June 2013 News Headlines

Xàbia asks for regional funding to renovate a windmill on la Plana


June 25th
The Town Hall has asked the regional government to help fund the renovation of Windmill No 2 on la Plana (it's the second one - looking from Puchol towards the lighthouse). The title to this building was acquired by the Town hall only a few months ago, and urgent works are needed to stop it collapsing. The estimated cost is €40,000, and the Council agreed to stump up half - while asking the regional government to support the project to conserve this heritage building by paying the balance. The town, together with the Xàbia Viva association has already carried out extensive works on Windmill No 8 - and hopes in due course to fit one mill with a replica of the mechanism and sails. A refurbishment order has also been carried out by the owner of another windmill. Citizens have proposed that the windmills be illuminated as a project carried out under the Participatory budget. From XAD: Xàbia pide... and Las Provincias Xàbia busca...

Xàbia school wins award for Anti Smoking competition

June 25th
IT and nutrition students from the Xàbia IE1 secondary school have won a competition on an education project to promote the prevention of smoking. Their project was chosen from among 2000 education centres in the whole Comunidad. It simulated a metro line with distinct problems which develop with smoking being represented as stops on the line. Spain still has a smoking rate of 24% (From XAD:El IES No 1...

Spanish investors to berate Bankia executives at annual meeting

June 25th
Thousands of ordinary investors who lost money when Spain's Bankia had to be bailed out barely a year after its stock market listing intend to protest at the lender's annual general meeting on Tuesday. Shareholder activist groups have hired buses to the meeting in Valencia, in eastern Spain, and have berated Bankia executives for failing to book a larger venue. But hundreds of thousands of small investors lost their money when near-collapse forced Spain to seek European funds to rescue its banking system. Bankia received 18 billion euros ($24 billion) of the 42 billion euros in May. Another 300,000 people who bought complex financial products marketed by Bankia are still trying to calculate how much they lost. For full story see: Reuters

EU will give Spain two billion euros to boost jobs for young people, says minister

June 25th
Employment Minister Fátima Báñez announced on Monday that Spain would be receiving 1.5 to 2 billion euros of EU funds to help combat youth unemployment. The total amount that the EU is planning on spending on the problem, assuming that the plan is approved by the European Council this week, is expected to reach six billion euros. For full story see: El País in English

Montgó pothole grave of Civil war falangists opened and explored

June 25th
On November 2nd 1936, in the heat of the Spanish civil war, 21 Falangist right-wingers from Denia were killed by a group of 13 left wing trade unionists and their bodies thrown into a pothole ("avenc") on the Plana of the Montgó. The site has since been covered by a slab and marked with a cross. Last week two potholers in collaboration with the Soler Blasco Museum and Jávea Sports department opened the concrete slab and descended into the 70 metre hole to examine the burials. (Some earlier reports suggested that the number of dead may have been 15 or 17, not 21). The whole process was filmed for the making of a documentary. From XAD: Xàbia abre i'Avenc...

Summer walks on the Montgó and Marjal

June 21st
The staff of the Montgó Natural Park and Pego marshes are organising guided tours of these natural spaces. See: Summer walks on the Montgó and Marjal for details in English. Note. Places must be booked.

"Smart" electricity meters for Xàbia

June 21st
Iberdrola will start to install 27,900 Smart electricty meters in Xàbia during the summer. It will also implement telemanagement in 224 transformers, linking consumers to the "Smart Grid" which will enable people to benefit from flexible rates. From Diarioinformacion

More new Zebra crossings

June 21st
Xàbia Works department is improving road safety by creating and modifying various zebra crossings. Firstly, the crossing near Lidl's will now be on a speed bump, forcing traffic to slow. The same goes for the one at the end of Avda Palmela. There will also be speed bumps at the entrances to Phase 3, Tosalet, the Entrepinos urbanisation and Viveros Toscal on the La Guardia road. Other small wiorks will be the repair of the road to la Barraca / Portitxol, and the softening of speed bumps which are too abrupt. From XAD: Obras habilita....

