News - Costa del Sol Archive 2000-9-06

News from Andalucia, and the Costa del Sol

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Sixty per cent of the stands at this year's Agroaxarquia' agricultural fair have been snapped up within two weeks of being made available. Organisers say the fair, to be held in Algarobo between October 12 - 15 will be the biggest ever. It will be housed in a 750 square metre marquee and will be open to both trade and public.



Nerja council has approved the spending of over 17 million pesetas on a redesign of the Plaza de Maro town square. Work to reroute services and repave the square will take four months. New gardens will be added and a new lookout area is to be created, offering views over the local countryside.



José Maria del Arco, a Torremolinos businessman, has a private collection of 912 potties - which he describes as "poetic objects". Now he is going to show the collection in an exhibition that opens September 1 - 17 at the Sala San Hermenegildo in Sevilla. With mahogany examples from palaces and pure silver chamber pots of the Spanish nobility to a humble clay pot dating from the Middle Ages, José Maria says they are all works of art.



Well known Vélez-Málaga local resident "Rufino" has won first prize in a national TV contest for the ugliest person, organised by Antena 3. With little effort thanks to his 'gracioso' personality, Rufino walked away the winner and 150,000 pesetas the richer. He says he is currently writing a script for a short film in which he will play the lead.



The rural complex of La Canada del Lobo, which is being established by Torremolinos Town Hall, will open this November. The complex is in five parts. There is a hostel for groups, two viewing points, an installation dedicated to viewing nature and a lecture hall.


Figures just released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) for hotel prices in July in Andalucia show a massive 13.4 per cent increase compared to the same month last year - four times that of general inflation. The increase compares to an overall 10.4 per cent increase seen in the year ending in June. The most expensive province in the region last month was Almeria, reporting prices 30% up on last year and a corresponding fall in the number of visitors.

The tourism department of regional government has made a call for moderation, warning that such increases are detrimental to the industry. According to the figures, the average price without IVA for a double room with no breakfast was 10,775 pesetas in July, making Andalucia the third most expensive region behind only Madrid and the Basque country. Across the country as a whole, the average price was 8,896 pesetas.


Regional councillor for Agriculture, Paulino Plata, has announced plans by regional government to support the use of sunflower oil as a fuel for transport. In the face of ever increasing diesel prices, the councillor claims four pesetas a litre could be saved if sunflower oil was added to diesel in an 8-10 per cent proportion. He said research has shown that a diesel engine runs perfectly on the fuel mix and that he was therefore promoting the idea to taxi and lorry drivers.

Sr. Plata went on to explain that diesel could also be replaced entirely by sunflower oil treated chemically to convert it into a form of ether, offering even greater fuel savings. The new fuel is far less polluting than diesel and is ideal for a region such as Andalucia, where sunflowers are easy to grow.

Regional government now intends to invest 900 million pesetas in a fuel conversion plant capable of processing 22,000 tonnes a year in a project which would be open to private investment.


Málaga City council has published 50,000 leaflets showing the links between the late artist Pablo Ruiz Picasso and the city where the painter was born and played as a child. The leaflets attempt to show that Málaga and Picasso are undeniably intertwined by showing the house of his birth in the Plaza de la Merced, the parish church where he was baptised, the schools he attended, and even make references to the local bullring and to the doves in the plaza as recurrent themes in some of his paintings.

City Tourism chief Francisco Gámez said the leaflets, which are published in five languages, would be distributed not only across the city but also across the world in Spanish tourist offices.

The latest example of Picasso in Málaga came earlier this month, when a painting by the artist was used as the basis for the poster for this year's feria celebrations.


Latest figures released this week by the Málaga Province Builders Association, show the boom in residential tourism alone the Costa del Sol is continuing apace. It's estimated that a third of the total invested nationally by tourists in real estate is spent in Málaga Province, with sales last year alone totalling 240,000 million pesetas.

