News - Costa del Sol Archive 2003-04-16

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive

In association with

The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

Week April 10th to April 16th 2003.

RESOLUTION FOR MÁLAGA CONGESTION

Major new projects to create carriageways and new link roads

By Dave Jamieson

NEW MOVES TO IMPROVE TRAFFIC CONDITIONS IN MÁLAGA THIS SUMMER HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED BY THE TOWN HALL WITH PROMISES THAT THE NEW PROJECT, WHICH WILL BEGIN AFTER EASTER WEEK, SHOULD IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW BY UP TO 30 PER CENT.

The plan should tackle a number of problems, in particular the congestion resulting at exit slip roads from the autovía as a result of up to 6,000 vehicles an hour approaching the city from the west at peak times. The plan, agreed by the City Hall and the Traffic Department in the absence of improvements promised by the Ministry of Development, involves adding lanes along the hard shoulders, and opening new links between the Guadalhorce autovía and the University.

Traffic councillor Manuel Ramos said that the flow of traffic had improved in recent years, but stressed that the long-term solutions relied on the planned bypass or 'hiperronda' and the metro system, neither of which would be in service for five years.

IMPROVEMENT IN STAGES

With 230,000 vehicles every day, Málaga's ring road system is now carrying 60 per cent more traffic than when it was inaugurated in 1992, and to alleviate the inevitable congestion which has followed, the city's new plan will be implemented in three stages.

First will come improvements to the Guadalhorce autovía (the A-357), followed by upgrades to the western ring road and its feeders, with the final stage developing better links between the ring roads and the A-357. One of the most important upgrades will be a fourth lane on the link road between the autovía and the city via the Police Station, a route which carries 60,000 vehicles daily from the University and industrial estates.

PRESSING PARKING PROBLEMS

Sr Ramos is also pressing for the problem of parking spaces in Málaga to be tackled with a long-term perspective. He wants property developers to be obliged to provide 1.5 spaces per new house, meaning a block of 50 properties would have 75 parking spaces. Since 1998, one space per new house has been obligatory, but this has now proved to be insufficient. In the Guadalmar area, for example, a recent study found that each family owned an average of 1.54 vehicles. More city parking is one of the Town Hall's principle objectives for improving traffic flow, with a plan to increase the 3,600 spaces presently available to 9,000.

For its part, the Ministry of Development says its promised improvements will begin in 2005. Included are a connection between the western ring road and the Ciudad Jardín area, plus the southern access road to the airport, planned as an elevated 1.7 kilometre stretch.

 

ONLY A QUARTER OF FOREIGNERS PLAN TO VOTE

However figures represent an overall increase on past elections

By David Eade and Oliver McIntyre

FIGURES ISSUED BY THE CENSUS OFFICE REVEAL THAT ONLY A QUARTER OF THE FOREIGN RESIDENTS OFFICIALLY REGISTERED AS LIVING IN THE PROVINCE OF MÁLAGA INTEND TO VOTE.

65,000 European Community members are eligible to vote in the May municipal elections but just 17,110 have notified the authorities that they wish to do so. However this figure represents an 85 per cent increase over the last elections (1999), when just 9,270 non-Spanish Europeans were registered to vote in the province The highest level of voters is in Fuengirola with 2,641 closely followed by Marbella on 2,591. There is then a sizable drop in intending voters with Mijas registering 1,840, Estepona 1,751, Benalmádena 1,345, Torremolinos 1,213, Nerja 807 and Málaga City 743.

BRITONS ARE KEENEST VOTERS

Britons far outnumber all other nationality groups with their keenness to vote. The Census Office says 7,392 Britons have registered to vote in May compared with 2,312 Germans, 1,055 Fins, 1,041 French and 1,029 Italians.

According to data from the National Statistical Institute (INE), Málaga has more European foreign-resident voters than any other province in Andalucía, with 65 percent of the EU and Norwegian citizens who are registered to vote in Andalucía residing in the province. The only province in the country with more non-Spanish European voters is Alicante (32,595). The Census Office last week began sending voter information cards to all registered voters. The cards indicate where each voter needs to go on election day to cast his or her vote.

 

SEARCH IS ON FOR JOHN CLELAND

By David Eade

An urgent search is on for 67-year-old John Cleland who went missing on Sunday. He left his home at 11.30 to make the short drive to Los Arqueros Golf Club where he was due to practice. He was not seen at the club or at the newsagents he was due to call at afterwards to collect the Sunday papers before returning home for lunch.

Since he left home there has been no sighting of Mr Cleland or his car a Chrysler Stratus registration number MA 2546 CM. Mr Cleland, previously Theatre Director of the Royal Albert Hall in London, is 1.80m tall, lean and fit with blond/grey hair. It is believed he is suffering from high blood pressure. If anybody has any information concerning his whereabouts please contact: Lina - Search Co-ordinator 676 752 304.

 

TIME-SHARE TOUTS CONTROLS TO BE STRENGTHENED

By David Eade

BENALMÁDENA PLANS TO ACT ON TIME-SHARE TOUTS WHO FREQUENTLY INTIMIDATE TOURISTS ON THE COSTA DEL SOL.

