August 2015 News Headlines

AMJASA constitutes new board of Directors

Sept 1st
Following the elections last May, the Municipal water company AMJASA has been obliged to modify the composition of its management board. It is comprised of nine members representing the various political parties, (7 from PSPV, 1 PP and 1 from Compromis - XD and CP do not have representation since legally they are not constituted as a municipal group) and includes three councillors. For the first time there will be a majority of women. The board consists of: José Chulvi, Paco Torres, Doris Courcelles, Javier Bonet, Lourdes Ros, Lynn Cobb, Tere Bou, Rosa Ortuño y Paco Catala. The highly successful chief executive from the past four years (José Luis Henarejos) will not be continuing in this post. the councillor for Water, Paco Torres will take over his functions until a Manager is appointed. The selection process for this post started two years ago, but was delayed by various legal complications. However now it has a green light to go ahead. From : XAD.

Xàbia opens first dog park

August 26th
The Ayuntamiento de Xàbia has opened the municipality's first dog park which is located in the district of Pou Moro next to the Gorgos river. It is a large green area of some 3,700 square metres equipped with bins, bag dispensers for owners to clear up after their dogs and furniture such as benches to allow owners to relax or read whilst their pets run, play and exercise. The area, which is surrounded by a security fence, has shaded areas with trees and will soon be improved with new plantings and a play area for the dogs. The design has followed the advice given by RAMA and APASA with which the Ayuntamiento maintains direct contact. For full story see: Javeamigos

The Vuelta a España grand tour cycle race comes to Xàbia on August 30th

Stage race ends on the Peak of the Cumbre del Sol

August 26th
The "Vuelta a España" grand tour cycle race will pass through Xàbia on Sunday in a stage which will end on the peak of the Cumbre del Sol - the Puig Lorença. Tour de France winner Chris Froome will be taking part. Roads used by the route will be closed from 4.00pm until about 5.30 that afternoon (press release). The cyclists enter Xàbia from Gata, between 4.30 and 5.30 using the Avenida Palmela, turn at Lidl's along the Ca. del Pla dual carriageway, past Supercor and Mercadona to the "Barclay's bank" roundabout, up past Pinosol and the Inn on the Green, Cansalades and Villes del Vent to turn up towards Benitatxell. Details of the route and map on: La Vuelta - Stage 9.

House sales pick up

August 26th
During the first three months of 2015 there were a total of 1,131 sales transactions among the 33 municipalities of the Marina Alta. This is the first time over the past 7 years that the 1000 figure has been exceeded, representing an increase in 17.3% over the same period last year when 964 were recorded. Furthermore, this is the third consecutive year of gains since the market in the region touched bottom with just 666 purchases in January-March 2012. Since then, the increase has been 69.8%. From La Marina Plaza

First case of chikungunya virus in Spain- probably spread by Tiger mosquito

August 25th
A man in Gandia became the first recorded patient to contract the illness after being bitten by an infected mosquito in Spain. Until now, all Spanish cases of the tropical illness had been contracted abroad. The vector tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) “has been present in Valencia since 2013, and imported cases of chikungunya have been reported from the city of Gandía where the climate is conducive to chikungunya transmission.” For full story see: El Pais in English

Sierra de Gata blaze sparks petition against law reform permitting land reclassification

August 18th
A petition to scrap a law reform which allows forest fire-damaged land to be reclassified for development has netted 155,000 signatures. It was set up on the campaign site after an inferno devastated the Sierra de Gata mountain range in Acebo, north of Cáceres in the land-locked western region of Extremadura, having been burning for over four days after it started on August 5 and led to 3,000 residents being evacuated. Last month, Spain's government amended legislation which has been in place for nine years and which established a ban on reclassifying fire-damaged land enabling it to be built upon for 30 years after the blaze. It can now be legally developed immediately, as long as the promoter of any building work can justify the plans being 'in the public interest', which in practice, is not difficult whatever type of construction is in the pipeline. For full story see: ThinkSpain

Wanted - company to deal rapidly with 18,000 tons of garden waste

August 18th
Some weeks ago, Xabia Town Hall opened the tender for the management of the Ramblars green waste dump. It is a transfer plant with the preliminary processing of garden waste which is then transferred to a specialized waste treatment plant. The contest has been running since mid-July and the companies concerned have a period of 40 calendar days after the announcement was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The contract cost is €336,000 euros (including VAT) for one year. Although the main criterion for the tender is price, anything too low will be regarded as being over ambitious. The garden rubbish must not be allowed to accumulate for more than one month, a shredder must be installed, and a bulldoser must be equipped with a fire extinguisher. "the contractor is obliged to take all measures necessary to prevent the risk of fire in the dump ". From XAD: Se busca...