Over the last three years, foreign investment in property on the coast has tripled and activity in the construction sector increased by 30 per cent. Málaga is the only province in Spain where more tourists (51 per cent) stay in private homes or timeshare apartments than in hotels.`

The boom shows no sign of slowing, with a recent survey carried out by a German savings bank revealing that 836,000 German families are currently considering buying property in Spain.


Fuengirola Mayoress Esperanza Ona has announced that the town's search for a suitable site for a new bus station could soon be over.

The council leader has signed a pre-agreement with a property company to acquire 6,500 square metres of land adjacent to the Arroyo Real, located on the Fuengirola bypass near the Renault showrooms. She believes the site will prove ideal because of its proximity to the motorway and the town centre.

The site is expected to meet the conditions laid down by regional government. However, the Mayoress has warned the purchase cannot proceed if regional government does not agree to fund the project.


Melanie Griffith has been presented with this year's "Biznaga de Plata" award by the COPE radio station in Málaga. The award goes to the person responsible for the best promotion of the city's fair and the image of the actress wife of Antonio Banderas, dressed in full flamenco costume, has been seen worldwide this year. She is reportedly delighted with her prize.


The development ministry has this week started the first studies to construct a motorway between Vélez de Banaudalla and Motril. The section is the last stretch to link the coast to Granada City and will be built at an expected budget of 26,000 million pesetas.


A change in the law means that the expense of buying school textbooks for the new academic year is set to fall in Spain. Now those previously controlled books will be on sale in large hypermarkets and some are already offering the books at a 25 percent discount.


Málaga played host to the start of the "Vuelta de Espana" for the first time in the cycle race's 55 year history on Saturday. The public lined the streets for the first stage time trial. The race this year has 20 teams and 180 riders who will have pedalled a total of 2,894 kms if they reach the finish in Madrid on September 17.


Cudeca, the association for the care of those terminally ill from cancer, has set October 15 as the opening date for part of its new hospice at Benalmádena. The centre is being built on land ceded by the Town Hall near the "boat roundabout" on the road between Tivoli World and the motorway.

Some 200 million peseta, all raised by voluntary contributions, has been spent on building the centre. Opening on October 15 will be the Day Clinic plus the reception, administration and medical services centres. To be opened at a later date will be the admissions area and the hospital facilities.


Following an agreement reached between the city council and the physically disabled association, ANIC, parking is set to become easier in Málaga. Under the agreement, which comes into effect on September, 1, the so-called illegal parking attendants or "gorillas" will be replaced by members of ANIC. They will give parkers a single ticket, which will be valid for the whole day and anywhere across the city. Payment for the ticket will be voluntary although it is expected that most will pay the normal "20 duros" (100 pesetas), Some 60 people will take part in the scheme across the city and they even promise to actually keep an eye on your vehicle while you are away.

The council has commented that it's a scheme that should help to integrate the disabled into the workplace. It will run for 24 months before being reviewed.


The Mijas branch of Ecologists in Action has appealed to the provincial Environment Department to take action to protect the environment of the chameleon. This species of reptile is rare in Spain and is in grave danger of extinction. They have called for the immediate cancellation of all construction and other projects between the Mediterráneo motorway and the south side of Sierra de Mijas.


An association has been formed in Marbella to run an alternative bus service to transport operator Portillo. The services will run from Marbella to Fuengirola and Estepona. The association says the service will be "more economical, reliable, comfortable and speedy". They intend to reduce the journey to 45 minutes and the fares by around 10 pesetas.


A lioness at the Estepona's Selwo Nature Park has given birth to four cubs. The six-year old lioness and her cubs are all doing well. There are now a total of twenty lions at Selwo, six males, 12 females plus the four cubs, whose sex is not yet known. The news of the births is expected to boost attendance figures at the already highly popular wildlife park.


In six month's time, Estepona will have its first public park. It will be sited at Calvario and cover 15,000 square metr4es. The Town Hall is investing 180 million pesetas in the project. It will include areas planted with trees and other vegetation, walkways, waterways and a large lake.