News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week October 16th to October 22nd 2003.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
Bowlers from the Costa del Sol, Almería and Costa Blanca competed in a thrilling four day event hosted by the Indalo Bowls Club and sponsored by the CB News Group. Almería came first with 278 shots but the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca sides came very close in joint second place. In the photo we see (L-R) Sue Cooper, organiser; Bill Young, Costa Blanca Captain; Kate Shields, Costa del Sol Captain; sponsor CB News Group representative Denise Cortés and Alan Henshaw, Almería Captain.
MORE TAXES FOR RESIDENTS
Benalmádena targets non-registered homeowners with tax increases
BY OLIVER MCINTYRE
IN WHAT COULD BECOME A TREND IN TOURISM-HEAVY COSTA TOWNS, BENALMÁDENA TOWN COUNCIL LAST WEEK PASSED A PLAN THAT WILL EFFECTIVELY PUT A TAX ON LIVING IN THE MUNICIPALITY WITHOUT BEING A REGISTERED ('EMPADRONADO') RESIDENT.
In an effort to both raise more money for the municipal coffers (currently two million euros in debt) and encourage residents to become registered, the Town Hall plans to raise IBI real estate taxes and garbage-collection fees in 2004, but to exempt registered residents from the increases.
The IBI tax is to be increased by the maximum amount permitted under the law, 1.1 per cent of assessed value. The garbage tax increase has not yet been specified, but the Town Hall's intent is to bring it more in line with the actual cost of garbage collection. Mayor Enrique Bolín admitted that the collection service costs the Town Hall four million euros, while the current tax only brings in about 1.5 million euros.
TOWNS FOLLOW SUIT
Benalmádena is not the first Costa town to implement such
a tax-incentive plan for resident registration. Torremolinos pioneered
the technique earlier this year, and other towns with large 'residential-tourist'
populations have begun to follow suit.
Councillor Manuel Crespo highlighted the importance of encouraging residents to become registered, or 'empadronado'. He noted that the registered population is nearing 50,000, and that once that mark is reached the town will benefit from a significant increase in government subsidies (as much as 54 euros more per person, or about 2.7 million euros).
'A GOOD IDEA'
One English woman, a registered resident living year-round in Benalmádena, told Costa del Sol News: "I think it's a good idea. The more people that are 'empadronado', the better the services to the whole of the community."
MORE THAN 12,000 YACHT MOORINGS NEEDED
BY DAVID EADE
ANDALUCÍA'S COUNCILLOR FOR TOURISM AND SPORT, ANTONIO ORTEGA, HAS DISCLOSED THAT AN ADDITIONAL 12,000 TO 15,000 YACHT MOORINGS SHOULD BE ADDED TO SATISFY THE INCREASE IN NAUTICAL TOURISM.
Not only that but Sr Ortega argued that Andalucía should also be creating new recreational ports to meet a market that is far from saturated.
The lack of mooring spaces has been keenly felt in the province of Málaga. The 11 ports along the Costa del Sol can offer 4,311 moorings but need double that number just to meet the current waiting list of local residents and tourists.
The province of Málaga lags behind both Alicante (22 ports - 9,397 moorings) and Mallorca (41 ports - 12,895 moorings). Various ports on the Costa del Sol are awaiting permission to increase their number of moorings. Puerto Banús is a case in point having been kept waiting for a number of years for the go-ahead to increase its number of moorings from 915 to cater for its 500 waiting list for yachts over 15 metres in length.
Puerto Banús is not alone. The Mayor of Benalmádena, Enrique Bolín, is waiting for final approval for the enlargement of the resort's port. ( See further report on page 6). The municipality of Mijas has also carried out a study for a recreational and fishing port at La Cala, which would offer 440 moorings.
Last year a study on nautical tourism showed that the average spend per day by tourists in that sector was 142 euros per person. Indeed the income generated per tourist in that segment exceeded the money spent by golfers and the conference/incentive sector.
TONY KING'S COURT STATEMENTS PRINTED IN MAGAZINE
By Oliver McIntyre
THE SPANISH MAGAZINE 'ASÍ SON LAS COSAS' HAS PRINTED EXCERPTS FROM THE INITIAL COURT STATEMENTS GIVEN BY TONY ALEXANDER KING AFTER HE WAS ARRESTED FOR THE MURDER OF 17-YEAR-OLD SONIA CARABANTES, AND IN WHICH HE CONFESSED TO BOTH THAT CRIME AND THE 1999 KILLING OF 19-YEAR-OLD ROCÍO WANNINKHOF.
