May 2014 News Headlines

Barclays Bank Roundabout gets a makeover


May 30th
Xàbia’s Departments of Public Works and Services have been carrying out work to improve the roundabout (at Barclay’s Bank) that serves the flow of traffic between the end of the carretera del Pla where it joins carretera de Cansalades. This temporary roundabout was created for safety reasons almost ten years ago using bollards, as the final construction was dependent on finance from developments in the area, which are still paralysed. The Town Hall decided therefore to carry out some minor works to provide more security and improve the image of the area. A small curb has been built surrounding the central part of the roundabout, which houses the unusual ‘Chorisia speciosa’ tree, and filled with small blue crystals made from recycled glass bottles. These have been treated so they do not lose colour over time. This novel material also reduces the maintenance costs of the roundabout. from Chulvi Facebook and XAD: Cristal...

An unexpected find beneath old Central Cinema

May 26th
Work on the refurbished Central Cinema has not begun, but precursor archaeaological surveys have discovered the remains of the house which had been demolished in the 1950's to build the Cinema. They found an interior courtyard, paved with cobbles (similar to those which used to pave the church square) and structures which could be parts of various rooms. Its location, in what was previously known as the "Plaza dels Banyuls" indicates it could have been a house belonging to the rich. Excavations are continuing to establish the date of the building. From XAD: Las excavaciones...

PP wins European elections in Xàbia

Smaller parties make a good showing

May 26th
The PP won the European elections in Xàbia with 29.75% of the votes (1609), with PSOE coming second on 24.27% (1314). Both major parties saw substantial hits on their vote as compared to 2009 . Notable here, as in other parts of Spain, was the strong showing of smaller parties such as Compromis as part of Primavera Europa - (BLOC and the greens are part of this coalition party) 8.85%, and Podemos - a new (2014), youthful, left-wing party which picked up 7.5% of the vote. Turnout was 36.6% - 3% less than at the last election in 2009. For details, and a widget showing results from Spain, Europe overall and all the members states see see:European Elections 2014

European Parliamentary elections: PP 'wins' and PSOE second, but lose a third of their seats

May 26th
Results of the European Parliamentary elections show that Spain's 'big two' are losing ground, but the PP remains the most-voted party. But both suffered a drastic drop in popularity – the PP has lost eight seats in European Parliament, going from 24 to 16, and whereas four million people in Spain voted for them in yesterday's (Sunday's) MEP elections, a total of 6.6 million did so in 2009. Despite a similar result, the PSOE was far from elated with its candidate, Elena Valenciano, calling the outcome 'disappointing' and stating that the party 'must reflect' on its strategies and how it can best give the public what they want. For full story see: ThinkSpain . For additional comment see: El País in English - Spain's two party system...

One in five Spanish job seekers has not worked in three years

May 23rd
Six years into a profound jobs crisis, and the full effects of long-term unemployment are beginning to emerge. Figures from the latest Active Population Survey show that 60% of Spain’s 6 million unemployed have not worked in a year. What’s worse is that among this group, the proportion of people who have been without work for three years or more is growing, and now stands at one out of every five job seekers, according to data published on Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE). Experts say that long-term unemployment will be the worst legacy of the crisis, and the most difficult to tackle. Those who have gone more than three years without finding work no longer have the right to unemployment benefit and, in most cases, job-seeking-related subsidies. For full story see: El País in English..

Denia organises 24 hour fire watch for Montgó Natural Park

May 23rd
From May 26th until the middle of September, 70 volunteers from the Civil Guard and Acif, will provide a 24x7 fire watch of the Montgó natural Park, using shifts and mobile patrols and a stantionary lookout in Denia Castle. From Las provincias..

Proposal to create riverside road, bike-path and walkway


May 23rd
Xàbia's Urban development consultative committee is studying a proposal to make a two lane road, cycle track and pedestrian way beside the river Gorgos. If realised, orange farmers would have to give up some of their land, since the road and tracks would be 10 m wide. The proposal has already met with criticism, since the quiet, scenic country lane which currently runs beside the river would turn into a major thoroughfare. From XAD: El Consell...

