February 2014 News Headlines

Xàbia's municipal bus service extended

Feb 27th
The bus service between the old town and Toscamar is to be expanded to incorporate two new stops in the Carretera Cabo de la Nao (also known as Avenida del Pla) to offer a better service through the Arenal area of town. Councillor Tere Bisquert (Transportation) explained that a small loop will be included in the 'Pueblo-Toscamar' route to serve residents in the Javea Park, L'Arenal, Plaza and Urbatenis urbanisations amongst others. For full story see: Javeamigos

Do your Town hall admin in the Tourism Offices

25th Feb
Xàbia Town Council has signed an agreement with the European Foundation for the Information Society , whereby in each of the three Tourist Information offices and the Citizens Advice Office (OAC) will have computer terminals from which most processes with the administration can be carried out . . "It will be a very useful resource especially for those who have secondary homes in Xàbia . Since at weekends the municipal offices are closed, citizens will now be able to process transactions through the tourist offices which are open 363 days a year," commented Cesc Camprubi the councilor for New Technologies. It will also be useful "for those who go to the OAC and wish to avoid queuing," added the mayor. Camprubi mentioned that Xàbia along with the city of Valencia , will be pioneers in the Province of Valencia with this electronic equipment enabling access for all registration services , the machine also scans and prints documents. From Mayor Chulvi Facebook.

Over 5000 demonstrate against oil exploration

25th Feb
Over 5000 people gathered in Castellon on Saturday to demonstrate against the proposed exploration for oil in the Gulf of Valencia. The crowd was notable by its diversity, including fishermen's associations and environmentalists (rarely seen together); politicians from all parties in the regional government, tourist sector businesses, municipalities of diffierent political colours ( including the ruling PP), universities and the general public. The demonstration coincided with those in the Balearics. Jose Ortega, secretary of the organizing committee and legal expert on coastal issues said that the oil exploration company Cairn's environmental impact report is based on theoretical studies which cannot be verified and that the noise of the air guns used to search for oil fields will not only impinge on the wildlife which passes under the survey vessels boats, but affect the seabed elsewhere, including the Columbrete marine reserve. From [* http://www.lasprovincias.es/v/20140223/comunitat/pescadores-ecologistas-partidos-empresarios-20140223.html Las provincias - Pescadores…]

Pavements at Avda Libertad (the Arenal) to be repaired

This week, work will begin to repair the pavements of Avenida Libertad in the Arenal. This is the section in front of the building housing perfume, shoe and veg shops, which is currently in the worst state of repair. The old pavement will be pulled up and replaced with paving stones and curbstones. Amjasa will take the opportunity of this work to change an old section of pipe. This work is scheduled to begin this week and continue for 2 or 3 weeks. The budget for this repair to be executed by a local company is 25,000 euros. From XAD: Obras...

Marina Alta flatly rejects oil exploration project

Feb 21st
Town halls from across the Marina Alta have rejected the environment impact statement for the proposed exploration for oil in the Gluf of Valencia. Xàbia has joined voices with Denia, Ondara, Teulada, Benissa, la Xara and Jesus Pobre. In addition Cedma - a business federation which represents some 1300 businesses accross the Marina Alta has lodged a petition with the EU parliament asking for the administrative procedures for the project approval to be suspended and oblioge the company to seek the approval of the EU. From: Las provincias....La Comarca...

Denia promotes value of its marine environment

Feb 21st
Deciding that the best way to protect a marine ecosystem is to make it well known, Denia Town Hall together with the departments of fisheries and the environment is launching a series of initiatives to publicise the richness of Denia's marine environment. There will be a brochure, showing the species of whale, dolphin and sea turtle most commonly seen around here, and asking the public to get involved in reporting sightings of these creatures; interested people can also sign up to be marine environmental volunteers, learning about the different sea animals and birds, and different fishing methods used, their instruction including guided trips out to sea. They are also setting up a whale and bird-watching observatory near the resuarant Mena at la Rotas. From Las provincias: Denia Pone en Valor....