Asset Declaration exercise begins to bare its teeth

June 16th
The judge iinvestigating former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas has asked the Tax office to let him have the Offshore Asset Declaration forms (Modelo 720) for Bárcenas and five other defendants in this case. Similarly, the trial judge of the Nóos corruption case asked for the modelo 720 of the Duke of Palma and other defendants in that case. From Las Provincias: Un juez ordina... This move is reported as Bárcenas is found to have another few million stashed away in Swiss bank accounts - The original estimate was 22 million - it now totals 47 million, See El País in English and the judge expects the Swiss authorities to reveal still more accounts (Las Provincias print edition). This news follows the revelation that top soccer player Lionel Messí has been accused of defrauding Hacienda of €4.1 million See: El Pais in English. The case is considered a financial crime because the amount defrauded is over 120,000 euros: the limit that separates an infraction from a crime. If a judge considers that a crime has been committed, he could impose a jail sentence of between one and four years under article 305 of the Penal Code. The government could increase this to up to six years if the amount defrauded is over 600,000 euros or a criminal plot is involved. However, normally such cases are resolved in the form of a fine. This could be up to six times the amount defrauded if proven – 24.6 million euros.

Speeding up state pension reform

June 16th
The latest (Government) proposals are based above all on the so-called sustainability factor: a mechanism designed to reduce spending on pensions outlined in the 2011 legislation for 2027, but in all likelihood to come in effect much sooner. The government assigned a panel of 12 experts the task of overhauling the pensions system. They have now finished. Their proposal is a system designed to contain costs, along with pushing back the retirement age, as well as other adjustments to the previous changes.
The first would end automatic increases in pensions, instead conditioning the amount we are paid to the health of the country's accounts. The second would calculate the initial amounts paid to future retirees on the basis of their life expectancy at the time they retired. For full story see: El País in English

Planning for the peoples' choice of Projects 2014

June 16th
Thursday's meeting to discuss how to receive projects for inclusion in the Citizen's Participatory budget for 2014 was attended by some 35 people. The meeting was first shown the new logo for Citizen Participation which consisted of a blue and green globe and icons of the three urban centres. The projects which had been chosen last year would be funded by the sale of municipal land - and it was hoped that next year funds would be available through the sale of more plots. This year there would be a different more inclusive procedure. A set of draft rules "Autorreglamento de los Presupuestos participativos 2014" (three + pages) was tabled as well as a form which people could complete and deliver at Tourist offices and the Office Citizen's attention office. These rules governed the processes of: Inviting and receiving proposals, vetting, evaluating, costing, voting, follow up and evaluation. The draft timetable was proposals to be submitted by Sept/Oct for technical evaluation and costing with a public meeting to vote on them in November. The draft rules, submission form and calendar were all open for modification which would be done by a steering sub-committee formed of 10-15 people which would meet on Monday July 1st (Ed's note: The steering Committee or "grupo motor" includes three foreign nationals: one Dutch, one French.and one Brit)

Cuts to healthcare spending putting Spaniards’ lives at risk, report finds

June 14th
Austerity measures could mean the dismantling of a large part of the Spanish health system and significantly damage the health of the population, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday. The authors of the report warn that if the trend does not change, there is a risk that Spain will experience a spiral of health problems that could mean an increase in infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV. For full story see: El Pais in English

Judge confirms the protection of Xàbia's Red Cross building complex

June 14th
The group of buildings on Avenida Alicante which are occupied by the Red Cross, Caritas and Fundacion Cirne have been conformed as protected buildings by the Alicante courts. The are considered to be representative of a particular era and local economy (the raisin) and thus bring together an historic and traditional character. The judgement was the result of a litiginous complaint by one of the owners wanitng compensation of 1.12million Euros. The catalogue of protected property, approved in 2006 includes 169 houses and architectural elements. In 2009, a modification was made to the General plan to include the Aveinda Alicante houses, and hence the now rejected claim.