"When I accost them, I feel like a hunter who has captured his prey," said Tony King in one of the excerpts. In other statements, he blamed mental illness and the effects of alcohol for some of his actions, while admitting to having fondled both of his victims in a sexual manner. p> In the case of the Sonia Carabantes killing, King stated that he'd had about a dozen alcoholic drinks and taken a sleeping pill. He said he initially hit the victim with his car accidentally, and got out to find her on the ground bleeding, at which point he 'lost control and began to hit the car and maybe Sonia' too. According to his statements, the girl was still alive when he put her in the trunk and took her to the field outside Monda where he beat her to death and buried her under rocks.
In his statements referring to the Rocío Wanninkhof case, Tony King said that he was not drunk or on drugs at the time of the attack, and that he saw the victim from his car and stopped to wait for her. King's testimony was made public after the judge partially lifted the secrecy order on the early evidence from the case.
Meanwhile, late last week King denied to make additional statements to the Fuengirola judge in charge of the Wanninkhof case, who went to the Alhaurín de la Torre prison to take his testimony. His lawyer indicated that King was exercising his right to withhold comment, and would continue to do so until the defence receives and has a chance to review in detail the specific charges and evidence against him.
As CDSN went to press, Tony King was scheduled to give testimony to a Torremolinos judge regarding his alleged involvement in three other sexual attacks on women in the Costa del Sol area.
CRAZED KNIFEMAN RUNS AMOK
Fuengirola Mayoress and councillor were intended victims
By David Eade
A LOCAL RESIDENT, WITH A HISTORY OF SCHIZOPHRENIA DATING BACK SEVERAL YEARS, WAS SHOT IN THE LEG BY A LOCAL POLICEMAN ON SECURITY DUTY AT FUENGIROLA TOWN HALL AFTER HE ATTEMPTED TO ATTACK A COUNCILLOR.
According to the local police chief, Joaquín Rueda, the event happened at 14.00 when a man armed with a 30-centimetre long kitchen knife rushed towards the town hall shouting that he intended to carry out a stabbing. It appears that his targets were the Mayoress, Esperanza Oña, and the councillor for taxes, Ana Mula.
By chance the man came across Ana Mula with her secretaries as they approached the town hall and waved his knife at them. The policeman fired a warning shot but as the crazed attacker continued to threaten the group the officer then shot him in the left leg allowing him to be disarmed. The injured man was taken inside the town hall to await the ambulance. He is currently being treated in hospital for a serious gunshot wound but his condition is not life threatening.
The man has been identified by the initials J.S.V. He was born in 1948, is the brother-in-law of the former socialist Mayor of Fuengirola, Luis Pagán and is well known in the town. A former taxi driver he has been described by the police as being very aggressive, of a strong build and has previously attempted to attack Luis Pagán.
The Mayoress, Esperanza Oña, was not in the town hall at the time of the incident but councillor Ana Mula suffered a panic and anxiety attack at being confronted by the knifeman. However she soon recovered and her first act was to find the local policeman to thank him for halting the attack stating that he'd surely saved her life.
DEAD BODY FOUND IN CHURRIANA FIELD
By Oliver McIntyre
A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG IN A FIELD NEAR THE EL OLIVAR URBANISATION IN CHURRIANA ON SATURDAY MORNING FOUND THE BODY OF A DEAD WOMAN, SEMI-BURIED WITH JUST A HAND STICKING OUT ABOVE THE EARTH AND STONES. ACCORDING TO POLICE REPORTS, THE ADVANCED STAGE OF DECOMPOSITION OF THE BODY MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY, OTHER THAN PROBABLY BEING THAT OF A YOUNG WOMAN.
Investigators' initial estimate is that the woman had been dead for at least five months, but further details will have to await autopsy results. The body showed no outward signs of stabbing or gunshot wounds, but the fact that it was buried under rocks suggested to investigators that the death may have occurred under suspicious circumstances.
The Government's sub-delegate in Málaga, Carlos Rubio, announced on Sunday that the Guardia Civil and the National Police currently have no missing-person reports on file that match the dead body. The field where the body was discovered is known to be frequented by prostitutes and drug users, according to sources familiar with the area.
BODY PARTS FOUND IN CASARES RECYCLING CENTRE
In what marked the second discovery of a dead body in Málaga Province in just over 48 hours, a woman working on waste-separation line at the Casares recycling centre on Monday found a human leg among the debris she was sorting. Shortly after she made the discovery, which she at first thought was a prosthetic leg before touching it and realising it was real, police arrived at the scene to take over the search for the rest of the body. The search turned up one arm, the head and the naked torso of what police have described as a large, white male who had been dead for probably only about 15 hours before the body parts were discovered.