School for cleaners

May 23rd
CREAMA of Xàbia, in collaboration with the Pons chemical company, is offering a new, free, intensive course on professional cleaning including the application of products on different surfaces and the best tools to optimize results. It also includes a few basics to improve better customer service, prevention of occupational hazards and the legal framework. Classes will be held from 10th to 13th June from 9.00 to 11.30 am at the adult education centre in calle Ramon Llidó. Those interested in signing up should contact AFIC and Creama (OAC building). Phone 96 579 42 66 or email gro.aibaxja|amaerc.cifa#gro.aibaxja|amaerc.cifa Attendees will receive a certificate for their 8 hours of training issued by the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia, Creama and Pons. from XAD: Creama y Pons...

Update on Participatory budgets - Monday June 2nd

May 21st
There will be a meeting on Xàbia's Participatory budgets at 8.00pm on Monday June 2nd in the Casa de Cultura
Agenda: 1. Current situation re: 2014 participatory budgets 2. Evaluation of the system used last year and implementation of 2015 Participatory budgets.
All welcome. (From Press Release)

Presentations on Xàbia's new General Plan in the three urban centres

Info in English, French and German at the Arenal presentation in July

May 21st
The Town hall has published the timetable for a series of meetings for the public participatory phase of the development of the town's new General Plan (PGOU). This phase spans three months, during which time members of the public can provide comment and feedback. The main meetings will be:
Old Town: 3 and 4 June, Casa de Cultura 8.00pm
Port: 17 and 18 June new Library 8.00pm
Arenal: 1 and 2 July 8.00pm - in Castilian with translation into English French and German - Colegio del Arenal.
The first meeting of each group will be explanatory, and the second a workshop detailing landscape options and the chance to fill in a form outlining one's opinion. In addition, information will be provided on the Web, as well as three on-line questionnaires (on land use models, vistas and landscapes) which can be filled in via PC , tablet or smartphone. People can also hand in printed copies of the questionnaires (Name and NIE required in all cases). Further meetings will be held for interested groups. The idea is to get an urban development plan with consensus from all sectors, including all political parties. From XAD: Calendario de reuniones...

Xàbia retains its Blue Flags for beaches

May 21st
Xàbia has once more received Blue Flags for Granadella, Arenal and la Grava (Port) beaches, and the Club Nautico received a flag for services. 387 beaches in Spain have received Blue flags, 47 in Alicante Province. See The Blue flag is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) - an NGO. For more see: Blue

On the heels of Spain’s illicit shoemakers

May 14th
The authorities in Valencia have so far closed down around 44 clandestine workshops, 60 percent of them supplying the shoe industry. The others, located in basements, garages and farm buildings, were involved in everything from car cleaning and leather goods, to furniture making. In some cases, the premises doubled as living and sleeping areas. Of the 369 men and women found to be working in these workshops, 253 did not have contracts and were not paying Social Security contributions. Over the course of the last year, the regional government of Valencia has been carrying out inspections of illegal factories and workshops like this as part of Operation Ecosub, which is aimed at trying to dismantle a hidden economy worth an estimated €253 billion in Spain. That is equivalent to 24.6 percent of GDP, according to 2012 figures, placing it on a par with the likes of Italy and Portugal, but way above Germany (13.1 percent), France (10.8 percent) and the United Kingdom (10.1 percent). For full story see: El Pais in English

Earth tremors in Valencia were caused by undersea gas plant, report confirms

May 10th
An official report has officially confirmed for the first time that there is a “direct relationship” between the 512 earth tremors recorded in Vinaròs in Castellón province last September and the injection of gas into the nearby Castor offshore storage plant. The National Geographic Institute (IGN) report ruled out that the seismic activity had its origins in the Amposta fault line – upon which the plant is built – as was first suspected. “We’re dealing with another fault, one that is not mapped,” it said. “The injection of gas has accelerated a seismotectonic process with a build-up of forces that already existed in the area, but that had not been categorized before,” it added. From: El Pais in English

