March 2016 News Headlines

Rajoy promises Spain will adopt GMT if he is re-elected

March 31st
Spain’s acting Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said moving Spain back to Greenwich Mean Time would result in a "better quality of life" for Spaniards. Spain is renowned for its late mealtimes - lunch at 2pm and dinner well after nine when the rest of Europe sticks to its midday and 7pm staple. But the late timings are not restricted to mealtimes; many Spaniards do not finish work until around 9pm, which many believe has a negative effect on their work-life balance. For full story see: The On the same subject,El Pais in English Discusses the problems of Spain being out of synch, and shows an interesting chart comparing the daily timetables of people in different European countries.

Montgó Park Governing Board invigorated by new President

March 31st
The new president of the Board governing the Montgo Natural Park, Joan Sala ( a well known eco-activist) has put forward some new objectives for the board:
Increased investment in scientific research on the flora and fauna of the park; Power lines underground; reduce the impact on wildlife of the roads that cross the park; Increased vigilance of public use, especially in peak periods; Creating a fire surveillance brigade; More involvement of Denia and Javea through their town planning to avoid urban pressure and declassifying currently developable land in the area covered by PORN legislation; Involvement of surrounding communities to maintain the agricultural landscape; That the Department recover the areas encroached upon in the public forest; That the location of board meetings should rotate, so that they are held in one of the municipalities in the area covered by the laws governing the park . He also endorsed Xàbia's idea to create a visitor's information cantre about the park and marine reserve in the San Antonio lighthouse From: La Marina Plaza.

Xàbia asks regional Council for culture to help protect local heritage

March 31st
The Consell Valencià de Cultura held its full regular meeting in Xàbia this week, a session during which the consultancy body of the Generalitat Valenciana approved its verdicts in favour of declaring a number of assets in the Comunidad as 'Bienes de Interés Cultural (BIC)' - 'Heritage of Cultural Interest'. Mayor José Chulvi took advantage of the meeting to request support from the Consell to protect, evaluate and show the importance of three architectural elements of the Marina Alta such as the iconic windmills, of which Xàbia has 11 on La Plana and another known as La Safranera near the football stadium in Freginal, the ingenious fishing platforms of Les Pesqueres that hang from the steeps cliffs above the sea of which there are 85 documented through the region, and the 'ruiraus', unique buildings attached to houses that were used to protect drying grapes in the once-lucrative raisin industry. For full story see: Javeamigos

Police catch two illegal fishermen with 15 kilos of fish

March 31st
Two poachers from Murcia were caught by the local police and Guardia Civil last night at La Barraca cove in Portitxol with 15 kilos of fish between them. Patrols had noted a car parked near the beach at night so they waited for the occupants to return at 2.00 am when they were apprended with their illegal catch. The law does not allow the fish to be sold, so it was given to charioty - namely the Asilo Hermanos Cholbi old people's home. From: La Provincias

Foreign Tourists up

March 31st
In the first two months of the year, Spain received 7.2 million foreign tourists, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year. 20% of the visitors were from the UK with a 16.7% increase (From Las Provincias March 30th)

Montgó over Easter: camping in prohibited areas, parking on newly reclaimed burnt ground

A lack of civic-mindedness among visitors

March 29th
The Montgó Natural Park was the focus of a large influx of visitors over Easter. Some of whom showed a marked lack of civic-mindedness by camping in prohibited areas, including in the Cova Tallada and parking on areas which were in the process of regenerating after the 2014 fire. Not all the blame can be laid at the feet of the visitors however, since there is a lack of signs telling people where certain activities are prohibited, and to cap it all, the toilets in the recreation/ picnic area were locked over the holiday period… From: La Marina Plaza

Negligence a prime cause of Forest fires

March 27th
More than 700 people have recently been mobilised in the Comunidad Valenciana to prevent forest fires and there have already been a number of near misses, including in Gata. The dry conditions, winds and large number of people camping or using recreational areas in forest areas, as well as weekend cottages (an estimated seasonal 100,000) has increased the risk of fire. Although barbeques etc are restricted to "safe" areas, some people have proposed the total ban on fires in forested areas during the Easter holidays, just as during the summer. From La Marina Plaza (Ed's note: by timely coincidence, a small fire in an abandoned field in the Benimadrocs area, near houses along the Jesus Pobre road was dealt with on March 29th XAD)

Best year for property transactions since 2008

March 27th
For the first time in 16 years, the number of property transactions in the Marina Alta (4,902) has exceeded the 2008 figure (4,735), though it is nowhere near the 2006 boom figure of 10,904. In 2015 Xàbia saw 944 sales. From La Marina Plaza