According to police reports, the cuts on the body parts were clean and precise. The rubbish among which the body parts were found may have come from Estepona, Fuengirola, Benalmádena or Manilva. Police began their investigation focussing on those and other nearby towns. At the time CDSN went to press, the identity of the dead man had not been discovered.
TORRE DEL MAR'S NOISY BARS RE-OPEN
Work continues to ensure legality and noise reduction
By Dave Jamieson
THE BARS IN TORRE DEL MAR THAT WERE CLOSED FOR FAILING OBSERVE CLOSING TIMES AND NOISE REGULATIONS HAVE FOUND A LOOPHOLE TO EXPLOIT, ALLOWING THEM TO RE-OPEN.
The bars in the El Copo area were closed in August, after a fine
of over 228,000 euros was levied on Vélez-Málaga Town
Hall by Andalucía's Upper Justice Tribunal in Málaga,
following the council's failure to address complaints of late-night
noise received from local residents (CDSN, August 7 - 13).
Last week the proprietors of the 32 bars affected, plus two in Calle Levante, discovered that the closure notice is not effective until this weekend, meaning they could open legally last weekend. The news came during an informal meeting last Thursday between bar owners and the councillor responsible, Sara Sánchez, at which it was also agreed that each bar will be required to obtain a certificate, from a company approved by the Junta de Andalucía, confirming that noise-prevention measures are adequate.
Other improvements are already underway at several bars, including the installation of fire extinguishers, emergency lighting and security doors, at an estimated average cost of 3,000 euros per bar. In August's court ruling, 19 residents whose complaints had gone unheeded for many years were awarded 12,000 euros each in compensation.
HIGH SPEED TRAIN BOOST FOR ALGECIRAS AND RONDA
High speed train offers boost for Algeciras and Ronda
By David Eade
PARTS OF THE 2000-2007 INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMME FOR SPANISH RAILWAYS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED BY THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC WORKS OFFER A BIG BOOST FOR THE CAMPO DE GIBRALTAR REGION.
The go-ahead has been given to run AVE high-speed express trains from Madrid to Algeciras. The travel time will be just three hours and 50 minutes, compared with the current six-hour trip on the existing TALGO service.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) MP for the region, Salvador de la Encina, who pointed out that the spending is long overdue, as "in recent years the line between Algeciras and Bobadilla has not received a peseta in investment." However, he also questioned the priority of the AVE project, stating there were other more basic infrastructure needs in the region that should have taken precedence.
Nonetheless, the Partido Popular MP, José Ignacio Landaluce, welcomed the fact that by the end of the decade the Campo de Gibraltar will be able to enjoy the considerable benefits of high-speed travel. He also added that it will be a major boost for the region between Algeciras and Ronda.
MÁLAGA CONFERENCE CENTRE GETS BUSY
Morocco plans calendar of annual events at the venue
BY DAVE JAMIESON
MÁLAGA'S NEW CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION CENTRE IS TO STAGE A SERIES OF EVENTS PROMOTING LINKS WITH MOROCCO.
The announcement came during a visit from the President of the Chamber of Trade in Nador, north Morocco, Tarik Yahya, who also confirmed the opening of a permanent office in the Centre by the end of the year. He said that a calendar of annual events at the venue was in preparation, and would include an Hispanic - Moroccan fair where business from northern Morocco would exhibit alongside Spanish companies which export to Morocco. The new Málaga facility had been chosen, he added, because it permits a mixed itinerary, allowing a cycle of conferences and cultural events to complement the fair. The establishment of a permanent presence in the Centre will allow Spanish and Moroccan businesses to establish and maintain commercial contacts with six regions of northern Morocco, including Nador, Alhucemas, Tetuán, Tangier, Ousjda and Taza.
'THE ECONOMIST' COMES TO MÁLAGA
It has also been announced that the Málaga conference facilities
will be the base for events organised by the magazine, "The
Economist". In a deal signed by the city's Mayor, Francisco
de la Torre, four "Economist Conferences" will be held
at the Centre between now and 2006, with the first next Monday and
Tuesday. The subject of debate next week will be Málaga's
influence in the Mediterranean zone and throughout Europe. Attending
will be the Minister of Science and Technology, Juan Costa, the
Secretary of State for Social Security, Fernando Castelló,
and the former Minister of Employment, Joaquin Almunia, as well
as a number of British former ministers and several regional delegates.
The president of Unicaja, one of the sponsors, described the event as "an excellent incentive to reflect on the future of Málaga", noting that the province is one of the fastest growing in Spain. Delegates will be discussing the importance of communications and transport, social integration and the international promotion of Málaga.