Iberdrola cuts firebreak in Granadella / Costa Nova

May 16th
Town Hall technicians are overseeing the cutting of a firebreak beneath electricity power lines in Granadella / Costa Nova - a job being carried out by Iberdrola. Last year, a forest fire had been initiated in the area by an electrical fault. The firewall will be about 20m wide, and will respect valuable forest species, while removing combustible material. A major problem has been that the fire break cuts through several private plots and it has been necessary to obtain permission form the various owners. From Ajuntament Xàbia: Realizan...

Falling rocks hit beach safety, and Xàbia coffers

May 16th
Xàbia Town Hall has spent some €15,000 to replace and repair the metal meshes which protect visitors from falling rocks mainly along the cliffs of Granadella Bay. In the meantime Ambolo beach (the nudist beach) and the Tangó or Pope cove (just beyond the Port, in the Marine Reserve area) remain officially closed for safety reasons because of large rock falls. Although some remedial works will be carried out to remove small rocks from blocking the mesh at Ambolo, the danger is still high and cost or repairing/replacing the meshes at Tangó bay exceed the municipal budget. From: Town Hall press release 09/05 and Press Release 13/05... . For details of the Granadella works see: Javeamigos

An overdose of Tourism ?

May 13th
According to a new documentary, Barcelona has become “a theme park”. So many tourists are visiting the city that life for local residents has deteriorated to an intolerable level and the city is at risk of losing its unique centre as it sells itself to holiday makers. The documentary "Bye Bye Barcelona" highlights the problems which could result from over-doing tourism. In just under an hour it argues that the problem isn’t individual, red-bellied tourists loudly drinking their way around the town (although the inclusion of a photojournalism essay may suggest otherwise). Instead it’s the rapid speed the industry has expanded across this relatively small city - an unmanaged consequence of a triumphant Olympic rebranding in 1992. In 1990 a mere 1.7 million tourists visited the city. In 2013 more than 8 million are expected to dock into Port Vell or disembark from a low-price RyanAir plane. Barcelona is now the fourth most popular European city for tourists, after London, Paris and Rome. From El Pais Trans Iberian Blog (in English)
See a Trailer of Bye Bye Barcelona here (Captions in English). Full 54 minute documentary with English captions is also on YouTube

Campaigning for May 25th European Elections kicks off

May 12th
Campaigning for the European elections on 25th May has kicked off in Spain. Many EU residents from other European countries have the right to vote here, and should have received their voting card through the post by now (Tarjeta Censal). Of the main parties contesting for votes, (as listed in Xabia al Día ) - four seem to have election manifestos in English: PSOE (Socialists); UPyD "Union Progreso y Democracia" - Centre Party; Vox - a reform group; and Compromis (as part of Primavera Europea). For links to their information in English and links to other parties whose info seems to be only in Spanish see: European Elections 2014

Route of the Riuraus launched in Jesus Pobre

May 10th
Since 2012 representatives of 12 municipalities of the Marina Alta have met to develop the "Route of the RiuRaus" : Benissa, Gata, Jalon, Jesus Pobre, Llíber, Xara, Ondara, Parcent, Pedreguer, El Benitachell, Teulada / Moraira and Jávea. This initiative is mainly to present a unique, diverse tourist offering combining rural architecture, agricultural landscape, culture and gastronomy. The initiative was finally launched in the Jesús Pobre Riurau del Señor de Benissadevi on Friday, with a signing by all the participating municipalities in the presence of the regional director general of Tourism. Brochures in Castellano, Valenciano and English will be available in 200 Tourist offices in the region. From: XAD For details of the Riuraus (Raising-drying buildings) and the route see: The raisin route.