Benalmádena's councillor for tourism, Luis Bonel, says that whilst the authorities do not wish to criticize the time-share industry, which is totally legal, it does intend to put a break on the harassment of visitors by some companies.

In an effort to bring about better controls of the time-share sector, regional government's tourism department, the local police and Benalmádena Town Hall have formed a working group to co-ordinate activity.

Sr Bonel pointed out that whilst the tourism inspectors were responsible for issuing sanctions against time-share touts they were not out on the streets. However, the local police were and they could take action.

FINES INCREASE

Currently illegal time-share touts faced fines of 30 euros. When a new order is published in the official bulletin this will be increased from between 300 and 600 euros. The working group would also be examining whether some of the controls, which are currently only exercised by regional government, could be transferred to the Town Hall.

 

NEW COP SCHOOL IN BENALMÁDENA

By Oliver McIntyre

Benalmádena's new School for Local Police was officially inaugurated last week, offering its first classes to 50 officers from the local police forces of a variety of Costa towns. The new cop school is the fourth of its kind in the province, joining existing training centres in Marbella, Estepona and Málaga.

The new police training centre, which has the capacity to handle 60 trainees at a time, kicks off with just two groups of students, who are to receive training in traffic school monitoring and traffic checkpoint management. Ultimately, the goal is to provide comprehensive nine-month training courses to as many as 700 officers per year. However, prior to launching the comprehensive training programme for rookie officers, the school needs to secure a subsidy from the Junta de Andalucía, according to the Benalmádena Police Department.

When the training centre is in full operation, it will provide continued education for veteran officers as well as the training courses for new recruits. According to sergeant Francisco Zamora, second in command of the Benalmádena Local Police, the centre may in the future move beyond just law-enforcement training, providing training for firefighters and civil protection forces, as well.

 

ONLY ONE IN THREE OWNERS HAVE A LICENCE

Potentially dangerous dog owners ignore legal requirements

By David Eade

MARBELLA TOWN HALL'S HEALTH DEPARTMENT SAYS THAT ONLY A THIRD OF THE PEOPLE OWNING A DOG DEEMED TO BE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS HOLDS THE REQUIRED LICENCE.

By law all owners of a pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, rottweiler, American Staffordshire terrier, dogo argentino, fila brasileiro, tosa inuy and akita inu must register their dog with the local town hall.

Marbella Town Hall says there are 3,000 dogs in the municipality of which 350 are deemed to be potentially dangerous. Eighty-five owners have obtained the required licence and another 24 have applications currently being considered. However, that leaves around 240 dogs, which are outside of the law.

Owners of these potentially dangerous breeds have to satisfy the authorities of their suitability to have this type of dog. Such criteria as age, criminal record, physical and physiological aspects and civil insurance are amongst the stringent requirements.

FINES FOR NEGLIGENT OWNERS

José Manuel Martínez of Marbella's health department said that the Town Hall would soon start a campaign to identify and fine the owners of illegally owned dogs. Owners of potentially dangerous dogs can register them by contacting: Delegación Municipal de Sanidad, C/ De los caballeros, 25, Marbella. Tel: 952 77 11 87.

 

LOST AT SEA

News Staff Reporter

Málaga sailor Isidoro Arias, who set off from the Benalmádena marina in October 2001 to sail around the world, has gone missing at sea. Friends and family last had contact with Sr Arias on March 25, when José Rentería, the man who manages the Web site chronicling the voyage, spoke with the sailor on the telephone. At that time, Sr Arias was 860 miles from Santa Elena Island, near Namibia. There have been no telephone or e-mail contacts since. Two hundred boats in the area are searching via radar for the missing sailor, and his family are urging central government to send a search plane.

 

FEWER FIRES TO FIGHT IN ESTEPONA

News Staff Reporter

Estepona's fire and rescue service has reported a drop of 7.41 per cent of call outs last year over 2001. The 23 professionals who make up the municipal fire service attended 594 incidents of which 73 per cent were during the day and 27 per cent at night. A spokesman for the fire service said that it believed that the drop in calls could be attributed to the prevention campaign carried out by the Town Hall's civil defence department. Of the calls made on the Estepona fire service 7.5 per cent were made from outside of the municipality. The highest number of responses was made in Manilva with 27, followed by Casares 12, Benahavís four and Marbella two.

 

MAJOR INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLE ENERGY

By David Eade

Regional government has approved its energy plan for Andalucía (Plean) 2003-2006. This will see an investment of six million euros of which 5.5 million will be privately funded and the remainder come from public funds.

The aim is to reduce the autonomous communities dependency on petroleum products. It sets out to increase the use of renewable energy from 5.7 per cent to 15 per cent with the major emphasis being placed on wind-generated power.

More than half of the public funding of 342.17 million euros, (173.82 million), will be destined for the development of renewable energy with the aim that by 2010 more than a million square metres of solar panels will be in use in the region.

If the overall targets are achieved then Plean will provide 23,801 kilowatts of solar panel generated power, 4,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity with another 250 megawatts coming from vegetable and animal waste.

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