July 2013 News Headlines

Migrating whales spotted off Xàbia

July 31st
Whales have returned to the waters off the Cap de Sant Antoni. During the summer, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) migrate southwards from the Ligurian Sea, (a Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary), towards the Strait of Gibraltar and this past weekend watchers have sighted a whale and several striped dolphins swimming around her. The fin whale is the second largest animal on the planet after the blue whale and can grow up to 27 metres. So far this summer, several of these whales have been seen off on the coast of the region. The "Canal d'Eivissa" (the strait between here and Ibiza) is a kind of "highway" for cetaceans. They are forced closer to the coast by currents and intense maritime traffic and the sea is very deep off the cliffs of Cap de Sant Antonio, giving protection to whales and dolphins. From Levante: Avistan...

Nine detained after Montgó fire

July 31st
Two Americans and seven people from Ireland were detained after a forest fire was started on the Denia side of the Montgó on Monday night (near the Denia/Javea road over the cabo de San Antonio). It appears that this group of holidaymakers let loose a Chinese Lantern which landed and initiated the fire, burning some 1000 square metres of forested land in an area close to other houses. They have been charged with the offence of arson by negligence. From Las Provincias. Siete...

Moves to reclaim the Port slipway

July 28th
The slipway next to the fishing docks was initially managed by a company which rented out sailing dinghys, but its contract lapsed and afterwards there was a free for all, the slipway being used by anyone who could fit their boat on the hard-standing. In 2009 the Valencia Ministry for Infrastructure put a stop to all that, blocking the slipway and fencing it off. The idea was to control this area with a view to making new management concessions. Since then it has been used only as a parking place for a rusting wreck. The Town council is trying to enable this area for public use again. They have recently sent four requests to open the slipway, offering various options to look after it, even to buying it. But so far no joy. The council now plans to hold meetings with Valencia to discuss the issue. Note: the Conselleria de Infraestructures de Valencia is the same government department that owns the promenade in the Port and does not allow tables there. From this Wiki (Battle for Jávea Port and Oscar Anton Facebook.

Benidorm's prized high-rise tower becomes a symbol of incompetence

July 27th
In May 2012, when Benidorm government officials climbed up the InTempo - the European Union's tallest residential building still under construction - for a photo op, they had an idea. The twin towers joined at the top by a cone were to become a symbol of the post-crisis takeoff of the Spanish city of skyscrapers par excellence. (Once a fishing village, Benidorm is now famous - or infamous, depending on the viewpoint - for a glut of high-rises that have earned it the nickname "Beniyork.") But in late December, with 94 percent of the building completed and 35 percent of units sold, Spain's bad bank, Sareb, announced that it was taking on the loan that a savings bank had extended to the developer eight years ago. EL PAÍS has had access to documents showing that the building that was meant to represent a glorious turning point in the history of Benidorm, but in fact it represents a long story of incompetence. For full story see: El Pais in English..

APASA receives €45,887

July 27th
At the last Town Council meeting, mayor Chulvi signed several agreements for financial support to associations including €45,887 Euros for APASA for its care and shelter for abandoned animals in the municipality, in addition to managing the kennel which now houses around 200 dogs. From Las Provincias...

How not to organise an event

July 27th
In the last few days there have been odd situations with three different events planned for Jávea. Firtsly, there is the Iboga music festival in the Old Town this weekend - the organisers waited until the last minute to apply for the necessary permits and the Town Council had to have an emergency meeting to authorise this event which is supposed to promote the image of Xàbia. Secondly there is the proposed Bull and Motorbike "Gran Fería Taurina" advertised for the 16th, 17th and 18th of August on the waste land car park at the Arenal (opposite the Chinese bazaar). Apparently the Ministry of the Environment is checking out the documentation and have to make sure they fulfill all safety measures and regulations. However Xàbia Town Council is also concerned that the largest parking space for the Arenal will be taken up by this event, and they are not too sure about the event itself and its characteristics. Finally, the Circus does not have a permit to raise the Big Top - for once the permits were given in April - however there are still problems with them …and the circus "forgot to pay" the water bill last year. From XAD: Gobernación estudia ....