Moves to demolish half built housing blocks near the Arenal


June 14th
The Town Hall is a processing a license to demolish some half.-built housng blocks in the Avenue de la Fontana which have been a focus of complaints. The abandoned blocks have become a magnet for down and outs, rats and other animals, and are both an eyesore and health risk. The Town Hall has issued various demolition orders, and recently said that it would demolish the blocks and send the bill to the owners. At the last minute one of the owners has submitted a demolition project of his own.. Watch that space. From XAD: Xàbia tramita....

Xàbia unveils new Tourism Website


June 14th
The new web page has much greater visual impact and can also be accessed on tablets and smart phones. There is a section for collecting comments and information from tourists, and for recommending visits to our town. The Mayor José Chulvi publicly congratulated the Councillor for Tourism and all his staff for the excellent work they were doing to attract more tourists to Xàbia. (From Mayor Chulvi Facebook). The site cost around €25,000 and was created by the same company which made the municipal website. Unfortunately the current Mayor Chulvi left his post as Tourism Councillor before it was finished, and his successor apparently refused to pay some bills whcih were pending - so there may be some glitches.. See the new web page on http://en.xabia.org/ From XAD: Xàbia sube...(Ed's note: It's a pity the English in the English version is so bad. I understand something is being done about it . Watch that space !)
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Social services in Valencia 'worst in Spain'; Navarra comes out top

VALENCIA, the Canary Islands, Madrid and Murcia have the worst social services in Spain, according to the Rights, Economy and Cover (DEC) Index for this year. The research – which was in fact carried out by the State Association of Social Service Managers – said the level of development of the system is 'irrelevant' in these federal regions, and 'weak, outdated and with negative perspectives' throughout Spain as a whole. Overall, based upon quality criteria, the DEC Index 2013 graded the Spanish social services with 49.2 per cent, a clear failure, and says this is due to public funding cutbacks rather than general incompetence. For full story see: ThinkSpain

Spanish govt pushes for Chinese stonefruit market access

June 13th
Spain’s Minsitry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) continues to prepare the necessary protocols for stonefruit growers to gain access to the Chinese market. In a release, the country’s Federation of Fruit, Vegetable, Flower and Live Plant Grower Exporter Associations (FEPEX) said the initial pest risk assessment for peaches and plums was sent to Chinese authorities in September 2011, and the ministry was still waiting for a response. From Fresh Fruit Portal

The demise of the Industrial sector in the Marina Alta

June 11th
If the Marina Alta had hopes to diversify its economy and boost industry, everything has been ruined. The crisis has not only sunk the construction sector. New industrial projects have failed without exception. In December 2006, Benissa Town Council awarded a contract for the extension of its industrial area to Iniciativas Costablanca, S. L. But last December, that is, six years later, it annulled the award considering that it was better coming under direct management. The company has filed an appeal against the Town Hall, landing the project in court.

Meanwhile, in Teulada, the streets of a new industrial area have been built, but nothing more. The program (the sector has 100,000 square meters) was awarded to Vives Dalmau in 2008. Today the land is used by productive vineyards surrounded by streets, sidewalks and light boxes. And, within walking distance (a little over a km), is the La Pedrera industrial estate which belongs to Benissa. No one in the Marina Alta recognised that industrial planning must be regional. Industrial areas have been developed such as Beniarbeig (48,374 m2) which has not got off the ground. In Denia, the polygon Madrigueres (487 415 m2) is suffering lack of investment. The Maria Alta region has 2.8 million square metres of industrial estate (0.35% of the land). El Verger with 586 865 m2 takes the biscuit with industry employing 10.18% of the working population in a sector which is unlikely to take off. From Diarioinformación

Stuck in the middle of the lost decade

June 11th
The numbers show that Spain has already endured its first five years of crisis: March 2013 data released last week reflect 20 consecutive quarters below the GDP of 2008. And the pundits are forecasting at least five more years until the economy returns to those levels again. The lost decade, an expression that sounded terribly pessimistic at the beginning of the Great Recession, is now something of a best-case scenario. "I call this Spain's Great Depression," says Francisco Comín, a professor of economic history. "In terms of duration and decrease in activity, it is only comparable to the Civil War (1936-1939) and the postwar era." For full story see: El Pais in English

Arenal Telephone lines go underground

June 11th
Some telephone cables along the Arenal promenade are being re-located underground. This will enable the removal of two telephone poles between the parking area next to the canal de la Fontana and the avenue of the same name, improving the aesthetics of the area. From XAD: Soterran...