High death toll from Bull running this year

August 18th
At least 10 people have been fatally gored during bull runs across Spain this summer, including four over the past weekend, in what is shaping up to be an especially deadly fiesta season across the country…“This number isn’t normal,” said Antonio Lorca, the bullfighting critic for El País. Spain’s economic crisis has forced a sharp drop in the number of bullfights in the country, with about 300 fewer bullfights scheduled for this year as compared with the years before the crisis. Yet the number of ranchers who are raising fighting bulls has stayed the same. “The only way out for these ranchers would be in the festivals in these municipalities,” Lorca said. “It suggests that many of the bulls that would have been destined for bullfights are instead running along the streets of this country.” For full story see: The Guardian

Valencia asks to be reimbursed €70 million for treating national tourists

August 18th
In 2014, Valencia spent 97 million euros on treatment of Spanish nationals from other autonomous communities, mostly tourists. The estimated cost of care of Valencians in other communities over the same period was about 25 million euros, so the resulting balance is a net expense of over 70 million. Three years ago a law setting up the "Fondo de Garantía Asistencial" ( Guaranteed assistance fund) was passed, enabling the cross billing of care between regions, but it is not yet fully implemented. Last Year, Valencia received 1 million Euros, being part of the cost of drugs for 2013. The regional Health Minister has requested the immediate implemention of FOGA, and the inclusion of drugs necessarily dispensed to patients with chronic conditions. From: El Diariocv

Loreto Fireworks display to be launched off floating platforms

Xabia to rent platforms this year

August 18th
Last year the regional government refused permission for its launch from the usual position due to its location just a few metres within the 500m exclusion zone designed to protect green zones, in this case the Parque Natural del Montgó. This year the fireworks will be launched from three floating platforms totalling 126 square metres located located close to the line of buoys off the beach of La Grava. The Ayuntamiento opted to rent the platforms at a cost of some 13,000 euros to evaluate their stability, strength and effectiveness. For full story see :

IMF warns Spanish economic growth may slow over next five years

August 16th
The International Monetary Fund warned on Friday that Spain's accelerating economic growth is likely to slow in the next few years after picking up to 3.1% by the end of 2015. IMF directors said Spain needs to improve conditions to allow small- and medium-sized enterprises to grow, and recommended keeping wages in line with productivity and business conditions at the firm level and strengthening the skills of the long-term unemployed. For full story see: El Pais in English

Marina Alta has to return €2.1 million

August 16th
Bad news from the Ministry of Finance . The municipalities of Marina Alta will have to return more than 2.1 million euros to this administration. The problem is that Treasury miscalculated and gave more money than taken in taxes in 2013. The report, conducted by the newspaper "Information" affects the consistory all the Valencian Community. Xàbia is hit with a bill of €195683, while Denia is hit the hardest having to return €619828. The money will be returned gradually over a period of 10 years. The only municipality to benefit from the error is Castell de Castells, which will receive and extra €1371 from Madrid. For table of the payments see: La Marina Plaza

Xàbia clinches long term deal for water with Pedreguer

Meanwhile Benitatxell and Teulada coordinate their hunt for water

August 16th
It has been agreed that for a minimum of five years, AMJASA will buy a monthly minimum of 10,000 euros worth of water from the Pedreguer Community of Irrigators . This amounts to some 300,000 cubic metres a year, up to a maximum of 600,000 cubic metres a year, an agreement which may be extended in cases of urgent necessity if the supply is available. The commitment would only be suspended in the event that it is detected that the water being supplied is unfit for human consumption so AMJASA will be take care of the control of water quality, taking regular samples for analysis. This agreement has been made without having to raise water rates. Even outside the demanding summer months, the cost per cubic metre of water from Pedreguer is less than the cost of producing the same in the desalination plant. For full story see: Javeamigos Meantime, Benitatxell and Teulada have increased the amount of water pumped from the Lluca and Canor wells (La Marina Plaza) and agreed to coordinate their search for water and will survey and drill in the area of La Pederea - El Polvorí, where there may be water reserves, as well as the mysterious subterranean river of Moraig. From La Marina Plaza, in an artiocle which highlights the disjointed approach to regional water problems.