Port Residents denounce a barrage of disco music

July 27th
It's not unusual for businesses to transform from one thing into another at midnight in order to maximise takings. But the metamorphosis of the restaurant overlooking the sea on the harbour wall into a "lounge" bar has shattered the image of the Port as being a peaceful, tranquil place, since disco music now thumps out until three in the morning. Over 70 residents went to the Town Council meeting on Thursday to complain, revealing that the measured noise levels were 66 decibels (which is above the harmful level) and pointing out that the noise could harm other nearby hotels. The bowl shape of the cove means that the noise is enhanced. The Coucnillor for safety , Juan Ortóla said that the Town Hall had already opened a file on this case. From Diarioinformación

Carelessness causes fire in Granadella

July 24th
Xàbia firefighters were called out at three in the morning to deal with a fire which had broken out in the protected forestry area of Granadella bay. The Balcon al Mar volunteer firefighters were first on the scene, soon to be joined by the Civil Protection and regional park firemen. The fire, covering some 60 square metres was controlled before it could spread to more difficult areas, and the cause of the fire was found to be barBQ coals which had been disposed of carelessly. The current weather means we are in a state of pre-emergency for high fire risk. From Pless Release. Eds note: Devastating wildfires are high risk when the wind is 30km/hr, humidity less than 30% and the ambient temperature above 30 degrees Celcius. The "tres treintas" rule (La voz de Galicia...

Avda Juan Carlos two way again

July 23rd
The Avda Juan Carlos (up from the Port to the Old Town) is now two way again, and allows parking on the side of the road. However the numerous paintings and repaintings of the road create quite a confusing picture of zebra stripes, especially when they catch the sun. from XAD: Avda Juan Carlos...

The demise of the boating industry in Spain

July 23rd
A long article in Las Provincias describes how the leisure boat industry in Spain has been scuppered. According to Gabriel Martinez, manager of the Dénia Marina, a turning point in the sector was the holding of the America's Cup in Valencia, "which generated exaggerated expectations of development." …. "the best parallel is with with the housing bubble." and "it is essential to recover the balance between supply and demand to ensure the survival of the boating business." Half of the hundred new moorings projects planned in 2006 were never completed, and the purchase and leasing prices of boats collapsed. In the Valencia / Castellon region, 6000 of the 17,367 moorings are empty, while there are 20,200 recreational boats. During the boom times boats were bought as investments by people who did not really understand the sector. They now cannot meet their expenses and have to sell, or in some cases abandon their boats. In the Real Club Náutico de Valencia there are 20 such abandoned vessels - identified as being "timebombs" by Greenpeace. All is not doom and gloom however, mid-priced boats (8 metres, around €70,000) have been selling. Hope is seen in the development of nautical tourism, but proper regional ports legislation is required. From Las Provincias: El negocio....

Xàbia's success in getting grants

July 23rd
In times of keen competition for grants from regional governments, Xàbia has had some recent success in acquiring 141,568€. These grants are all for specific projects. From Generalitat Valenciana 7,000€ to improve the playgrounds on our beaches, 26,500€ for Javea social services to set up a relief and prevention program for high dependency drug users, 22,210€ to help guarantee income for unemployed people in Javea and 18,790€ to help those caring for dependents. Also a grant of 18,790€ was obtained as part of the Eurodisse program where EU students studying for degrees in tourism outside Spain are employed in tourist offices during the summer months which gives them valuable work experience and provides additional staff during peak season. Diputación Provincial de Alicante granted 1,400€ to be used to provide furniture for the town hall and 1,500€ to set up educational workshops for children. Also obtained was a grant of 45,543€ to provide home help services for those chronically ill or aged Javea residents who need it. From Osca Anton Facebook.

