News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Costa expat Eny Boundry turns 100
By Oliver McIntyre
BENALMÁDENA Pueblo resident Enid 'Eny' Boundry celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday in the company of a large group of family and friends.
Born in the town of Brymbo near Shrewsbury in North Wales on May 16, 1911, Eny has lived in Benalmádena with her daughter Louise for the last 16 years.
The youngest of seven children, Eny has outlived all of her siblings, as well as three husbands - the first of whom she was divorced from as a young woman - and one daughter, but counts herself fortunate to have her remaining daughter Louise as well as four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
While she is currently cared for by Louise, Eny spent much of her life providing care for others. In her professional life she opened three nursing homes, and as a philanthropist helped to provide two houses in Camberley for East German and Polish families. She has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the United Nations.
After the quake
11,000 people will not be able to return to their homes for several months
By Dave Jamieson
THE REGION of Murcia is beginning the slow process of recovering from the nightmare of the last seven days.
On Wednesday evening last week, two severe earthquakes followed by dozens of aftershocks took nine lives, injured hundreds more and caused destruction which will cost millions to repair. It was Spain's worst earthquake disaster for over 50 years.
The first tremor at 5.05pm registered at 4.5 on the Richter scale but the second and more devastating earth movement, just a kilometre below the surface at 6.47pm, was recorded at 5.1. The epicentre of the earthquakes was immediately south-west of the town of Lorca which suffered extensive damage. It is estimated that 80 per cent of all homes there were damaged and that ten per cent face demolition after suffering structural damage.
In the historic centre of Lorca, surveyors said that 17 per cent of 524 buildings evaluated the following day would probably have to be pulled down.
Thousands of people spent the nights following the earthquakes sleeping in the open air, many out of fear of further aftershocks but many others, particularly from the immigrant community, because they had nowhere else to go. The town hall said that 11,000 people will not be able to return to their homes for several months.
The Red Cross and other organisations brought in emergency beds, blankets, food and water while rescue workers combed streets littered with crumbled buildings, chunks of masonry, collapsed terraces and crumpled cars. They discovered the lifeless body of Antonia Sánchez Gallego whose children, aged one and three, were found alive and well beneath her. A 12-year-old boy died when the terrace of the bar run by his family collapsed on top of him, and amongst the nine people who lost their lives were two pregnant women.
Use your vote!
Foreign residents in Spain are being urged to use their right to vote in Sunday's elections
By Dave Jamieson
ALMOST 82,500 of the 6.2 million people entitled to vote in Andalucía this weekend are non-Spanish. For eligible foreign residents, voting in these local elections is a right and town halls are encouraging everyone who is entitled to use their vote.
There are over 8,000 municipalities where new town councils will be formed when the counts are completed, as well as a number of autonomous regions where new administrations will be empowered. Non-Spanish voters can cast a vote in the municipal elections but cannot play a part in selecting new regional governments. Andalucía is not holding a regional election at this time.
Everyone entitled to vote should have received a voting card by post indicating the school or public building to attend on Sunday, as well as the table within the polling station which will be waiting to receive their vote. However, anyone on the electoral roll who has not received their polling card can still vote.
Polling will take place on Sunday from 9am to 8pm. Every voter should take their passport with them as well as their NIE or Residence Certificate. If the passport is unavailable, another document which carries photo identity, for example a driving licence or residence card, should be taken.
Mijas reprieve on teardowns and expropriations
Town hall announces temporary halt as plans redrawn for new industrial zone
By Oliver McIntyre
THE JUNTA de Andalucía has accepted Mijas town hall's proposal to temporarily halt any home demolitions and land expropriations in the Area of Economic Opportunity - currently slated for commercial and industrial use - while the town hall draws up a plan to restructure the land-use classifications in the area, announced councillor Fuensanta Lima last week.
The Junta has agreed to a six-month moratorium on the process declaring the zone of ‘regional interest', a designation that was meant to expedite the development of the area with a large business park and other commercial facilities.
The town hall's plan is to draw up modifications that will reduce the Area of Economic Opportunity "to a third of the original size," so that it will no longer affect homes in the zone. It hopes that ultimately the ‘regional interest' designation will be permanently scrapped so that the town hall can retake full planning control over the zone and "organise it in accordance with the interests of Mijas, of its residents, its businesses and the town hall that represents them," said Sra Lima.