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Table of Contents

Town Council agrees on feedback on the Port Project

May 10th
Xàbia Town Council unanimously agreed on its feedback to the Valencia Ministry of Works and Infrastructure regarding the most recent proposals for Port development.
These were:
1. A study must be carried out on the impact of the project on the existing land access and the necessity to expand the same, as well as the provision and location of parking.
2. Maintenance of a similar number of free parking spaces as currently exist; areas of loading and unloading and free access to the Generalitat's zone of public moorings, and that a the criterion is to minimise the visual impact of the new buildings.
3. Maintain free public use for traditional activities carried out in the Port, access to the ramp and a pedestrian access which is "free, without any barrier or obstacle"
4. To take into account the presence of archaeological remains in the Port/ Tango area, including in the project an item to carry out submarine archaeological samplings followed by dredging.
5. Liaise with AMJASA and various relevant departments about the new requirements for water supplies, sewerage and public lighting, as well as making sure that outside lighting complies with criteria for energy efficiency and a reduction of light pollution.
6. Recovery of the of the Grava / Pope beach and consolidation and protection of the rocky slopes in the calle Caleta area.
From XAD: Las alegaciones...

Proposal for Port development met with reservations

May 9th
The Valencia Government's latest proposals for the development of Xàbia Port on Wednesday were met with some reservations. It was generally agreed that these proposals were the best so far, though the Town hall was concerned that no consideration had been made for increased traffic loads and parking requirements which would be incurred by the greater use of the Port resulting from more moorings. Aspects such as water, sewerage and electricity supplies also needed consideration, as did the possibility of effects on the nearby natural park and marine reserve. They proposed that the the Pope beach could be recuperated, and the cliffs behind the Club nautico consolidated. Free public access should remain. The Fishermen stood to loose some of the Port area currently used by their boats - and declared that they must lose "not one cm of water or land" and that 150 families depended on the fishing industry in Xàbia. Other people focused on the slipway just past the fish market. This was once open to the public and the new plans intend to do away with it. People hoped that it would remain as a slipway, to enable the public, especially young Javiense , to launch dinghies etc from there. For facts and figures about the proposal see: Port Proposal 2014 From Editor and Las provincias....

Experts warn of the beginning of the worst drought of recent years

May 9th
Weather stations in the cities of Valencia and Alicante, which have records since 1863 and 1857 respectively, have never seen an autumn, winter and early spring with less rainfall as has been recorded during the last eight months. In some areas of the Region, and in the southern regions of Alicante, rainfall data during the first months of the year could qualify as being "Saharan" according to Jorge Olcina (Professor of Regional Geographic Analysis at the University of Alicante and director of the Laboratory of Climatology of the institution) . "We are in an historic situation," he said. For further details see: Drought 2014

Spain's young people are leaving the country in droves - but will they come back?

May 7th
Youth unemployment in Spain is currently at 57.7 percent, the second highest in Europe after Greece, forcing thousands of young people to try their luck abroad, leaving their families and friends in the hope of securing a decent job in a more economically stable country. For those young Spaniards still at university, their thoughts rest more and more on the future: what are their prospects, should they go abroad and if so, where? “Nowadays every well-qualified person is looking for a job outside of Spain as there is nothing promising here”. Everyone here knows someone who has a university degree, or even a postgraduate degree, yet has been forced to take unskilled service jobs after they graduate, for lack of anything better: “If you are one of the best you can get a mediocre job here or a great career opportunity in another country” From El País Trans Iberian Blog

€1.2 billion over budget and still no opening date in sight

May 7th
Fed by European funding, the country has built deserted airports and high-speed rail networks used by very few passengers. Between 2004 and 2013, Spain received €20.56 billion in European money for transportation infrastructure. Of this, €7.45 billion went to the high-speed AVE train. A prime example of the waste is the series of rail tunnels being built in Pajares, a mountainous area in the northern region of Asturias. The tunnels, meant for the AVE, have already swallowed up more than €3 billion, and there is no opening date in sight. For full story see El Pais in English