Gas pipeline works break Amjasa water pipes

July 22nd
The works to install the gas mains pipe to Teulada hit an annoying snag over the weekend - they broke one of the Amjasa water mains pipes near the Benitatxell road. To add insult to injury, they broke another pipe during one of their ground surveys. The upshot of this was an empty water tank in Tesoro Park and many houses without water in their taps. Amjasa was obliged to fill the Tesoro Park tank with bowsers. Amjasa will be fully reimbursed for the repairs by the pipeline company, but complained about this type of work being carried out at the height of the tourist season. XAD: Unas obras.... Ed's note: The same company had bad press in the Gata area - when it ploughed through a known archaeological site. They appear to be working to a strict deadline: "12 hours a day,weekends if necessary, and forget about any by-laws, as they have to finish their link by Nov 30th,come what may!" (Quote from Benitatxell resident who spoke to one of the Engineers)

Police check up on Arenal businesses

July 22nd
In recent days the local police have visited all the businsses along the Arenal promenade to see if they are complying with the bye laws governing the occupation of public space. This relates, not only to the positioning of tables and chairs, but also to posters and billboards, and the glass panels of terraces which may intrude on the public walkway. They were also checking up on opening and closing times (places which open at 9.00 am are supposed to be closed at midnight). The visits were described as "preventive" From XAD: Visita preventiva....

Jávea achieves highest debt reduction in Spain

July 19th
Over just over two and a half years, Javea Town Hall has reduced the municipal debt from €48,262,768.65€ with interests payments of over €1.5 million per year to €32,740,201.58 - a reduction of over €15,000,000. Through excellent financial management and tough cost cutting measures Javea is acheiving what other Spanish Towns can only aspire to in producing the highest debt reduction of any municipality in Spain. From Oscar Anton's Facebook.

Spanish Government to Prohibit Trawling in Cabrera

July 19th
The Spanish Secretary for Fishing Affairs of the Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Environment and other involved sectors have reached an agreement to prohibit trawling over the coralligenous communities and rhodolites beds on the seamounts of the Mallorca Channel and the area East of Cabrera; a protection that Oceana has been demanding for years. These are habitats mentioned in the fishing regulations in force since 2006, for which the Government had not provided effective protection notwithstanding the fact that they are continuously subject to degradation because of illegal fishing. For full article see: The Fish Site

Medieval Xàbia by night

July 17th
Xàbia's Department of Tourism carried out its first guided tour of Medieval Xàbia by night. The route began in the tourist office built on the first Christian cemetery, dating from the fourteenth century, passed through the gardens of Loreto, the Soler Blasco museum , the chapel of Sta. Anna and Convent square. The climax was the last stop: The old cemetery, through which visitors strolled by torchlight examining old graves and discovering the funeral chapel of Sant Joan. This route will be offered twice during the month of August, Thursday 1st and Monday 26. To participate registration is required since places are limited. From XAD...

Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction

July 16th
Ten years ago the Iberian lynx was nearing extinction but today, thanks to an imaginative conservation programme that has brought hunters, farmers and the tourist industry under its wing, its numbers have tripled from 94 to 312….When the current project was launched in 2006 the Andalusian government worked with farmers and hunting clubs and persuaded them that saving the lynx was in everyone's interest. Lynx-spotting has become a tourist attraction in the area; as well as creating 31 full-time jobs, forestry work carried out under the programme has provided much-needed work for hundreds of small businesses in the area. Unemployment in Andalusia is running at nearly 37%. For full story see: The Guardian

Free Spanish classes

July 13th
The Xàbia Help Desk department, through the Alicante Government, is providing a Spanish course aimed at foreigners. This course is free of charge and is designed for attendees to be able to hold a basic conversation in Castilian, something which will improve their integration in the municipality and enable participation in more activities. Classes will begin on September 10 at the Adult Education School (EPA) and end on October 31. There will be two sessions per week from 9-11 hours, with a total of 36 hours of instruction. Early registration is essential, as there are only 30 places available. For more information contact the Help Desk, (in the Office of Citizen Attention) or send an e mail to gro.aibaxja|zepol.sonall#gro.aibaxja|zepol.sonall From XAD: El Help Desk...