Spanish government modifies tax on small-scale solar power producers

August 11th
Spain’s Industry Ministry says it will lower the charges it intends to impose on individuals who install solar panels to generate electricity for their own use. Those with installations producing up to 10 kilowatts will be exempt from a tax on electricity generated outside the national grid, although they will still be liable to pay a toll to cover maintenance of the system and other costs faced by Spain’s electricity companies. For full story see: El Pais in English

Table of Contents

Denia, Jávea and Pego join forces to petition for action regarding forest fires

August 11th
The three municipalities, all recently affected by extensive forest fires have sent requests to central Government for measures to mitigate against future forest fires and obtain compensation for people recently affected. 1. Compensation: They ask for: 'aid necessary to alleviate personal and property damage caused by September fires in Denia and Javea and the May fire in Pego, Vall d'Ebo, Gallinera, Vall de Laguar and l 'Atzúvia" - extending a 2010 State law. Funds should come not only from Madrid, but also from the EU Solidarity fund. 2. Climate Change: Studies have indicated a trend of increasing temperatures in all seasons and more frequent long periods of drought, they therefore urge the Government to develop a statistical study on the influence of climate changes on the increase in fire frequency not only in summer but in different seasons (The Pego catastrophe was in the spring); and, therefore, "consider expanding critical fire fighting action periods". 3. Expansion of Fire prevention resources: to prevent and respond to fire, ensuring more resources to high-risk areas and to take into account "the extraordinary drought" and to reinforce the Community forest brigades until the drought was over. Speed up the cleaning of rivers and ravines and extend fire fighting resources beyond the current critical months June 15 to October 15. 4. Ensure there are no more failures in coordination between Regional and Central Government fire fighting authorities. From: La Marina Plaza

It's in the data - this July was hotter than last year

August 11th
Average temperatures for Xàbia Old Town in July 2015 were 2.5 degrees higher than the previous year. For graph from La Marina Plaza and other weather charts see: Weather graphs

Police act on illegal fireworks display

August 11th
The Policía Local de Xàbia has opened prosecution proceedings against those responsible for launching fireworks close to a protected forest area on the night of Thursday 6th August, in disregard of the current situation in which the region is on alert for a serious risk of fire…According to the investigation of the police authorities, the display was arranged by a foreign tourist to celebrate a birthday, a serious offence for which he is now being prosecuted. Xabia Town Hall has published information leaflets in various languages which highlights the prohibition of fires and barbecues within 500 metres of a forestry zone as well as the proper disposal of cigarette butts and glass bottles. Rental companies are particularly requested to disseminate this important information to their clients in holiday homes. For full story see: Javeamigos

Last old "Carabineros" quarters in ruins and with no plans for the future

August 8th
The "Carabineros" was an armed anti-smuggling force which used to patrol Spain's coasts and borders. The ruins of a 19th Century Carabineros quarters - abandoned in 1940, still stand on Xàbia's La Plana, beside the walking route to the Cova Tallada. This heritage building was once to have become an information centre on the flora of the Montgó Natural Park, but the property belongs to the Ministry of Defence, and the Town Hall has not been able to purchase it due to the high asking price. At the moment, it is not a high priority for the town. There were two other carabineros quarters - both no longer in existence. One was at Granadella, where new parking spaces are being organised, and the other in the Port, where the new plaza to the midwife Maruja Varó now stands. From Las Provincias: El viejo cuartel...

Campaign to conserve water

August 7th
Xàbia has launched a campaign to encourage people to conserve water. Here's the video, with English subtitles:

Drought hits Moscatel Harvest

August 7th
The Young Farmers (ASAJA) Association of Alicante has described as "disastrous" the damage to the moscatel harvest caused by three years of drought in Teulada, Benissa and other Marina Alta municipalities with losses of up to 80% in Teulada. They have asked for some economic help including exemption from IBI for rustic land for 2015, reducing income tax rates modules for that year, and reduction in Social Security payments. Apparently table grapes are not insured against drought.
From La Marina Plaza.

