News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week September 26th to October 2nd
BRAKE ON NEW GOLF COURSES
Regional government to halt plans for non sustainable courses
By David Eade
THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORT OF REGIONAL GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE PLANNED EXPANSION IN GOLF COURSES IS NOT SUSTAINABLE DUE TO THEIR HUGE DEMAND ON THE REGION'S WATER SOURCES.
Such being the case, the Andalucian authority is now seriously considering putting a brake on approving plans for new golf courses. Since September 1, the ministry's office in Málaga has received six tourism projects which are centred on golf and another 10 which are currently under consideration by town halls in the province. In total there are more than 50 courses on the Costa, the majority situated between the Málaga Capital and Manilva.
NOT ENOUGH WATER
The aforementioned 50 courses incorporate between them around 40,000 residential units. The combined courses and residential zones make huge demands on the region's water resources which can't be sustained.
The ministry's delegate in Málaga, Enrique Salvo, recently pointed out that each golf course consumes 800,000 cubic metres of water each year. That amount of water would satisfy the needs of 25,000 homes over the same period of time. Without a major increase in the water supply and treatment infrastructure the water companies are finding it very difficult to meet current demands.
RIDING OVER TOWN HALLS
The Provincial Commission of Town Planning now intends to double its efforts to put a brake on golf course developments that are not sustainable. This will include projects that have already been approved by town halls and included in those municipality's planning ordinance. The move by regional government will be welcomed by their coalition partners 'Los Verdes'. As part of the pact signed between the two parties after the 2000 elections it was agreed that the development of golf courses within Andalucía would in future be controlled. A spokesman for the ecologists insisted that planning of future golf courses should be decided at regional and not provincial level.
NEW INVESTMENT TO PREVENT POWER CUTS
By David Eade and Dave Jamieson
THE FIRST OF THE AUTUMN RAINS HAS PLUNGED VARIOUS ZONES INTO DARKNESS AS A SERIES OF ELECTRICITY POWER SUPPLY CUTS HIT NUMEROUS AREAS OF THE COSTA DEL SOL.
La Sierrezuela in Benalmádena suffered a seven-hour blackout while a cut of two hours hit the central area of Estepona. El Pinar college in Alhaurín de la Torre was without electricity for 48 hours and a major cut in supply left large areas of Axarquía without power for between 25 minutes and eight hours.
The electricity supply company Sevillana-Endesa has now announced that it will invest more than 35 million euros next year in improving the service in Málaga Province. Included in the project will be the establishment of six new electricity supply substations in Benalmádena, Casabermeja, Casares, Estepona, Mijas and Rincón de la Victoria at a cost of over 15 million euros. Other planned improvements include the incorporation of new power lines and the enlargement of existing substations. Existing high-tension power lines, which carry over 20,000 volts, will be improved. Medium tension supplies will also be upgraded and cleaning of lines will be undertaken.
In the case of Málaga Capital, the electricity supply company in conjunction with the Town Hall and various other organisations will put into operation 'Plan Málaga'. This will involve taking underground a series of power supply lines that pass through the town centre.
However, Sevillana's announcement of planned improvements has been met with some scepticism in the Axarquía. When their director in Málaga, José Antonio Ruiz Guerra, announced last week that six new sub-stations would be built in an effort to eliminate outages of the kind experienced in the recent storms, it was discovered that only one of these would be built east of Málaga, in Rincón de la Victoria. This has been seen by some as discrimination against the Axarquía, where supplies were cut off up to eight hours in six municipalities - Algarrobo, Torrox, Canillas de Aceituno, Canillas de Albaida, Sayalonga and Cómpeta - on September 16. Two of these, Algarrobo and Torrox, have asked Sevillana Endesa, for compensation for lost commercial activity during the cuts.
NO CASE TO ANSWER
By David Eade
The judge of Fuengirola's No.5 Court has been responsible for the investigation into the dumping of medical records at the Los Boliches health centre. After hearing evidence from the various interested parties including the sole person responsible, Elena R. T, the judge has ruled that there is no indication of criminality on her part. He has therefore decided to close the case. The lawyer of Elena R.T, Salvador Ruiz, said that his client has received the news of the judge's decision with great satisfaction. Sr Ruiz commented that the resolution of the court stated that there had been no evidence of an offence being committed by his client and had made it clear that she had not acted in a deceitful manner.
The case arose in July of this year when a journalist from Fuengirola Television found 7,000 files of medical records dumped in the rubbish containers by the Los Boliches health centre. In her testimony before the court Elena R.T. admitted that she threw out the old records in sealed plastic bags and said that this was normal practice.