Town Planning department to ask for public input into the future General Town Plan

July 13th
Xàbia Urban development department is preparing a questionnaire to seek the views of the public on various issues related to urban development and planning. These will be questions about the model of the town, urban spaces, environment and sustainability, public transport, accessibility, facilities, safety, property, types of housing, assessment of landscapes and resources etc. Once this document is ready, meetings and workshops will be held for stakeholders to have as much information on what has been included in the participation plan. In addition, everyone who wants to fill in the form may do so over a period of three months in the office of the Capella de Santa Ana, near the municipal technical office. from XAD: Urbanismo abre....

Xàbia asks for office to cater for foreign tourists

July 13th
Xàbia has asked the Alicante Authorities to set up an office for foreign tourists in the town, such as the one set up in Málaga. This provides personalised, comprehensive assistance to foreign tourists, and, if they are a victim of crime they get help from a special police team and interpreters which provide assistance in the foreigner's own language. The service has been implemented in Benidorm, and Xàbia would be the second town in Alicante Province to have this facility, which could also be used by foreign residents. From XAD: Xàbia pide...

Parietaria pollen a major source of allergy in the Marina Alta

July 12th
The allergy specialist at the Denia hospital remarked that she sees many patients suffering rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma brought on by the pollen of Parietaria, a common plant from the nettle family. The highest recorded pollen count for this plant is from Pego. The most common allergies in the Marina Alta are those from mites and Parieteria. From Diarioiformación.com

Language students receive their certificates

July 11th
77 adult education students received language proficiency certificates yesterday. They had completed 100 hour language courses in English and German given by a group of volunteer teachers drawn from the foreign residents community in the municipality. Free lessons given by Trish, Daisy, Jan, Rose, Ina, Morag, Chris, Tanya, Aileen, John, Sonia, Gisela, Ewa, Margit, Ursula, Carola, Monika, Martina, and Verena enabled the local development agency, CREAMA to continue to its language training despite being short of funds. Language skills are seen important assets in finding employment, particularly in the service sector. From Press Release.

Unemployment in Xàbia falls during June

July 11th
Xàbia closed June with 1851 people listed as unemployed, most of the enemployed belonging to the service sector, though 119 new jobs had been created during the same month. A table of unemployment figures for all municipalities in Alicante Province can be found on: http://www.sepe.es/contenido/estadisticas/datos_estadisticos/municipios/junio_2013/MUNI_ALICANTE_0613.pdf from XAD: Xàbia cierra...

The British buyers fight back

July 9th
Foreign property investors are battling to recover money lost in deals gone bad and have discovered a useful law from 1968. The little-known legislation uncovered details procedures in the case of deposits put down on the construction and sale of dwellings, and outlines in clear terms the guarantees that a home buyer is entitled to…The law not only required the property developer to return buyers' money, but required the bank to guarantee that any amounts it received were spent on construction. The bank would, from now on, have to supervise the money and provide a guarantee "under its own responsibility." In other words, if a bank takes your money as a deposit on a property, if that property is not built, it is responsible for returning your money. In a recent case CAM was found responsible and ordered it to return the 1.5 million euros that British purchasers had paid to the developer. fro full story see: El Pais in English.

Electricity sector on standby as ministry grapples with funding gap

July 9th
The tariff deficit is the difference between what it costs to generate power and what can be charged to consumers by suppliers in rates regulated by the administration. According to figures released earlier this year by the National Energy Commission (CNE) sector watchdog, the tariff deficit at the end of 2012 amounted to 4.281 billion euros, well above the administration's initial goal of 1.5 billion… Spain's electricity deficit is the result of a policy by previous governments of subsidizing the promotion of renewables, including high feed-in tariffs to power generators. But the main contributor to the deficit has been a policy of keeping consumer rates low even as supply costs climbed, so the true costs were never passed on to the user…According to sources in the sector, the best approach would be to remove from electricity bills the extra costs that have nothing directly to do with electricity generation or distribution and that currently make up almost half of users' fees. For full story see El Pais in English

