News - Costa del Sol Archive 2001-3-7

News from Andalucia, and the Costa del Sol

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The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents, price 100pts.

MARCH 1st - MARCH 7th


The new National Water Plan will increase the reservoir capacity in Málaga Province by 50 per cent taking the total capacity to more than 700 cubic hectometres. Three new dams, together with improvements to La Concepción and Guahalhorce, will make up the 121,000 million pesetas investment earmarked for the province between now and the year 2008. The provincial president of the Popular Party, Joaquin Ramirez, also announce an additional 10,000 million pesetas investment from the Ministry of the Environment, to be spent in the recycling of waste water in the province.

However, the implementation of the plan is facing opposition in some areas of the country. In the north of Spain, in the Ebro valley in particular, farmers are concerned that too much water will be taken from them. In Barcelona, 200,000 people took to the streets last weekend in a demonstration.


The Andalucian Health Service has revealed that the average waiting list times for operations in the region has fallen over the last year from 119 to 97 days.

In spite of the improvements, there are still currently, 32,187 people in the region waiting for an operation. The figures were given by the SAS manager, Juan Carlos Castro, who said that he was still not satisfied with the reduced waiting lists, preferring instead to describe himself as 'reasonably content'.


Future targets would include a continuing reduction in waiting times, more comfort for patients and improvements to casualty departments. New specialised mobile surgical teams will be created and will be sent to those hospitals having difficulties, thus avoiding the unnecessary transferring of patients. A total of 25,336 health cards have been issued to immigrants in Andalucia.

CCOO Union spokesperson Jesús Cabrera has claimed that the province of Málaga needs 980 new geriatric places in order to come up to the national average. He pointed out that currently there were only two beds for every 100 people aged over 65 and his union report revealed that 75 per cent of the current beds were in the private sector.


The management of the Nerja caves has announced that visits to the high galleries of the grotto will restart this month. The visits will be made with a guide from the Spanish Caving Federation, and in small groups of 10 people to a part of the cave which is generally closed to the public.

Visitors will take about five hours to cover the additional 400 metres of cave opened. Cave manager Luis Diaz, said a price of 15,000 pesetas would charged for the visit, the same as when the additional area was opened for the first time last year. A waiting list is expected to form quickly for the visits, which will be awarded on a strictly first come first served basis.


The councillor for Tourism in Nerja José Miguel Garcia, has revealed a project to construct a new auditorium in the town. The site earmarked is the Varano Azul park close to the bus stop. The councillor says he has applied to regional council for a grant of 24 million pesetas with the local council prepared to make up the rest of the cost of the project. The auditorium would be of a circular design and have a capacity for 400 people.


Mijas Town Hall has reached a deal with Pitagoras Digital whereby the company will invest 166 million pesetas in building a new cultural centre in Las Lagunas next to the sports complex. The company will also cede to Mijas a 2,000 square metre green zone and 3,000 square metre public square. In return the Town Hall will allow the company to build a housing complex, an underground car park, plus commercial and leisure zone.


The organisers of the MARBELLA Meeting Point have declared the first tourism/property fair to have been a great success. During the four days on which the event was held 12,000 people visited the fair, 130 companies exhibited, 1,052 businesses from 15 countries attended and 111 journalists were accredited. It is estimate that 100,000 million pesetas of business was transacted.


Estepona will host the second Salón International del la Moda at the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos between 22-25 March. The fashion show will present designers' new fashion collections for the autumn-winter season of 2001 and 2002.

The event, apart from displaying fashion wear and accessories, will give an important opportunity to young designers to present their collections. It is anticipated that 10,000 fashion professionals plus the media will be in attendance.

Top designer Pedro del Hierro will be presented with the "Alfiler de Oro" given to him by the organisers and the Town Hall on the closing night. Also present will be top designers Petro Valverde, Agatha Ruis del la Prada, Elio Bethanyer and Charo Azcona.


Sohail Castle Botanical Garden to open shortly

The archaeological and botanical garden surrounding Sohail Castle has finally been handed over to the Town Hall and will soon open to the public.

The six month delay of the 68,000 square metre site, that overlooks the Fuengirola River, was caused by wrangles with the descendants of the one time Franco Minister Girón over 100 square metres of land.

The garden has been laid out in typical Andaluz style with rustic walkways and 126 species of drought resistant Mediterranean plants. These plants were specially chosen and have superficial roots that will not damage the archaeological remains.

Two large parking areas have also been constructed with capacity for 300 vehicles. The work, which has costs over 146 million pesetas, has been 60 per cent financed by the Andalucian authorities, with the balance being met from municipal funds.


Celebrated folk singer Isabel Pentoja will be performing at the end of May at the opening of the La Cantora Restaurant and amusement park. The restaurant is being built under the orders of the singer, and is situation on a plot of 1,459 metres on the left bank of Fuengirola River.


The luxury five star Kempinski Hotel in Estepona will be enlarged and plans to build a new accommodation block alongside its existing establishment are under way. The new complex will house 100 bedrooms and should be completed for the summer of 2003.


The Merced market in Málaga could see a new life as a multi purpose cultural centre, alongside the CERVANTES Theatre and the Picasso Birthplace Museum which are both nearby. The idea has been welcomed by those involved in tourism in the city, but local residents and shopkeepers have voiced concern at the loss of a market which has been a thriving centre for the past 40 years.


Estepona's municipal departments of Commerce and Tourism have approached regional government for 196 million pesetas grant. Part of the money would be spent on improving the Paseo Maritimo and the area around the town's famous bullring, which was designed by Salvador Dali.

The bulk of the money would be allocated to the repair of the Moorish watchtowers along Estepona's 21 kilometres of beaches. The plan is to renovate the towers and surround each one with 10 metres of green zone and walkways.