News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week January 22nd to January 28th 2004.
JIMENA AIRPORT PROJECT CONDEMNED
Ecologists slam preliminary viability report
By David Eade
FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION OF THE PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE PROPOSED COSTA DEL SOL AIRPORT AT JIMENA, ECOLOGIST GROUP AGADEN
HAS DECLARED THE SCHEME AN ABERRATION.
Agaden believes that both the environment department of regional government and the Ministry of the Environment in Madrid will declare the project unviable. The ecologists point out that the construction of an airport at Finca Barría will have a brutal negative impact with serious consequences for the environment.
In the report, Klin constructors envisage carrying out works to prevent the flooding of the Hozgarganta River plain on which the airport site would lie. The ecologists stress that this would not solve the problem as at times of heavy rain, which occur annually, the entire zone would be flooded and parts of the airport site would be affected. The constructors have also proposed solving the problem of flooding by damming the Hozgarganta River but that would not be permitted, as it is not catered for in the National Hydrographic Plan.
The plans for the airport site also include reducing the size of the Morenilla hill that stands 187 metres above sea level. This would be necessary in order to allow planes to land and take off.
SEND OUT WARNING
The ecologists warn that once the airport is operational it would cause atmospheric and noise pollution for the municipalities of Jimena, Castellar and San Roque. It is estimated that 868 tons of contaminates would be poured into the air by the aircraft which would have a seriously damaging effect on the Alcornocales national park. Agaden also noted that there is no mention in the Klin report on the impact the airport would have on the birds which flock through the zone as the area is one of the worlds major migratory routes.
The company behind the private airport venture is the Irish-led investment group Newco. They are predicting that the airport would attract 4.5 million passengers a year from both Málaga and Cádiz provinces.
BENALMÁDENA MARINA RENTERS AGAINST MOORAGE AUCTION
By Oliver McIntyre
CURRENT USERS OF THE BENALMÁDENA MARINA HAVE JOINED TOGETHER
TO PROTEST THE TOWN HALLS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED PLAN TO AUCTION
OFF SOME 200 OF THE EXISTING MOORAGE SPACES AT THE FACILITY.
Of the 200 current renters whose moorage spots would be affected, 135 are represented by the newly formed Association of Users of the Benalmádena Marina, presided by Siro Altamirano.
The association says the Ayuntamientos sudden and unilateral decision to auction the moorage spaces, at starting prices of between 26,000 and 131,000 euros, is both unfair to the existing renters and possibly illegal.
BOAT OWNERS AFFECTED
Sr Altamirano pointed particularly to the many British boat owners who use their vessel as a residence and, would be left essentially homeless if they lost their moorage, as there are no other available slips on the Costa.
In a meeting last Thursday, Benalmádenas councillor in charge of the marina, José Nieto, assured association representatives that current renters of moorage spaces would be given the opportunity to purchase their slip without having to enter the auction. Only those spaces that are not sold to their current renters will be put up for open auction, he said.
If a mutually acceptable agreement is not reached between the Town Hall and the boat owners, the association has threatened the possibility of blocking the marina entrance in protest, as well as taking the Town Hall to court. It says the municipal government does not have the legal right to arbitrarily break its existing moorage rental contracts.
ALHAURIN QUARRY WORKERS' STRIKE AFFECTS COSTA
By Oliver McIntyre
The so far weeklong strike of the Alhaurín de la Torre quarry
workers has already begun to impact the Costa construction industry,
as the critical materials the quarries normally provide begin to
run out on some job sites.
The 300 workers began their strike last Wednesday, following multiple protests and unsuccessful demands for a definitive solution to the long-controversial quarry disputes in the town.
The workers concerns and their current strike are the result of continued disputes over the towns quarries, regarding their legality (due to their proximity to urban areas) and their impact on the environment. Some residents and organisations, in particular the Platform for the Defence of Alhauríns Mountains and Health (PDSS), have protested against the quarries, and in 2001 a court order demanded the closure of four quarrying operations.
The quarry workers say they will not end their strike and go back to work until there is a signed agreement outlining the local and regional governments intentions to regularise the industry and protect their jobs.
TWO ROAD WORKERS KILLED IN DEADLY TOLL ROAD CRASH
Six others injured in the seven-vehicle accident
By David Eade
TWO ROAD WORKERS WERE KILLED IN A MULTIPLE-VEHICLE COLLISION ON
THE A-7 TOLL MOTORWAY AT KM 214 IN FUENGIROLA AT 10.00 LAST THURSDAY.
THE FATAL ACCIDENT BLOCKED THE EASTBOUND LANES AND THE GUARDIA CIVIL
DIVERTED TRAFFIC ON TO THE N-340.
According to fire brigade sources the accident happened when a lorry that had been in the left lane hit the workers and then swerved into the right lane colliding with a car. The Guardia Civil believes that the lorry may have suffered a break failure as it approached the workers, who were resurfacing a lane of the toll motorway.