155 applications for 30 short term jobs

July 9th
Xàbia town hall has received 70 applications for 18 three month jobs as forestry labourers, and another 85 for 12 officer positions. These summer jobs are aimed at residents who are unemployed and suffering hardship. Employees will receive €1000 per month and work on fire prevention in Granadella, Tossal Gros and the Montgó, as well as cleaning gulleys and roadsides. From Levante 155 vecinos...

Encouraging tourism figures

July 9th
Hotel occupancy figures for the first fortnight of July were an encouraging 90% in Denia and 78% in Xábia, showing a slight increase over last year. Whereas previously the British and Germans accounted for almost the entire group of foreign tourists, this year there are more French. From Las Provincias: Denia alcanzar...

Quick cleanup of dead fish on the beach

July 9th
A combination of civic collaboration and muncipal action resulted in quick action to solve a smelly problem. Hundreds of dead fish appeared on Benissero beach yesterday (the pebbly beach south of the port), these combined with some jellyfish had emptied the beach of holidaymakers. A neighbour called the local police and by the afternoon all the fish had been cleaned up by four workers from CESPA - the waste collection company, leaving the beach in perfect condition for bathing. The source of the dead fish is unknown, but could have come from fishing boats. From XAD: Cespa limpia....

Fundacíon Vives summer school in La Plana Monastery once more

July 9th
The Vives Foundation for Humanism and Solidarity has again chosen the Monastery of San Jeronimo on la Plana to celebrate its summer school from 18th to 20th July. This year discussions will focus on "The Crisis of principles, principles to overcome the crisis ". From XAD: La Fundación Vives

Uncorking some prime real estate

July 4th
The Environment Ministry says it wants to sell a huge estate in Cádiz expropriated three decades ago, 90 percent of which lies within the Alcornocales Natural Park. La Almoraima, made up of more than 14,000 hectares of Mediterranean woodland, much of it covered with cork oaks, was taken over by the Spanish government after it seized the assets of the Rumasa holding company, controlled by disgraced businessman José María Ruiz-Mateos, in 1983. Popular Party (PP) Environment Minister Miguel Arias Cañete has drawn up plans for the area's development that would include an aerodrome, two golf courses and a five-star hotel. No price tag has been put on the estate, but Isabel Ugalde, who runs La Almoraima, says that it will not be easy to find a buyer, at least in Spain. For full story see: El Pais in English

Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes

July 1st
Spain must act urgently to stop illegal water extraction from a protected national park or risk the wildlife-rich wetlands being placed on a list of world heritage sites in danger, a UN agency has warned. oñana national park in Andalusia is threatened by huge demand for water, fuelled by a strawberry industry which supplies British supermarkets. Some producers in the area are accused of using illegal boreholes to draw water from underground aquifers, which the fragile ecosystem is dependent on to support a wide range of species. For full story see: The Guardian

Tosalet Saladar Roundabout to be built after the summer

July 4th
Following a meeting between the mayor José Chulvi, the Councillor for Water Supplies Paco Torres, and engineers from Alicante Diputación, the plan was coordinated for the construction of the long awaited roundabout at the junction of carretera de La Guardia and Portitxol. The work will take place after the summer between late September and early October. This will greatly improve the traffic flow between the Pueblo, Arenal and all the urbanisations of the Cabo de la Nao area. To reduce to a minimum the disruption to traffic during this period AMJASA will also undertake in parallel the replacement of approximately one km of water mains between Cami de Cabanes and the XIC college. This area has suffered numerous bursts from the very old water main causing much inconvenience to residents and will be replaced by a modern cast iron water main. The Mayor stated that Xàbia Town Hall is most appreciative of the attention and help being provided by the Diputación, in responding positively to the many requests made by the town relating to the upgrading of our infrastructure. (mayor Chulvi Facebook page)