International Festival to be (almost) self sufficient

June 11th
The association running this year's (18th) International Festival of Xàbia will assume 75% of the costs, estimated to be €40,000, with the Town Hall picking up the rest of the tab, through collaboration as well as funds. The festival will be held between 27th and 29th June . For full programme see: Javeamigos

Marketing the Med to the tourists

June 9th
A number of interesting points came out of the one day conference on Tourism on June 7th- One was that the concept of "The Mediterranean" had a good reputation, for example among the Nordic countries - so much so tha Croatia is using this adjective in its tourism marketing. Secondly: it was better to look at the average expenditure of tourists rather than stats on the numbers of tourists; thirdly, that brands muste be created which survive changes in administrations. The importance of building a brand and applying it was also emphasised. From XAD: Una Jornada....

The graduates caught in a debt trap

June 7th
This year, the 2,235 graduate and PhD students who took out a loan from the Education Ministry for the 2010-2011 semesters will have to start paying back around 300 euros a month. But in a country with nearly six million unemployed, finding a job is almost a miracle, and that's despite the fact that these university students long ago gave up on finding work in line with their level of education. Right now they would gladly accept a job as a waiter, a supermarket cashier, a telephone operator… anything. For full story see: El País in English

Jávea Park Civic centre becomes focus for general municipal enquiries

June 6th
The new Civic centre (Cívic Punt) in Jávea Park which was established under an EU grant following a University study, has found itself the focus of general municipal enquiries i.e. enquiries in relation to Town planning and Services, rather that just social services issues as was intended. The Social workers at the centre have helped with general enquiries and in some cases, directed questions to the relevant departments. People have also made requests there, such as a for local library, cultural activities at the Arenal, improved street cleaning and garden maintenance and the installation of waste paper bins in Jávea Park Square. The problem of how to develop the square remains a thorny issue. The main problem is that the land is private and the town hall cannot intervene although it has bye laws it can use. People have said that it should be made into a proper plaza, where children can play, and people can sit - this is a long standing request . From XAD: Jávea Park pide...

45 major works building licenses granted in first quarter of 2013

June 6th
Las Provincias recently published a review of urban development for the first quarter of 2013, revealing that 45 licenses have been granted for major works. A considerable number of these permits were for the construction of new houses, with work starting on two overlooking the isla del Descubridor. The total budget of the work amounts to 3.5 million euros, generating revenues 190,000 euros for the Town Hall coffers. From XAD: Xàbia concedio

Sale of municipal land yields €300,000 for infrastructure projects

June 5th
The auction of a plot of land in the Portitixol area raised €300,000 second time round (the first auction was declared void). The reserve price for this 1147 square metres of prime building plot was €285777. The proceeds will go entirely on infrastructure projects, many of which had been proposed by citizens for the Citizens participatory budget. This includes expansion and rehabilitation of pavements in the Port, improvement of a section of the Via Augusta, creation of a park in the plot which used to house the now demolished Guardia Civil barracks, the illumination of windmills on la Plana and the further restoration of the Granadella Castle ruins. From DiarioInformatica. Xàbia Vende...

Xàbia asks to be considered a disaster area

June 3rd
The recent hail storm apparently damaged 90% of grape, orange, olive and vegetable crops in Xàbia, and the town has joined with Gata in asking the regional government to declare the town a disaster area. Other towns badly affected were Pedreguer, Orba and Benidoleig. From Las Provincias Xàbia se suma...

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