In all, three cars and four lorries where involved in the pile-up, and six people were injured. Two were taken to the University Clinic Hospital in Málaga and the other four to the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella. One later discharged himself from the Marbella hospital, while two of the remaining five continue in serious condition.
Since the toll motorway between Fuengirola and Estepona was opened in 1999 (it was later extended to Guadiaro), a total of 28 people have lost their lives on the express highway. The first accident happened a year after the motorway opened, when on August 3, 2000, a Finn and Moroccan died in Marbella.
The deaths last week of the two road workers brought the number of pedestrians killed on the road to five. The other three were hit in separate incidents as they attempted to cross the four-lane motorway.
FUENGIROLA'S IMAM SENTENCED TO 15 MONTHS IN PRISON
NEWS Staff Reporter
The Imam of Fuengirola's mosque, Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, has been
sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined 2,160 euros for promoting
violence against women in his book 'The Woman in Islam'. The sentence
was handed down by a penal court in Barcelona. In reality, as the
prison term is less than two years, the Imam will not go to jail
but will have to pay the fine and withdraw all remaining copies
of the book, 1,668 of which were distributed for sale at the Islamic
Cultural Centres in Fuengirola and Madrid.
In the book the Imam writes of the acceptability of striking women stating: "the blows do not have to be strong or hard because the purpose is to make her suffer psychologically and not to humiliate or physically maltreat her." Other passages in the book were also highlighted in the court action. The judge ruled that the author of the book had used an obsolete tone of machismo that violated the principles of sexual equality set out in the Spanish Constitution.
The Spanish association of women expressed its "enormous satisfaction" at the conviction. Spokeswoman María José Varela said: "the sentence is a victory for the women's movement." Over 100 women's associations had campaigned against the Imam's book for more than three years and were instrumental in bringing the court action.
However, a spokesman for the Islamic community in Fuengirola said its members viewed the sentence as a blow against their religion in Spain. The Imam himself refused to give press interviews on the court's decision accusing the printed media of distorting his words and said he would only talk to television stations.
VELEZ MOTOR CIRCUIT PLANS ATTRACT INTEREST
By Dave Jamieson
of the world's top consultanting firms have expressed interest in
Vélez-Málaga's plans for a motor racing circuit. Town
Hall spokesman Antonio Moreno Ferrer confirmed last week that contacts
had been made with both Price Waterhouse and Young & Martin
in connection with the project's viability investigation, for which
3,000 euros has been budgeted this year. The study will reveal the
most suitable site for a racetrack, following an analysis of the
The Town Hall is said to favour the local area of Las Campiñueles, but has emphasised that the project would have a regional flavour, encouraging visitors to inland parts of the Axarquía. Sr Ferrer said that it is vital that the Junta de Andalucía as well as private interests be involved in the creation of the circuit.
One of the main proponents of the scheme is the Mayor of Torre del Mar, Manuel Rincón, who confirmed that he has already spoken to both firms of consultants, although the final choice of who will carry out the study is to be made in a public application process. He added that the circuit, the name of which would include the words 'Costa del Sol', would occupy 2.5 million square metres and would be likely to attract the construction of an adjacent industrial park dedicated to automotive technology.
ESTEPONAS NEW FIRE STATION DELAYED BY MONTHS
By David Eade
ESTEPONA TOWN HALL ANNOUNCED LAST AUGUST THAT THE REZONING OF THE
LAND ALLOCATED FOR THE NEW FIRE STATION WOULD BE COMPLETED WITHIN
However the zoning of the site known as Caniquiqui for urban use has now been delayed for five months.
The councillor responsible for infrastructure and works, Antonio Murcia, has promised that project to redistribution and urbanisation of the lands will be finished in approximately two months. It will include giving access to the Estepona by-pass via Monterroso by the industrial estate.
Meanwhile the councillor for services and public security, Ignacio Crespo, has been holding on-going conversations with the Málaga province authorities to ensure that the financial aid offered to build the new fire station stays in place. The province had allocated the sum of 600,000 euros in its 2003 budgets for the new fire-fighting complex.
Meanwhile Fuengirolas fire service is seeing the benefits of its efforts in 2003 to reduce the numbers of fires. It organised a prevention campaign as well as regularly visiting establishments to inspect their fire fighting equipment and access risks. The end result was that 53 less fires were reported last year than in 2002.
This year the fire brigade is to extend its educational campaign by taking it into the municipalitys schools. Fire officers will visit Fuengirolas 1,500 pupils to tell them of the work of the local fire brigade and teach them of the dangers of fire.