Iberdrola to cut investment in Spain in wake of energy sector reforms

Feb 21st
The chairman of Spanish power utility Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, on Wednesday lashed out at the government’s energy policy and announced that his company “will make a testimonial reduction in its investments in Spain in the period 2014-2013” and not invest any more in developing its domestic renewables business, at least until 2016. Galán said during the three-year period Iberdrola plans to invest 9.6 billion euros, but will concentrate its efforts on Britain, the United States, Mexico and Brazil. Investment in Spain will be reduced to 15 percent of the total. “Iberdrola feels more British, Mexican and American than Spanish,” he said. from El País in English

Letting polluters off the hook

Feb 21st

Potentially contaminating businesses had to take out insurance to cover cleanup costs, but a new reform will let 98 percent of firms opt out

They called it "green insurance," and it was one of the most ambitious environmental laws passed by the previous Socialist administration. In 2007, tens of thousands of potentially contaminating businesses were forced to take out guarantees to cover the cleanup costs of any accident that might result from their activities. Essentially, it was about putting into practice the "polluter pays" principle…The fact is, the 2007 legislation was so ambitious that the financial guarantees were never effectively implemented, bogged down as they were by regulatory development…Environment Ministry claims that it has exempted businesses "with a low potential for generating environmental damage and with a low accident rate." and …nearly 315,000 companies have been left out of the green insurance requirement . From El Pais in English

Xàbia opens up tenders for beach services 2014


Feb 19th
The town hall has opened up the beach service contracts to tender for the period 2014-2017. Services include the hireing out of loungers and umbrellas on the beaches, the beach bars (one less than last year), canoes and pedaloes - and a new feature…flyboards. For full details of the tender prices see: Tenders for beach services 2014

Report reviews impact of oil and gas drilling activities on EU fisheries

Feb 19th
According to report by Dr David Green and Dr Cristina Gomez of the University of Aberdeen’s Institute for Coastal Science and Management (AICSM) we currently do not know enough about the spread and persistence of oil pollution and chemicals in the environment or on fisheries and we need to know more about where the oil ends up, how toxic it is, and how long it will affect different fish species. Indeed it could remain in the ecosystem much longer than we think, in the food chain, and we need to know more. There are still many gaps in the scientific understanding that require more funding and more studies.” Dr Green added: “The impact of any major incident goes beyond the environmental fallout. After the Braer tanker spill off Shetland in 1993, there was a direct and sustained negative effect on local fisheries. “In many European countries—such as Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands (and to a lesser extent the UK)—where fish consumption is high—there is growing concern about what impact oil and gas drilling may have on the fisheries resource—not to mention the effects on tourism and the economies of these areas.” From: Dailyfusion The full report can be found at: The Impact of oil and gas drilling activities on EU Fisheries

Oil prospectors target Balearics

Feb 19th
Residents and politicians are alarmed at plans to start drilling in the Mediterranean…"Spain's determination to explore for hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean is completely out of kilter with European environmental policy, and turns a blind eye to all the evidence about the impact of climate change," says Ricardo Aguilar of environmental NGO Oceana. "Fortunately, the government still has time to turn down applications to explore in Spanish waters…The oil companies involved in the exploration say that opposition to their plans to drill for hydrocarbons beneath the seabed is based on "a profound lack of understanding" of the techniques involved. For full story see: El Pais in English
The prospecting area is off the Cabo de la Nao - For background see: Oil prospecting controversy

Tariff deficit exceeded four billion euros in 2013

Feb 18th
The government was hoping that 2013 would bring an end to the tariff deficit – the difference between the cost of producing electricity and what Spanish consumers are actually charged for it. But according to figures released on Monday, the amount actually grew to more than four billion euros by December. The EU statistics office also shows that Spain produced eight percent of the EU's total energy, and that its dependence rate – the extent to which a country is dependent on energy imports – was 73 percent in 2012, surpassed only by Italy at 81 percent. For full story see El Pais in English

Winter of 2014 marked by abrupt temperature swings

Feb 16th
Since late December, this winter in the Comunidad Valenciana has been marked by abrupt temperature swings e.g. the 11th of Feb saw a maximum of 11 degrees in Valencia, then three days later it was up to 26. There have been four major swings, and an unusually warm night on 14th, where night-time temperatures hovered just below 18 degrees. This has been ascribed to the effects of the westerly winds, warm air pushing and alternating with colder air masses. This has also generated high winds. Despite the fluctuations, the temperatures have been higher than usual. From Las provincias: Bruscas...and El viento de poniente... For graph of variations see: Weather graphs (Eds Note: This is probably another consequence of the jet stream anomaly which has caused freezing conditions in N.America, storms in northern Europe and spectacular flooding in UK)

