Motion on Port Expansion

The mayor presents motion to reject the expansion of port

Translated from Xabia al Dia
News 27/06/08

The mayor of Xàbia, Eduardo Monfort, has called a full special plenary Council meeting for next Wednesday, July 2, at 9.00pm to urge the Town Council to take action against the expansion of the Port.

To this end, the Municipality has filed a motion which proposes that all councillors should reject any proposed expansion of port. That they should instead go for redevelopment of the current harbour area and consider alternatives such as the upgrading, improvement and modification of the Canal de la Fontana, and to create a dry dock there. Also that they should urge the Government to process the declaration that the entire coastline of Xàbia should be a "protected landscape".

The proposal also reminds the Ministry and the Government that there is a “proposición no de ley”, (equivalent to UK Early Day Motion or perhaps Private Member's bill) passed unanimously in the Valencia Parliament, that for any action in the Xàbia port they must urge consensus among the three administrations.

The reasons for the Town Hall submitting the motion are given in chronological order, since almost ten years ago the Town Council first unanimously rejected "the building of a marina on the Grava beach".

This was an agreement which was reached after an attempt by several companies to build a marina in Portitxol, then in the Montañar II and finally on the Grava Beach. This was, for the first time, a true reflection of the consensus that existed in the Town Council on the non-expansion of the port area.

Years later, in 2003, history repeated itself, and the council twice again decided against the projects presented; firstly, by the commercial Fesánchez and then, by Marina Punta del Este.

Relating to the proposal submitted by the latter company in March 2004, the majority of the Council not only rejected it but asked the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure for "optimization of the current port area, the reconditioning of the Eastern Sea wall and to proceed to grant administrative concessions by competition. "

However, as quoted word for word in the motion: "the company continued negotiating with the Ministry and in the face of an application for about 129,000 square meters of property in the public domain of sea and land, (a step necessary for carrying out the project to expand port), the Town Council returned to reject the initiative in June of that year and requested exclusion of the port of Xàbia from the “Plan of Ports” of the Generalitat, which enabled the possibility of its expansion. "

Days later, the agreement of the plenary session fell apart and, "the door was left open for a possible extension."

That led the people of Xàbia to take to the streets to demonstrate in a mass protest that focused more than 10,000 people on the Grava beach with the slogan "No to Port expansion".

Then in December 2004, according to the motion of Monfort, the Corporation unanimously adopted a request to the Ministry to declare the entire coastline of Xàbia a "protected landscape", thus making any expansion impossible.

Another agreement was reached in January 2005 when a private company proposed privatizing the Canal de la Fontana, something which the Council hoped would not occur. They felt that the company would take over the concessions of the users, who were mostly small boats owners, and ultimately, the people of Xàbia.

And in 2005 the minister of Works and Infrastructure, Jose Ramon Garcia Anton, publicly said "While the Town Hall of Xàbia says no. There will be no expansion of the port."

However, the desire to expand surprised nobody more than the Town Hall when it became known a year ago that the Ministry had agreed to the request by the Conselleria for the secondment of publicly owned sea and land in order to execute the enlargement works.

That's when all municipal groups agreed to show their discomfort with the Central Government for negotiating "without the knowledge of the people."

"If it was important to have unanimity of all political parties of the town, of singular importance was the unanimous agreement of the Valencia Parliament on a proposal by the Compromís group, stating that any action in the port of Xàbia would have to be in agreement with the consensus of the three governments: Town Hall, Conselleria and Ministry. "

According to the Mayor's proposal "last April, we had a new surprise with the presentation by the Generalitat of a proposal to extend the port of Xàbia.

An "idea, which coincidentally closely resembles that of Marina Punta del Este."

Monfort stressed, "there is no substantial difference as regards the management model” and that “although the initiative is now public, essentially the concession will be private".

Thus, after almost ten years in which the municipality of Xàbia and all political groups have said "time and again that they opposed the expansion," Monfort concludes that "to allow the expansion of the port area would represent an irreversible environmental aggression" and in exchange for "a business for four, the landscape, our most important asset, would be destroyed."

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