Xàbia restaurants asked to collaborate to counter illegal fishing

March 23rd
Plans have been put forward to deal with the problem of illegal fishing in the municipality with restaurants and bars across Xàbia being asked not to accept seafood whose origin cannot be traced through official documentation. Poaching has been difficult to control along a coastline that stretches some 27 kilometres but Xàbia Town Hall aims to discourage the practice with huge fines and seizure of equipment. For full story see: Javeamigos

Local police to be reinforced with temporary officers during the summer

March 22nd
Xàbia's local police force will be reinforced with 12 temporary officers over the summer from the beginning of June until the end of September. Interested parties can consult the terms and conditions of applying on the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia website. Applications must be registered with the Oficina de Atención al Ciudadano (OAC) at Portal del Clot by Monday 11th April. For more details see: Javeamigos

Benitatxell leads campaign for regional Moscatel wine to have its own "Denominación de Origen Calificada "

March 15th
Benitatxell is leading a campaign to designate wine made from mostcatle grapes in the Marina Alta to have its own "Denominación de Origen Calificada" - certificate of origin. They have sent documentation to wineries and to the regional government with a dossier including the specification and the rules of the Association of Moscatell Viticultors of the Marina Alta. From Las Provincias.

Islamic castles exhibition now on the web – in three languages

March 15th
Last year a travelling exhibition of the Islamic castles of the Marina Alta was produced by members of AMUX (the Friends of the Museum of Xàbia association). This was done with support from the Xàbia museum and the Department of Culture. The exhibition was shown in the Xàbia Museum and is now travelling to the towns of Orba, Benissa and Ontinyent. Members of AMUX were aware of the interest shown by visitors who cannot read Valenciano, so we decided to put the information on the AMUX website in all three languages in a way which is easily accessible to everyone, including those who cannot get to see the live exhibition. The virtual exhibition can be found on the AMUX Website ( . From the main menu click Projectes / Expo-Castells Andalusins. From: AMUX website

Promoting Castles as a Tourism attraction

March 15th
The Costa Blanca "Patronato", an autonomous body of the Alicante Diputación, has compiled a hundred castles, enclosures and fortresses from across the province into a guide with the aim of promoting and disseminating this valuable legacy, to promote off-season tourism and support the area. The guide was launched at Denia castle and is available from Tourist Offices.

What to do with the washed up Posodonia?

March 11th
Each year 13,000 tons of Posodonia sea grass is washed up on Denia's beaches. In the past, it has been used as horse feed. Recently a coopertive from Valencia province has contacted Denia to see if the Posodonia can be distilled to make a liquor. The idea is still in its infancy. Other alternatives are to make bio-fuel pellets and use in the cosmetic industry.From: Las Provincias

Fire fighting budget increased

March 11th
The fire fighting budget for the Valencian community has been increased this year, in view of the current danger of fires outside the summer season. There will be three more firefighting brigades and more than 500 operatives involved in a campaign which kicks off this easter. From: Las Provincias

Marine Research Station in Calpe looks to set up reserve of fishing interests around the Peñon

March 11th
Three years ago the Marine Research Station of the Environmental and Marine Institute of the Catholic University (IMEDMAR) has been operating out of the old Fish market in Calpe. They are currently studying the depths around the Peñon de Ifach with a view to creating a fishing reserve in the area. They are also studying endangered species and have done a great deal to publicise the submarine environment and need for conervation. From: Las Provincias

Conference to control Tiger Mosquito

March 4th
A conference is to be hosted in Xàbia next week to plan grappling with the tiger mosquito. Organised by the Marina Alta's Department of Public Health, councillor Pilar Zamora (Health) explained that the meeting will talk about how to identify the species and their living habits as well as look at prevention methods. It will also discuss measures of action at municipal level and in public health. The conference will start at 9.00am on Thursday 10th March in the auditorium of the Soler Blasco Museum and will involve personnel from the Laboratory of Entomology and Pest Control at the University of Valencia as well as from the Department of Public Health and medical personnel. For full story see: javeamigos

The Plus side of the warm, dry winter

March 4th
Las Sunday's Las Provincias listed some of the effects of the on-going drought and warm winter. On the plus side there has been an increase in off-season tourism, with overnight stays up by 15.1% and journeys up by 12.3% in the Comunidad in January…though more road accidents. In addition there have been fewer cases of flu (though more allergies and athsma) and electricity demand was down 5%.

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