardo stated that the hearing was successful, as the court had finally recognised its responsibility to order the opening of public roads to the Lago Escondido, which is situated on the edge of private property. Odardo praised the decision to conclude the long judicial process regarding access to the lake and Cuéllar’s commitment to upholding the previous court decision mandating that a road be constructed.
Hidden Lake representatives rejected the court’s decision and announced their intention to input new measures of justice against Cuéllar’s ruling to proceed with road construction.
Lago Escondido is a lake located 50kms north of El Bolsón, in the province of Río Negro. The land around it was bought by British millionaire Joe Lewis in the 1990s, and access to the lake was blocked, and only allowed for people authorised by his firm Hidden Lake. A campaign has been carried out by residents of the area in order to force Hidden Lake to provide public access roads to Lago Escondido.