If you hit a wild boar, it’s your fault

New draft road safety law is up for debate in Senate as experts warn of “dramatic” consequences

Feb 16th
The new bill states that in any accident in which a driver hits a game animal, "the driver of the vehicle will be responsible for any damage to people or goods," although this does not extend to paying for the dead animals. Until now, drivers were only considered responsible for an accident involving game if they had violated driving regulations….Spain has 24,677 private game preserves, according to the latest figures released by the Agriculture, Food and Environment Ministry. But these numbers do not include the regions of Extremadura, Galicia or Aragón, which means that the real number is actually much higher. For full story see: El País in English

Xàbia Town Hall presents the project for the restoration of the Central Cinema in the Old Town to the Consell Municipal de Cultura (Municipal Committee for Culture)

Feb 16th
The Municipal Committee for Culture met on Thursday 6th February 2014 in order to discuss the renovation project for the Central Cinema – this municipally owned building will now be converted into a multi-purpose space to accommodate a wide variety of cultural activities. For full report on the meeting by Alma Dorndorf - Citizen Participation representative see: Culture Committee - Feb 2014

Xàbia joins the anti oil exploration movement

Feb 13th
Xàbia town hall has actively joined the campaign to stop oil exploration in the Gulf of Valencia. The campaign has already reached the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament, and fishermen are looking to bring the issue to the EU court of justice. There are concerns about the environmental effects of the sounds, audible 36 km away, used in exploration which can cause fish deaths and affect fish stocks. Should oil be discovered, there is also the threat of oil spills and environmental and landscape impacts along this coast which dependent on tourism. ((Las Provincias) in Xàbia, all political parties agreed to oppose the oil project and is organising the collection of signatures on Saturday from 4 to 6pm at the Arenal, and on sunday morning at Pinosol Park. They have set up a Facebook page “Xàbia Diu No” - "Javea Says No" and a form to submit a personal complaint can be downloaded from the municipal website: http://www.ajxabia.com/node/9124 . From Press Release. For background see:Oil prospecting controversy

Xàbia goes Green


Feb 13th
Xàbia has signed up to the Green Commerce EU initiative, led by the Valencian Government, through which small businesses take simple conservation measures in order to be listed for their green credentials: i.e. their commitment to saving energy (e.g. through the use of LED lighting), reducing waste, implementation of efficient logistics and commitment to raising awareness about best environmental practises. etc. For details of the initiative (in English , See: Green Commerce. Listed busnesses display the Green Commerce logo, which reinforces the image of the company and municipality as one committed to the environment. From Las Provincias

Xàbia / Jávea at Brussels Tourism fair

Feb 11th
Xàbia town has been promoting itself at the Salon des Vacances de Bruselas under the banner of the Costa Blanca. The fair was open daily to the general public with more 100,000 visitors, making it one of the busiest and most important in the field of tourism and leisure in Belgium. A guide from X``abia was present to answer questions and distribute promotional material. From XAD: Xàbia presente....

Recycled paper earns Xàbia €163,000

Feb 11th
Over the last 11 months, Xabia town hall has earned €160,000 from the recycling of cardboard and paper through the Ecoembes society. From XAD: Mas de...See: ECOEMBES for information about the society in English.

Xàbia ex-mayors acquitted of "Rodat" case

Feb 11th
Ex-mayors of Xàbia, Juan Moragues and Eduardo Monfort, and seven councillors have been acquitted of charges relating to town planning irregularities dating from 1997. The case revolved around the building of houses around the Hotel Rodat - houses which were supposed to comprise an aparthotel, but which ended up as houses for sale to individuals. From Las Provincias: Absuelven...