Water supply crisis - Valencia steps in

August 7th
The Valencia Government's new Director of Water, Manuel Aldeguer, has expressed frustration with the chaos and mis-management of the water supplies in the Marina Alta. The present Water Consortium is clearly ineffective and he is therefore creating a new managemnt body which includes the Valencia Government, Diputacion de Alicante, Town Halls, Water Authority (CHJ), irrigators, users and other associations with an interest. Its mission will be to identify the problems, the water resources, and to organise things so that a system which guarantees quality supplies is established. He noted that there is abundant water in the area, much is not treated and there are often high losses in distribution systems. From: La Marina Plaza Here are some pictures of Pego Marshes this weekend to back up the statement that there is abundant water in the area: Pego Marshes - August 2015

Local Police opens web portal on Town Hall website

August 4th
Xàbia's local police now has its own presence on the Town Hall website . The site, which is in Castellano and Valenciano, includes welcomes by the councillor for security and the Chief Inspector, a review of the sections that make up the force, the history of the police force in Xabia, values and functions and links to local regulations. There is also a section with security tips, alerts and news, faqs, links of interest and a lost and found service. An on-line mailbox is planned, through which people can communicate directly with the police, and they can in turn send out alerts to subscribers. From XAD: La Policia local..

Local Police acquire a jet ski

August 4th
Xàbia's local police force has been given a jet ski worth some €20,000. The craft had been confiscated from an offender and was ceded to the force by Denia's Court No 3. This will enhance marine surveillance, safety and rescue operations. The Town also thanks the "Maremoto" company which has helped in the commissioning and marking of the craft, and has provided a berth for it in the Canal de la Fontana. The police play an important role in supporting the Red Cross in beach monitoring. The task can be challenging, especially when bathers behave irresponsibly. For example there were 13 rescues in the sea over the past weekend (10 of them at the Arenal) at a time when beaches displayed a red flag. From Press Release.

Marina Alta Municipalities owe banks €116 million

Xàbia second highest debt per capita

August 4th
The outstanding debt of municipalities on December 31, 2014 has been issued by the Ministry of Public Administration. This reveals that the most indebted of the 33 municipalities in the Marina Alta region is Calpe, with a debt of nearly €37 million, and debt per head of €1642. Xàbia is the second most indebted with €26 million, and debt per capita of €918. Although Denia owes €22 million it has a big population and thus the debt per head works out much less at €535. Ten, mostly small municipalities have no debt at all. From La Marina Plaza

Demolition of building in the Port causes a bit of a stir

August 3rd
Last week tourists and residents were entertained to the skillful rapid demolition of a three-story terraced house in the Port (The building next to the staircase to the church of the Virgin del Loreto). This event was remarked upon in the last Council meeting, as having been poorly timed, since the demolition occurred at the height of summer. Apparently permission had been granted during the period between administrations, a time when the mayor signed everything which passed over his desk. Town Planning councillor Isabel Bolufer recognized there had been a certain "lack of sensitivity" on the part of the company responsible for the demolition while noting that the owner still had "no permission for the new building."The Town hall technicians had, however been very strict, insisting that it was carried out rapidly (over 2 days). The property owner has presented a project for the plot - a three-storey building (maximum allowable), but before it can go ahead there will be an Archaeological survey of the foundations. From XAD: La demolición..

Long-term jobless in Spain now account for 23% of all unemployed

August 3rd
According to the latest figures from the Active Population Survey (EPA), there are 1.2 million Spanish workers (24.3% of the unemployed) who have not had a job in the last four years or more. The situation is particularly dramatic for 180,000 of them, given that they are living in households that are not receiving any kind of income at all, either generated by them or by other family members….“Only one in every five people who are out of work receives any kind of assistance" for full story see: El Pais in English

Average salaries in Spain fall

August 1st
Spanish workers made a gross annual salary of €22,605 on average, representing a 0.2 percent contraction from 2013, according to figures released this week by the National Statistics Institute (INE). Wages accounted for 73.75% of the total cost per worker, which was gross €30,653 in 2014, or 0.6% less than the previous year. Most of the non-wage labor costs were taken up by Social Security contributions (€7,005 per worker), followed by corporate benefits, work expenses, severance pay and training. For full story see: El Pais in English (Eds Note: Average UK salaries are 26,500 pounds - about €37,600)

Brit tourists choose Spain in face of Greek crisis and terrorism in Tunisia

August 1st
The data available from the Spanish government, the British Embassy in Madrid and tour operators in the UK show the harsh reality of how the economic crisis in Greece and the murderous attacks against Western tourists in Tunisia and Egypt have led to greater revenues from tourism for Spain. Not only have the number of flights and visitors from Great Britain risen this year, compared to 2014, but also, the money spent by UK visitors, who make up a quarter of foreign tourism to Spain, has gone up by 7.4%. Tour operators also confirm that customers are opting for Spain, instead of the more turbulent Mediterranean countries. According to the British Embassy, the number of airports in the UK with direct flights to Spain has gone from 26 in 2014 to 30 this year. For full story see: El Pais in English

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