News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week December 31th to January 7th 2004.
AIRPORT UPGRADE GO-AHEAD
A new car park, a bus station and better access in 30 months
BY DAVE JAMIESON
APPROVAL FOR NEW PARKING AND ACCESS ROADS FOR MÁLAGA AIRPORT
WAS FORMALLY GIVEN LAST WEEK.
An announcement in the official state bulletin indicated a budget of over 100 million euros with work to be completed in 30 months.
The provision for parking included in the project, which constitutes the first phase of expansion of the airport terminal, will see a new five storey car park with a capacity of 1,800 vehicles constructed next to the existing parking provisions.
Improvements to the airports access roads also forms part of the same project, and these will eventually integrate with links to the new terminal, the northern zone and the future main road into the area.
An underground bus station will be constructed below the site of the new terminal with an initial capacity of 66 coaches, expanding to 90 in the second phase of development.
TERMINAL TO FOLLOW
Airport operator AENA has confirmed that once completed, the first phase will allow for the construction of the new terminal without impacting on the airports operation. Two parking levels of the planned car park will be underground, and when complete, the new building will free up land required for the airports new passenger terminal.
Eventually, Málaga Airport will be capable of handling 9,500 passengers an hour, sufficient to cope with the 20.5 million expected annually by 2015.
MARBELLA'S TOWN PLANNING INDEPENDENCE
By David Eade
After initial signs that the new tri-party administration in Marbella
was seeking a rapprochement with regional government over town planning
matters the situation has now returned to normal public dispute.
The Mayoress, Marisol Yagüe, has told the regional governments ministry of public works that competence for town planning matters remained with the Marbella Town Hall. She stated that her administration would not agree to cede responsibility to the regional planning law as sovereignty on such matters resided with the municipality.
Earlier on, the President of the regional government, Manuel Chaves, had stated that unless there was clear progress in the preparation of a new town planning ordinance (PGOU) for Marbella radical steps would have to be taken. However the minister for public works, Concepción Gutiérrez, took a more conciliatory stance saying it still hoped Marbella would produce a PGOU that was clear and transparent.
IBI protests to continue
The recent decision by Marbella town council to confirm the IBI tax rise in 2004 to 11.6 per cent but to delay the revaluing of the property prices on which it is based has not led to any lessening of public protests.
The planned public demonstration to be held in San Pedro de Alcántara on January 15 will go ahead. Over 8,000 people took to the streets in the last protest and organisers say that public feelings are still running high as they are angry not only about the tax rise but the immorality of the present administration.
SPAIN AND MOROCCO AGREE ON THE REPATRIATION OF CHI
BY DAVID EADE
AS PART OF THE ON-GOING SERIES OF ACCORDS BETWEEN SPAIN AND MOROCCO
TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, THE TWO GOVERNMENTS
HAVE NOW REACHED AN AGREEMENT ON THE REPATRIATION OF MOROCCAN CHILDREN.
Despite concerns from various NGOs, the two countries have not only agreed that all children discovered trying to illegally enter Spain will be immediately returned to Morocco but so too will those currently held here in detention centres.
Various NGOs such as Amnesty International, Andalucía Acoge and the collective Al Jaime have on various occasions protested about the repatriation of children from Spain to Morocco. They claim little care is shown for the youngsters and there is no guarantee that they are returned to their families.
Spains Minister of the Interior, Ángel Acebes, defended the accord saying it did not ignore the interests of the children but complied with the international conventions to protect their rights to which both Spain and Morocco were signatories.
Nonetheless there was wide spread alarm that the accord would signal a massive repatriation of youngsters from Spain to Morocco. The regional government estimates that there are currently around 400 minors being cared for in its centres out of the 3,000 total held in Spain.
The ministry of the interior moved swiftly to dispel such concerns. It said the repatriations would be considered on a case by case basis. The Moroccan government was responsible for locating the family of each child but if no family could be traced they would remain under care at Spanish centres.
NGOS NOT SO HAPPY
The NGOs that work with immigrants do not accept the Spanish governments assurances. Mustafa Mrabet, president of Atime, said the returned children would be left at the mercy of the mafias who control prostitution and drug trafficking. He called for the children to remain in Spain and to be integrated into society, as their repatriation would be a traumatic experience.
BOLÍN SEEKS JUNTA COMMITMENT ON MARINA EXPANSION
By Oliver McIntyre
Benalmádena Mayor Enrique Bolín last week submitted
a request to the Junta de Andalucía requesting a political
commitment to his proposed marina expansion plan, even with final
approval and licensing reviews still pending. "We at least
need the political will and the details of the process: how long
it will take and what the operational fees will be set at,"
said Sr Bolín. With that information and an assurance that
the plan will be able to move forward, the Town Hall can begin seeking
a private partner to help finance the 60-million-euro project, he
Last June the national Coastal Authority gave its approval for the marina expansion, but based on the condition that works began within one year. That means the mayor and his team have until this June to line up all the other approvals and licenses necessary, including the Urban Planning Commission's approval of changes to Benalmádena's town planning ordinance (PGOU) to incorporate the expanded marina and the creation of new access roads to the facility.