Xàbia hits the crime headlines

Feb 9th
A prominent Xàbia citizen, and ex-councillor of the now defunct party "Grupo Independiente de Xàbia (GIX), and resident of "Jardines del Sol" was stabbed by his son, who then tried to commit suicide. Both were admitted to hospital. From : Las Provincias …and a national money laundering operation involving the purchase of gold has been busted with 5 to 7 arrested in Jávea.
( From XAD)

Avenida Palmela closed for a week

Feb 9th
As of Monday, Xàbia's southern "ring road" - Avda Palmela - next to the new bus station will be closed for a week while works to reduce the slope of the speed bumps in carried out (from press release)

Table of Contents

Become an illegal homeowner for €1,000

Feb 9th
It's a little-known market, but it really exists, and it is expanding: sales and rentals of casas okupadas. This is the term used in Spain for homes lying empty after the original residents were evicted for defaulting on their mortgage, or because they were bought by a bank and never inhabited, or even because it was subsidized housing that had not yet been assigned to a low-income family; in any case, all these homes end up being occupied illegally by squatters, known in Spain as okupas. But now, squatters are not just those who pull down a door and move in by themselves. Instead, organized gangs in Madrid are taking over these vacant properties first, and offering to either sell or rent them to would-be squatters. "Purchasing" one of these apartments costs anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 euros, while renting is more expensive in the long run, since the gangs ask for 200 to 400 euros a month. For full story see: El Pais in English

New electricity bill structure 'penalises energy saving' and increases costs for low-use households

Feb 9th
Consumer protection groups have criticised the government's new electricity billing structure as it 'penalises' those who use the least power and does not provide any incentive to save on energy consumption. A year ago, the 'fixed' part of a household bill accounted for 35 per cent and the variable part, relating to consumption, was 65 per cent, but this was changed last July with a gradual move towards the standing charge taking up a higher percentage of what is paid by residential homes. Now that this gradual migration has finished, from this week onwards, the fixed charge will be 60 per cent of the bill and the variable consumption-related part 40 per cent. for full story see : ThinkSpain

Worries over drought

Feb 9th
The ghost of drought begins to haunt the Valencian countryside, particularly in the minds of farmers who have noticed rains conspicuous by their absence during the past 5 months. Depending on the area, there has been up to 90 percent less rainfall than usual. According to the Spanish Met office, accumulated rainfall between September 1 and January 31 in recent years was between 160 and 280 mms, while this season it was between 16 to 59 mms, representing a decrease of between 64 and 94%. The unusually high temperatures during this period have not helped. January, for example, was the warmest in 48 years, and recorded 70 % less rain than normal. The coast has seen no more than 5mm. From Las Provincias: La lluvia..

Charity shop gets credit for refurbishing centre for the disabled

Feb 8th
The Charity Shop Library - which is made up mostly of British residents - received credit in the regional Spanish press for its work and financial support in a major refurbishing of the headquarters of TAPIS in Xàbia. TAPIS is an occupational workshop to promote rehabilitation and integration of the mentally disabled so as to improve their independence. Mayor Chulvi and councillors were at the opening ceremony of the new premises to give their formal thanks to the charity. From: Las Provincias

Book of Xàbia's history translated into English

Feb 5th
Dutch writer Cornelius Wiedenhoff has seen his story of Javea translated into both Spanish and English by popular demand. The former businessman, who now lives in the Marina Alta town, spent two years researching ‘Xabia/Javea: A Fascinating History of a Small Town’ and discovered a rich past that had largely vanished. And the 76-year-old said: “Most of the traces of the past have disappeared in the old town of Javea, but in the book the past comes to life again with the history of this tow and offers the reader an exciting journey through fascinating times.” For full story see: Round Town News

100 metric tons of recycled clothing collected in Jávea during 2013

Feb 5th
More than 100 metric tons of recycled clothing was collected in Jávea during 2013, according to a statement by the NGO 'Humana Fundación Pueblo para Pueblo', an organisation that has carried out assistance projects in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Asia. Just over 100,000 kilograms of used clothing and footwear was collected from the special recycling bins located around the municipality. For full story see: Javeamigos

Missing the big migratory picture

Feb 5th
“Europe is, and will continue to be, deeply confused about immigration, largely as a result of the political pressure applied by the far right, which sees the issue as an opportunity to increase its political support,” says Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute. “A decrease in the number of immigrants would be a loss for Europe, which has a declining birth rate, and will continue to do so. Immigration is inevitable, not on a massive scale, but we will continue to need them.” ….
Academic research suggests that far from being a burden, migrants are net contributors to the welfare state. A study by University College London published in November shows that in the last 10 years, immigrants from the EU have contributed 30 billion euros in taxes to their host countries’ economies, paying 34 percent more than they received in terms of social services. A similar study by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, which surveyed non-EU migrants and students living in the United Kingdom, concluded that foreign residents used social services less often than nationals, and that the relative balance between costs and benefits was positive both for the economy and public finances. for full story see: El Pais in English.