The judge's ruling may not be the end of the matter. The case has taken on major political status with Fuengirola Town Hall, regional government's health service, the Málaga medical college and the association against injustice and corruption also becoming involved. Already the association against injustice and corruption has said it will challenge the court's ruling and others may follow suit.
HOMES EVACUATED IN MIJAS BLAZE
By David Eade
JUST BEFORE 19.00 ON SATURDAY EVENING THE INFOCA WATCHTOWER IN EL ÁGUILA RAISED THE ALARM OF A FIRE, SPOTTED BETWEEN THE URBANISATIONS EL CHAPARRAL AND LA PONDEROSA, CLOSE TO THE N-340 IN MIJAS COSTA.
The strong wind took hold of the flames which soon spread to homes near the Club La Costa. Residents in the zone were alarmed by the thick smoke and fast moving flames. According to an Infoca spokesperson nobody was injured in the blaze but six homes were evacuated as a safety measure. The fire was finally brought under control at 22.15, when the evacuees were allowed to return home.
The blaze destroyed 10 hectares of pine and scrubland. Three Infoca fire-fighting helicopters and three of their fire engines fought the blaze. They were supported by fire units from Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Marbella and Torremolinos. Civil defence units along with officers from the police and Guardia Civil were also in attendance.
THE SECOND FIRE
A further fire broke out in the same area on Monday. The latest blaze destroyed two hectares of shrubland in El Chaparral between the Hipódromo and the Cementario de San Cayetano. One house was evacuated as a precautionary measure but neither the house nor its occupants were in any danger. Police are investigating both fires, which they believe were started deliberately.
FREE CAR PARKING FOR NERJA SHOPPERS
Plan to encourage residents to use town centre businesses
By Dave Jamieson
Shoppers in the centre of Nerja could soon be enjoying free car parking. A proposal to use the town centre underground car park, free of charge for one hour in summer and 90 minutes in winter, for anyone shopping in the immediate area has been well received. A system of vouchers, supported by the Town Hall and the recently formed association of traders known as the Open Commercial Centre, is planned for as soon as the car park machinery can be adapted to handle them.
This move should encourage shoppers to come into the town centre, where street parking is notoriously difficult, rather than drive to complexes situated on the outskirts of the town. Businesses in the centre have also asked for more police presence on foot in the area for the security of shoppers, a request which is being studied by the town's police chief.
MÁLAGA GOES CAR-FREE FOR A DAY
Roads closed, buses free and electronic information panels inaugurated
By Dave Jamieson
MÁLAGA WAS ONE OF 202 TOWNS AND CITIES THROUGHOUT SPAIN WHICH PARTICIPATED IN LAST SUNDAY'S INTERNATIONAL CAR FREE DAY.
The initiative to persuade drivers to leave the car in the garage for the day stemmed from European worries about increasing pollution and a reduction in urban mobility, while the number of vehicles on the roads continues to grow. As many as 1,426 towns and cities in 15 European and 23 non-European countries were estimated to have involved 100 million people. As last year, Spain was the country which recorded most communities participating, with Málaga, a pioneer in the annual event, one of the most active. Sunday saw the city's Paseo del Parque closed to traffic from 8.30 until 19.00, to allow pedestrians to roam freely, and for a cycling event to take place. Travel on the city's buses was free of charge to encourage use of public transport, and the first of a series of new electronic information panels, which display the arrival time of the next bus, were inaugurated.
FIRST ECOLOGICALLY FRIENDLY BUS
The day also saw the introduction of Málaga's first ecologically friendly bus. One of the vehicles on city route 36, which runs to the historic centre, is now powered by electricity. The nine-metre vehicle, built by Mercedes Benz, is almost silent and can carry 14 seated passengers with a further 39 standing. If trials with the first vehicle go well, the Town Hall hopes to introduce more low-contamination transport on the same route.
BENAMARA RESIDENTS OPPOSE NEW HOTEL
News Staff Reporter
The community of property owners of Benamara are taking legal action against Estepona Town Hall to halt a proposed hotel development. The residents claim that the granting of a licence to build the complex on the site of Club Leisure Sport is illegal.
The residents of the zone, which include many foreigners, are angry that the proposed plan for the hotel development will leave the five communities that make up all of Benamara without any green zones at all. Some 500 hundred homes will be affected by this building project.
The protestors state that Estepona Town Hall has modified elements in the licence for this development that contravenes the parameters laid down in the municipality's planning ordinance. The residents also believe the licence exceeds the volume of construction allowed on a site of 975 square metres.