According to the Town Hall, the marina expansion plan will provide a much-needed boost to the number of available moorage spaces on the Costa. The enlarged marina would add 1,000 moorage spots to the existing 4,125 in the province of Málaga, a nearly 25 per cent increase.
NEW COMPANY TAKES THE REINS AT MIJAS RACETRACK
NEWS Staff Reporter
Mijas Town Hall last week signed a contract granting the private
company Carreras Entertainment Corporation a 50-year concession
to operate the Hipódromo Costa del Sol horseracing track,
beginning January 1, 2004. The announcement came after a months-long
selection process that left the Town Hall confident that it "has
met its responsibility to guarantee the future of the racetrack."
During the last year and a half, the Town Hall has worked closely with the Hipódromo, until now run by the municipal company Recursos Turísticos, to implement a disciplined fiscal plan and improve the racetrack's financial situation. That work, according to the Town Hall, will now be supplemented by infrastructure improvements planned by Carreras Entertainment.
The company plans to replace or modify parts of the racing track itself, to ensure the maximum safety of the horses and reduce injury rates. It also has on the drawing board the creation of a grandstand for spectators. According to the company, its goal is to enhance the track's international reputation and appeal, attract more horse boarders and double the number of annual races.
Under the concession contract, Carreras Entertainment is to pay the Town Hall a 90,000-euro annual operating fee. It is contractually bound to maintain the current workforce of 80 employees. It must conduct a minimum of 25 horseracing events a year with a total purse of at least 800,000 euros.
MÁLAGA ACQUIRES NEW PICASSO WORKS
Important lithographic collection comes to the capital
By Dave Jamieson
THE CITY OF MÁLAGA HAS ACQUIRED 223 ORIGINAL LITHOGRAPHS
BY LOCAL BORN ARTIST PABLO PICASSO.
"A great Christmas present for the people of Málaga," is how Mayor Francisco de la Torre described last week's three-million-euro purchase of the drawings, which date from the period between 1945 and 1964.
The "Jahn Lohn Collection" is understood to be the second most important grouping of Picasso's works using the lithographic technique, and Sr de la Torre explained that the principle objective of the Dutch couple who sold it was to keep the collection complete. Herman and Dorothee Jansen have spent almost 40 years bringing the lithographs together from auctions, collectors and other sources. For experts, one of the most important facets of the collection is that it reunites many series of lithographs that would be impossible to find complete in the art market. The subjects of the works are still life, scenes of everyday life, bullfights and mythology, reclining female models, and the artist's own family.
NOT FOR NEW PICASSO MUSEUM
Sr de la Torre said that the city's biggest-ever art acquisition will enrich Málaga's cultural offerings, but was careful to explain that the purchase is not intended to compete with the recently inaugurated Picasso Museum. The lithographs are destined to be housed at the Picasso Birthplace museum, some on permanent display and others forming part of temporary exhibitions. The collection arrives in the city in March or April.
'BLACK GOLD' FOUND IN JIMENA
By David Eade
Members of the mycology association Chantarella have
announced that they have discovered a black truffle in the Alcornocales
after a three-year search in various zones of the national park.
Photographs taken by the fungi hunters show that the valuable truffle was found in the limestone soil in an area that runs from El Cerro de la Fantasia to the municipal finca of Los Arenales in Jimena de la Frontera.
These truffles only grow in limestone or alkaline soil, which is very rare in the region except for in Gibraltar and some enclaves of Los Barrios, Algeciras and Tarifa. None have ever been discovered in the Serranía de Ronda, probably because of the high altitude or deforestation.
The two and a half kilos of truffles discovered in Jimena and denominated as black gold were sent to Málaga Airport. From there the truffle was flown to a prestigious Parisian restaurant where prices are much higher than average due to the demand for the prized delicacy from diners at luxury establishments over the Christmas period.
A recent sale on the Internet of the same type of black gold truffle saw a piece weighing just 504 grams reach the incredible price of 30,500 euros. The valuable truffle was purchased by the famous Italian soccer player Alessandro del Piero who plays for Juventus in Turin.
NERJA ATHLETICS 20 YEARS ON
A local club is now one of Spains best
BY DAVE JAMIESON
NERJAS ATHLETICS CLUB IS TODAY CELEBRATING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY
OF ITS INAUGURATION.