She added: "The intention is that not one house will be torn down, and if any land must be expropriated for the general interest, a fair price will be paid."
The Area of Economic Opportunity, in the La Alberquilla area, was created as part Junta's regional development plan (POT) and is expected to house the PEM business park that was originally to be built in La Atalaya but was displaced when the POT designated that area as a protected zone.
Ousted OAPs demand compensation
The retirement home is set to close its doors at the end of this month
By Oliver McIntyre
MORE than 60 elderly residents who are being forced to move out of the Marymar retirement home in Benalmádena Costa, which is set to close its doors at the end of this month, have demanded compensation for the extra expenses they will face by moving into other retirement facilities.
The residents have staged numerous protests after learning that the Unicaja Foundation, which owns Marymar, plans to close down the centre, citing problems with the building.
The residents who currently remain at Marymar say that the cost of other local assisted-living facilities in the area is as much as 1,000 euros more than the roughtly 1,300 euros a month they currently pay, and they want the Unicaja Foundation to pay the difference.
Embassy reminder on new residence cards
New credit-card sized document does not serve as legal ID
By Dave Jamieson
NATIONAL POLICE are reported to have started issuing a credit-card sized residence document, but it is still not acceptable as a proof of identity. The new-style certificate is to be gradually introduced throughout the country.
Non-Spanish EU residents in Spain complained loudly in 2007 when the old plastic encapsulated residence cards were done away with in favour of a paper A4 certificate. However, while the latest change may be welcome, there will still be concern that the new certificates carry the same warning as their predecessors: they are not valid as proof of identity or nationality.
As a result, the British Embassy in Madrid has issued a reminder that EU residents in Spain should always carry another form of identification with them. The Embassy says that it has raised the issue with the relevant authorities both in the UK and Spain but that, in the end, it is a matter for the Spanish government. At present, it adds, the only legitimate form of identification for British citizens which is recognised by the Spanish authorities is the British passport.
The Embassy acknowledges that a photo driving licence or a certified copy of a passport can be accepted as identification for making payment in shops, but that there is no legal obligation to accept either of these forms of identification.
The new documents measure 86mm by 54mm, which is about the same size as a standard credit card. They have already gone into use in Castilla y León and National Police say they will be introduced progressively across the rest of the country.
Sad farewell to Seve Ballesteros
Spain's greatest golfer dies at 54 following battle with brain tumour
By David Eade
YOU DIDN'T have to be a follower of golf to know the name Severiano Ballesteros. His passing in the early hours of Saturday morning at his home in Pedreña was mourned by golfers and non-golfers alike, wherever the game is played. Seve was one of those sports icons who captivated the public with his buccaneering style of play.
He was just 54 years old when he died, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of two golf balls in 2008. His doctors told him it was probably at least five years old at the time, and despite treatment and operations his health steadily deteriorated.
He was born in Pedreña, Cantabria, in northern Spain in 1957 and his home region declared three days of mourning ahead of his private funeral held on Wednesday. His ashes were spread around the garden of his home.
Over his career he won the British Open three times, took the Green Jacket at the Augusta Masters in the US twice, won five World Match Play Championships and captained the victorious European Ryder Cup team at Valderrama in 1997.
Ryanair threatens to cut routes if fines not waived
O'Leary sends letter to Spanish government saying fines against the airline are ‘discriminatory'
By Oliver McIntyre
RYANAIR chief Michael O'Leary has threatened to begin cutting the airline's Spanish routes - and jobs in the country's airports - if the government does not intervene to throw out some 1.2 million euros in fines that have been levied on the company in Spain by various agencies and government bodies.
A January 24 letter sent by Mr O'Leary to the industry and tourism minister, Miguel Sebastián, became public last week when it was released by the Spanish financial newspaper Expansión.
In it, Mr O'Leary told the minister: "Ryanair will not pay these disproportionate or discriminatory fines and should this result in enforcement orders, we will then begin the process of cutting flights, routes, traffic and jobs at the Spanish airports."
Attached to the letter was a listing of 65 fines levied against the airline by several regional governments, the Spanish air safety agency AESA, and one town hall.
The fines are for a range of alleged infractions, from noise violations to baggage issues to the airline's ID and boarding pass policies.