Ten-year-old wind power plants stripped of subsidy entitlement

Feb 5th
Wind farms that were licensed before 2005 will cease to receive premium rates for the electricity they produce because they “have surpassed a reasonable rate of return” from their activities as defined by the new parameters proposed by the government for the renewable energy sector. According to the proposals, wind farms set up prior to that year will receive only what they can sell their electricity for in the market and will cease to receive subsidies. For full story see Ela Pais in English

Thursday open meeting on project for refurbishing the Central Cinema

Feb 5th
On Thursday 6th February at 19.00 hours, in the casa de Cultura, there will be an open meeting of Xàbia's consultative Committee on Culture. Details of the project to refurbish the old Central Cinema (near the Museum in the Old Town) will be shown to the public. It has been suggested that the Consultative committee will decide how the refurbished building will be used. It will have some 350 seats and will cost some €930,000. The preliminary plans have yet to be finalised by an architect, but it is expected that work will start sometime before ths summer. From XAD:El Consell....

Promoter of luxury villa fells municipal trees

Feb 5th
The promoter building a €1.8 million luxury villa overlooking the Barraca beach has cut down two eucalyptus trees and topped some pine trees on a municipal green zone which were spoiling the villa's seas view. The town hall is starting proceedings against the developer …but the deed is done, and the beautiful view of the Illa del de Portitxol for the eventual villa purchasers preserved. Note: the villa is on the last remaining building plot on the road dwon to the beach. From Diarioinformacion...

Dénia composting plant now in action

Feb 2nd
In October Denia awarded the contract for making organic compost fro prunings and garden waste to Excavaciones Blas Antequera, S. L.. The plant is now functioning and users of the plant can now pick up compost. from Diarioinformación...

Xàbia responds to regional flood prevention plan

Feb 2nd
Xàbia Town Hall as presented comments on the regional government's flood prevention proposals (PATRICOVA), demanding that plans for Xàbia should be more precise, particularly in the area at risk levels 4 and 5, which are mainly near the Gorgos river. The proposals will affect the drafting of the town's General Plan, as well as the development of its own flood risk study which looks at the affects of flooding in great detail. The original PATRICOVA plan was actually approved 10 years ago, but has been revised in the light of subsequent technological improvements and regulatory changes. The final document was released to stakeholders in November for feedback. From Las Provincias: El consistorio....

Free concert in aid of CARITAS

Feb 2nd
Cantores Santis Diebus, a choir from the U.K., will give a one-off performance in the Church of Nuestra Sra. De Loreto, the Fishermen’s Church, on February 15th at 21.15. Admission is free of charge, instead donations for the Port branch of Cáritas after the performance will be collected - and greatly appreciated. Caritas is a church-run charity which has a food bank for the poor and disadvantaged in Jávea. Cantores Santis Diebus has performed in Jávea several times before. The choir, director Nicholas Hale, will sing a capella: musica sacra from the Renaissance. The concert will last approximately one hour. From Press Release

One in three children in Spain lives in poverty, says Save the Children

Feb 1st
Over 2.8 million children in Spain live in actual poverty, with the total having gone up in a year by nearly 268,000, according to a report by international charity Save the Children. Taking figures from Eurostat – the most recent being from the end of 2012 – Save the Children says the number of minors living in situations of poverty went up in 12 months from 30.6 per cent to 33.8 per cent – meaning that, as at a year ago, over one in three children were in a situation of 'risk of social exclusion'…They define 'poverty' as being where the total household income is below the breadline of 15,000 euros a year – a net 1,025 euros a month; a high level of unemployment within the family, such as both parents and any adult children still living at home; or 'serious material deprivation'. The latter translates to not enough money to guarantee food on the table or pay the electricity, water bills, rent or mortgage. For full story see: ThinkSpain

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