The town has enjoyed a tradition of sporting excellence since the 1950s, with the success of a number of local athletes, including the long-distance and marathon runner Francisco Ortega. Known by everyone as Ayo, Ortega is now best known locally for the huge paellas he prepares every day at his restaurant on Burriana Beach. It was not until the 1980s, however, that Ayo and his contemporaries became the moving forces behind the Clubs creation. Also amongst the group of local enthusiasts was Enriqué Lopez, who is now President of the Andaluz Athletics Federation and Vice-President of the Spanish Federation. The Nerja Club was inaugurated on December 31, 1983, and this season boasted 500 athletes, the greatest in its history.
The 20th anniversary year has been marked by three important achievements. In June, the Club was promoted to the highest division of the national federation, while the same month, the junior team became Spanish champions. Finally, Belén Recio became the first club athlete to participate in a World Championships, running in the 4 x 400 in Paris in August. Additionally, the girls junior team made their debut in the European Cup in September.
ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS
Overall, Nerja Athletics Club ended the 2003 season in seventh place nationally, and over the 20 years of its existence has collected 12 silver and nine bronze medals in Spanish championships, plus 77 gold, 89 silver and 44 bronzes in Andalucían events.
To mark the anniversary, Nerjas Photographic Club has mounted a special exhibition of photographs commemorating the activities of the club over the last two decades. It is in the exhibition area of the Town Hall, just off the Balcón, and continues until February 22.
TWELVE GRAPES AD MIDNIGHT MEANS 480 MILLION GRAPES
Twelve grapes at midnight means 480 million grapes
NEWS Staff Reporter
Twelve grapes at midnight doesnt sound like a lot. But when
all 40 million Spaniards ring in the new year by munching 12 grapes
at the strike of midnight on New Years Eve, those 12 grapes
add up. It is expected that the Spanish population (and no doubt
some of the foreign-resident population, too) will have spent some
6 million euros on 1,600 tons of uvas or 480
million individual grapes by the time the New Years
midnight gobble is complete.
The ceremonial grape-eating tradition is not of religious or deep cultural origin. In fact, the practice began early in the 20th century when grape growers, in the face of a bumper crop and insufficient demand, somehow managed to invent the tradition as a way to sell more grapes. Since then, the Spanish have embraced the so-called Uvas de la Suerte (Grapes of Luck), which, when eaten in synch with the 12 bells of midnight, are said to start off the year with good luck.
THE ROLLING STONES TO ROCK THE ROCK
THE ROLLING STONES TO ROCK THE ROCK
BY DAVID EADE
THE LEGENDARY BRITISH ROCK GROUP, THE ROLLING STONES, WILL PERFORM
AT GIBRALTARS VICTORIA STADIUM IN JULY.
The concert is one of the star attractions organized by the Gibraltar Government to celebrate the Rocks 300 years under British rule.
The groups lead singer Mick Jagger was recently in the news after he was dubbed a knight by Prince Charles standing in for his mother Queen Elizabeth II who was in hospital at the time. This caused controversy after the Stones guitarist Keith Richards said he would have declined the honour.
No exact date has been fixed for the concert although it is believed it will be delayed until July to ensure good weather. The Victoria Stadium is the only venue on the Rock that could cater for the large crowd that will want to see the Stones perform.
There will be only three thousand tickets on sale and these will be available in Gibraltar at the John Mackintosh Hall. It is understood that tickets will also be sold in Spain at two record shops, Radio Andalucía in La Línea de la Concepción and Discos Grammy in Algeciras.
A spokesman for the Gibraltar Government stated that Gibraltar has always identified very strongly with British culture and that without doubt rock music is a significant part of that culture. He added that the Rolling Stones were thought to be an impossible dream for the Rock so there was great excitement they had agreed to perform.
A source at Spains Office of Diplomatic Information, part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that they did not doubt the quality of the group that was going to perform on the Rock. Nonetheless a performance by the Rolling Stones to celebrate 300 years of British rule would be considered to be an affront to Spanish sensibilities.
ALHAURIN BUSINESSES DEMAND BETTER MAIL SERVICE
NEWS Staff Reporter
The Alhaurín el Grande Business Association last week made
a public demand for improvements in the towns postal service,
claiming there is a current backlog of some 50,000 undelivered pieces
of mail at the local Correos post office. The association also complained
that mail service is not provided in the La Rosa industrial park,
causing a significant inconvenience to businesses located there.
In general, the towns delivery delays result in people and
businesses receiving bills and other time-sensitive correspondence
late, according to the association. Sometimes bills arrive after
the due date for payment.
The business association says the most important step for improving the mail service is to increase the level of staffing at the local post office. It says previous complaints to the provincial director of Correos, María José Ródenas, were met with promises of increased staffing, but that no additional permanent workers have been hired. According to the association, the post office only adds extra staffing temporarily during specific busy periods. It only makes the service worse, because the new workers dont know the streets and the peculiarities of the town, says the association.
In addition to the delays in mail delivery, the business association says insufficient staffing causes poor customer service at the post office itself, where there are long lines for sending packages or certified letters, buying stamps, or conducting other basic postal transactions.