IMPACT ON HOTEL SECTOR
The success of the new Conference Centre and the opening of the
Picasso Museum in 10 days are already making an impact on Málaga's
hotel sector. Last year, the number of available beds in the city
totalled less than 5,000, a figure which will be more than doubled
by 2005. Nine new four-star hotels and four with three-stars are
amongst 23 projects underway to meet the demand for accommodation
in this increasingly important southern city.
SELF-EMPLOYED GET NEW HEALTH BENEFITS
By Oliver McIntyre
A new law passed last week by central government will provide new illness and work-related injury benefits to the over 80,000 self-employed people in the province of Málaga and the nearly three million such individuals nation-wide. The head co-ordinator of the National Federation of Autonomous Workers (ATA), Lorenzo Amor Acedo, called the new law the greatest advance in 25 years for the self-employed.
The law means that people who contribute to Social Security under the special 'self-employed' ('autónomo') designation will have the opportunity to voluntarily contribute slightly more money in order to gain access to financial benefits in the event that they cannot work due to illness or work-related injury. The general illness benefit will cost them an additional 1.5 per cent (10.50 euros more per month), while the cost of the work-related illness or injury coverage will vary according to a sliding scale based on risk factors. The worker would receive benefit payments beginning on the fourth day of missed work in the case of general illness (as opposed to the 16th day currently), and on the first day in cases of work-related illness or injury.
Málaga has more self-employed workers than any other province in Andalucía. The types of work with the greatest number of self-employed include sales, mechanical repair, home-appliance repair, and the hotel and catering trade.
BENALMÁDENA MARINA EXPANSION PLAN STILL AFLOAT
BY OLIVER MCINTYRE
DESPITE NUMEROUS SET-BACKS AND BACK-AND-FORTH WRANGLING BETWEEN BENALMÁDENA TOWN HALL AND THE JUNTA DE ANDALUCÍA, THE MARINA EXPANSION PLAN CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE MAYOR ENIQUE BOLÍN'S MOST AMBITIOUS URBAN-PLANNING PROJECT IS STILL MAKING FORWARD PROGRESS.
The Town Hall last week approved a traffic reorganisation scheme
aimed at addressing the last of the Junta de Andalucía's
reasons for denying approval of the project: concerns over road
access to the marina.
The Mayor's solution to the access problem is the creation of a new three-lane road between the marina and the old N-340, or Calle Antonio Machado, with one lane heading down into the marina and the other two leading from the marina back out to the main road. The plan calls for the covering of the Arroyo del Saltillo streambed, which the new road would sit atop, as well as for designating the existing Calles Goya and Velázquez for resident access only.
Prior to moving forward, the new road plan still has to pass through multiple steps. It needs to be put through a public comment period, as well as be approved by multiple agencies, including the regional Port Authority, the provincial government, Torremolinos Town Hall, the Confederación Hidrográfica del Sur, the central Government's Coastal Authority, and the Junta de Andalucía.
Meanwhile, as a funding strategy for the project, Mayor Bolín and his team at Town Hall are making plans to auction off a 50 per cent interest in the marina. According to the mayor, the auction will take place by the end of the year and the starting price for the bidding will be set at nine million euros.
THE NEW BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
By David Eade
MANY PEOPLE IN THE BARBATE AREA SAY THEY ARE IN AGREEMENT THAT WIND-GENERATED ENERGY IS NECESSARY, BUT THEY ARE TOTALLY OPPOSED TO A MARINE WIND PARK BEING LOCATED SEVERAL KILOMETRES OUT TO SEA OFF THE CAP DE TRAFALGAR.
In a recent demonstration against the project, fishermen voiced
their concerns about the effect the wind park would have on their
ability to continue to catch tuna on their traditional fishing grounds
in the Gulf of Cádiz. Hotel owners also voiced their worries.
They fear that the wind generators will ruin the sea views and have
an adverse effect on the number of people who choose to stay in
their establishments in Los Caños, Zahora, El Palmar and
The wind park planned for the area is to be known as the 'Mar de Trafalgar' and is being promoted by an organisation calling itself the Group of Businesses for the Sustainable Development of the Sea of Gibraltar Region. The group is backed by a hydroelectric energy corporation from Navarra and other bodies.
The promoters of the project say they want to create the first offshore marine wind farm situated on the high seas off the coast of Spain. They state that the project to create the wind park is similar to those planned for the coastal regions of other European countries.
However, the mayors of the eight municipalities in the Guadalteba mountain zone (Teba, Almargen, Sierra de Yeguas, Ardales, Campillos, Cañete la Real, Carratraca and Cuevas del Becerro) have demanded the final say as to whether such projects are undertaken in their area. Despite the regional government recently approving plans for 18 wind power-generating projects in the Guadalteba zone based on environmental impact studies, the mayors are determined that the people of the area alone will decide whether or not they want wind parks on their doorsteps.