Mayors of the Marina Alta pledge to work together

Let us decide our own future


The Rotary Clubs of Xàbia, Dénia, Benissa and Calpe organized a regional 10 hour meeting of 15 mayors in the Hotel Marriot, to promote regional cooperation. Moderators were Pángel Albi, of Cadena Ser, José Antonio Ivars Bañuls, technician and professor of urban development , and Antoni Lluis Carrió, secretary of the “Institut of Estudis Comarcals, Marina Alta”.

The Mayors present were those from: Dénia, Benissa, Pedreguer, Els Poblets, Xaló, Xàbia, Gata de Gorgos, El Verger, Castell de Castells, Llíber, Teulada-Moraira, Calpe, Ondara, Pego y Parcent.

Here is a summary of their conclusions //(translated from Xabia al Dia: Decidamos nuestro propio futuro)

To work on that which unites us and not what divides us

The motorway divides the Marina Alta in two, to the East the coast and to the West the municipalities of the interior. These do not all have the same problems, but there is a real need for services and infrastructure that should be considered in a combined way. At the moment the district is divided in 33 pieces, each municipality faces its own problems, and with little capacity for decision.

But we all need each other. The district is like a great big family in which the little brothers have very basic necessities, and the big sisters have very big problems. Each of the members of this large family needs the others to find the answers and the power to project a sustainable, guaranteed future. We must overcome the local mentality, not fight among us, and get all the citizens to believe in the “marinidad”. It is necessary to put aside political colours and to work together for the benefit of all. We should work on what unites us, not what divides us. We need to carry out a regional socioeconomic study and create a plan for our common land.

Then we should prioritize the most important projects. We should confront first those that are fundamental. The main line rail connection between the north and south districts and a network of public transport. An appropriate guaranteed sanitary service for all municipalities. Education to avoid depopulation; Auditorium, Casas de cultura, covered pools, etc. Repairs, water supply network, treatment of refuse. If we plan these things jointly, they will be much cheaper. Although we will have to consider jointly whether we should centralize infrastructures or to distribute them in a strategic way, it is us who should decide where we want them to be.

"Marina Alta", Mark of tourism of quality

We are responsible for all that happens to us, but we should take control of the matter and since the tourism is the main economic motor of the district, promote a common strategic plan, and (why not?) transform the Marina Alta into a distinctive mark of quality.

The landscape and a unique natural environment are among the most important tourist values, and therefore the main resource that should propel the regional economy. The other is the rich cultural and architectural heritage. These should be our assets. Traditional agriculture must be enhanced through marks of quality, as well as the terraces and riu raus. Our past is also part of our future.

Urbanizing can be a neutron bomb. Urbanizing is not the only source of financing in a municipality, but a very big source of problems, since it takes a lot of money to maintain the urbanizations. Urbanizing can be like a neutron bomb that destroys life but leaves only buildings behind. The small towns can learn through the errors of the big ones and they are opting for a more sustainable growth, starting from the urban centre. But the biggest have to think of the quality of their citizens' lives, so that they don't leave.

Are we willing to come together with the rest of the region?

We have to ask ourselves if we are willing to give up power and lose spheres of competence. The solidarity of the coast with the interior must be improved, since we all need each other. Together it is much easier to pressurize higher levels of administration. We must also demand that the higher levels of administration return a percentage of all those taxes that we charge. Though we must not forget that in the end we are responsible, and that we must enhance tourism through the assets that characterize us. To administer the region together should be a commitment of this and all the town hall administrations that follow. Although it might not be a good idea to create new institutions to achieve it. The citizens do not need more bureaucracy.

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