FIRE RAZES PINE FOREST IN 24-HOUR BLAZE
Electrical fault blamed for major incident near Nerja
By Dave Jamieson
ONE OF THE FIRST COUNTRYSIDE FIRES OF THE YEAR LAST WEEK LEVELLED
AROUND 100 HECTARES OF PINE FOREST NEAR OTÍVAR, BETWEEN NERJA
A number of avocado plantations were affected as well as 15 hectares of the Natural Park of the Sierras, and local residents were critical of the late arrival of air support in tackling the flames which were located in a very inaccessible area, 1,000 metres above sea level on the border of the two municipalities. It took more than 24 hours finally to control the outbreak in an operation involving 130 Guardia Civil officers and emergency crews from Motril and Almuñécar who were hampered by a strong wind which fanned the flames as it gusted to 80 kilometres per hour. Six homes had to be evacuated overnight as the fire spread to within 12 kilometres of the village of Maro. The wind speeds are believed to have been instrumental in preventing the use of aircraft until around five hours after the alarm was raised at about midday last Wednesday, with two aeroplanes from the Ministry of the Environment and a light aircraft from Infoca amongst the 13 participating. A short-circuit in an electric line to a pump, which draws irrigation water from a well, is understood to have started the outbreak. Ignacio Trillo, the Junta de Andalucías environment delegate, said in Málaga that checks would be made to discover if all means had been taken to avoid such an eventuality,
Two days later, Guardia Civil officers from Motril named a 42 year old Almuñécar man, the owner of the electrical pump, as the alleged culprit. He is reported to have been attempting to repair the apparatus, which had been out of use for a month, when a spark ignited the vegetation nearby. The fire spread so rapidly that he was unable to contain it, and he then raised the alarm.
First reports said that 81 per cent of the affected ground was in Granada and the remainder in Málaga, with pine trees of 30 to 50 years of age burned down. Sr Trillo added that whoever was found to be responsible would be liable for the costs of extinguishing the fire, including the cost of six aircraft and helicopters, and of regenerating lost vegetation.
BENALMADENA GETS TOUGH ON GRAFFITI
By Oliver McIntyre
The writing is on the wall for graffiti vandals in Benalmádena.
The Town Hall has created a new ordinance, expected to go into effect
in about a month and a half, that will levy fines of up to 6,000
euros on those caught in the act of painting graffiti in the municipality.
The Town Hall says the strategy is based on the notion that parents,
faced with the possibility of having to pay large financial penalties,
will take stronger measures to reign in the behaviour of their children,
who tend to be the culprits in most graffiti cases.
The new law still has to pass a comment period and be finalised before going into effect. Until then, people arrested for graffiti will have to at least pay the cost of cleaning or repairing the damaged property, according to the Town Hall. Such is the case with 20 youths aged between 12 and 14 who have already been caught by the local police. Some of them, says Mayor Enrique Bolín, are repeat offenders, having been caught as many as three times.
In 2001 before graffiti had even really caught on as a fad with the towns youth, according to officials the local police picked up 43 minors for the offence and the Town Hall spent over 15,000 euros cleaning the unwanted paint off walls and other surfaces. Fines for graffiti at the time were around 150 euros.
BENALMADENA ARCHAEOLOGY MUSEUM TO REOPEN
NEWS Staff Reporter
Work is almost finished on Benalmádenas renovated and
enlarged Municipal Archaeological Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which,
after over a year of construction is set to reopen next month.
With over 1,000 pieces of pre-Columbian artwork, the museum is the third most important of its type in the country, behind only Madrids Museo de América and Barcelonas Museo Etnológico.
The renovation project addressed both space issues at the facility and architectural deficiencies that contributed to problems like chronic humidity in the building.
MORE EXHIBIT SPACE
By incorporating what used to be adjoining living space (previously used by the now deceased prior owner of the museum building), project co-ordinators were able to add 500 square metres of new exhibit space. The cost of the renovation was around 600,000 euros. Until construction is finalised, the museums pieces are being temporarily housed at the Arroyo de la Miel library.
NERJA FIXES CHARGE FOR MICRO-CHIPS
New by-law requires all pets to be tagged
By Dave Jamieson
Nerja is introducing a flat-rate fee for micro-chipping pets. Health
Councillor Rafael Rivas has agreed with local vets that the price
charged to owners should be 30 euros, the minimum specified in the
professional tariffs set by Málagas Official College
of Veterinarians. The announcement comes two months ahead of the
enforcement date of a new by-law requiring pet animals to be micro-chipped
for identification purposes, and it is estimated that at least 1,000
pets, mainly dogs, will require the treatment. Pet shop owners,
animal welfare groups and kennels are excluded from the obligation,
which lies with the animals owner, and the Town Hall plans
a publicity campaign to draw attention to the new legislation.
Non-accredited practitioners condemned
Local vets have emphasised that the quick and simple insertion of the micro-chip under the animals skin should be carried out only by an accredited practitioner, and have condemned some German vets who, they allege, are not qualified but have undertaken such work. The practice is expressly prohibited by the new Andaluz Animal Protection Law with the threat of a fine of up to 30,000 euros from the Junta de Andalucía.
Pet owners have three months from the acquisition of a pet in which to have it micro-chipped, and those who have more than two animals will be charged only 20 euros for the third and subsequent operations.