Young entrepreneur grants focus on Tourism

July 1st
Two groups of young Xàbia entrepreneurs have won three months' rent at the Comboi strategy Co-working space in Arquitecto Urteaga street, together with free mentoring and advice. The first winner was Cristina Vicente-Almazán who presented her "Dynamis Essavia Valencia" project which is a distribution network of organic produce, linking farmers, consumers, retailers and the tourism sector. The second was a group of young TV scriptwriters who are producing a video series called "Winter Sun," episodes of which will be released on You Tube showing the cultural, scenic, gastronomic, and leisure riches of the Marina Alta through the adventures of its heroine. The narrative is about an English woman who buys a home in Parcent, but then realizes that she is far from the bustle of Benidorm, a city that initially attracted her. The woman decides to sell her house and leave, but due to the market situation, has to wait a long time. Gradually she gets to know the riches of the Marina Alta; the inland valleys full of almond and cherry trees, local festivals, mountains and beautiful coastlines. And as she starts to fall in love with the region, she meets a man who steals her heart. Finally, she decides not to go and instead sets up small rural hotel. To finance the project, the makers hope to invite regional businesses to appear in the series (a kind of "product placement") From XAD:Comboi Xàbia....

Avocados, a Valencian success


July 1st
Avocados grown in the Camp de Morvedre (just north of Valencia) have been an economic success with exports of 10,000 kilos to Central Europe being followed up with orders from French and Swiss clients for the next cropping season and an increase in the area under cultivation. There are multiple reasons for this success: Firstly price: In Paris or Switzerland a box of avocados is 13 Euros - the price in Benifairó it is €8.00. Secondly Season: The avocado season in northern Europe ends in February, but the Lamb Hass variety grown in Benifairó matures later. Thirdly quality: "The variety is very productive, has great flavour and has everything." - Marketing is carried out by a professional company "Frutas Minguet de Xilxes" - From Levante: Los aguacates...

Xàbia Municipal Committee for Culture to be formed

July 1st
The Xàbia Town Council has agreed to set up a Municipal Committee for Culture after the summer. This body, made up of voluntary members including representative of cultural associations and Agenda21 will be charged with looking at and making recommendations on municipal cultural policy and equipment and preparing an annual report on culture. It will have a say on the destination of cultural subsidies and an input on the town's awards. from XAD: El Consell de cultura...

Valencian Forests hit by 19 big fires over the last 12 years

July 1st
The Spanish section of the WWF has issed a report summarising information on Forest fires in Spain over the last 12 years. They report that the 329 large forest fires (more than 500 hectares) in Spain over the last 12 years affected 41% of forested land. 96% are through to have be caused by man, 55% being deliberate and 23% accidental or through negligence. Valencia had 19 major fires during the survey period. The increased development in forested areas and their recreational use are thought to have increased the risk of fire as has the abandonment of agriculture and forestry activity which has strongly modified the landscape. From Levante: Los Bosques....

New Town Hall building falling down

July 1st
The new, unused municipal building at the Portal del Clot - which cost 6 million to build, is already falling to bits. Two of the cladding tiles have fallen off the external walls. Municipal sources pointed out that the fall of these slabs could already reveal that the exterior finish is defective and that, sooner or later, they will have to inspect the entire building. The constructor was ECISA - the same company which built the ring roads and underground car parks in which a string of failures have been reported in recent months. from Diarioinformación...

Tentative steps towards Municipal cooperation

July 1st
The regional Government is trying to combine and rationalise the number of town halls to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Some municipalities are taking the first steps to pool resources. In the case of the Las Marinas region, Xàbia pays Benitatxell €20,000 per year to enable its citizens to use the covered swimming pool on the same discounted basis as Beniatxell residents; Calpe and Altea are joining forces to fund a common municipal dog pound while Pedreguer has signed an agreement with Benidoleig over the use of their sports pavilion. From Levante, Sunday print edition.

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