Environmental jobs to alleviate unemployment

May 7th
Xàbia Town Hall is to launch another programme to create temporary jobs in environmental management for the municipality, while at the same time alleviating unemployment. Like last year there will be places for about 30 people to work as labourers or brigade managers for three months in two batches (June to September and October to December). Candidates must be job-seekers in particularly needy circumstances. Applications start on May 12th for 20 working days. A programme of works has already been drawn up, including clearing roadsides and water courses and forest fire prevention. The total cost will be €208,858. From XAD: Más 208,000...

Montgó fire started deliberately

May 7th
The forest fire which devastated part of the Montgó Natural Park was started deliberately. Traces of fire accelerant were found, ironically near a water tank for fire-fighting beside the path from Jesús Pobre to the Montgó summit - a path frequented by hikers. From: Información

Smarter, cheaper and greener ways to get around town

May 4th
Ever-more costly gasoline, gridlocked traffic, global warming and, above all, the need to save money are just a few of the harsh realities facing the Spanish automobile sector, which is going through its worst slump since 1986. Young people are no longer interested in owning a car, especially if they live in a large city. But that, of course, doesn’t mean they still don’t need to get around. One answer could be car sharing. BlaBlaCar is one of the most popular car-sharing sites in Europe. The company has grown three times faster in Spain than it has in the other 12 countries in which it operates. For full story see: El País in English

Public Meeting on Valencian Government's Xàbia Port Project proposals

May 4th
Xàbia Town Hall will provide details of Valencia's feasibility study for the construction and operation of a nautical/ sport facility in Xàbia Port at a public meeting on Wednesday May 7th at 8.00pm in the Casa de Cultura.
The idea is to obtain the opinions of local groups and citizens over the coming week to incorporate them into a submission of comments to the Department of Infrastructure in Valencia. The deadline for the Town's response is May 10th. From :XAD; Xàbia convoca....

Arenal's Canal de la Fontana out to tender


May 3rd
After years of delay, the Valencia Government has finally put the contract for the the construction and operation of the Canal de la Fontana out to tender . According to the Official Gazette, this project to privatize the management of the canal is valued at €5,008,017. The deadline for submitting tenders is two calendar months. The process will be open and will be awarded to the most advantageous proposal. Besides the investment of five million euros in the works, the company will have to pay an annual fee of €65,000 plus VAT to the regional government. The most worrying aspect is what will happen to the 350 members of the Aexamar association, who make up 85% of the current users of the canal, and which used to be involved in managing the channel. From Las Provincias...

Montgó forest fire highlights vulnerability of houses


May 3rd
A forest fire in the Montgó Natural Park started on Friday near Jesus Pobre (cause unknown, but being investigated). Some 40 hectares of forest were burned on the Col de Pous and Barranc de l‘Huera area. 50 people had to be evacuated from their homes, while helicopters and planes doused the fire from the air. Firefighting went on late into the night since embers were rekindled by gusts of wind and had to be smothered once again. Next morning aerial firefighting assets cooled and secured the perimeter of the fire. There had been fears that falmes might spread over the Col de Pous onto the Denia side of the mountain, where there are many more houses. As things were, there were no hydrants to protect the houses on the south side of the mountain, the closest hydrant being at the Marriott hotel which had insufficient water pressure. From:Diarioinformación (Ed’s Note: An article in Las Provincias earlier this week noted that this April was one of the warmest on record, and that temperatures were some 5 degrees above average)

Benidorm aims for a technology park

May 1st
In an attempt to solve a long standing dispute over land use with the regional government, Benidorm has proposed the construction of a technology park next to Terra Mítica. The park would cover some 100,000 square metres, create new business paths, some 5000 jobs in the medium term, as well as support specialist training and enable collaboration with universities. Development would be done with private capital, and the park managed by a public / private consortium. from Diarioinfrmación..

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