October 2009 News Headlines
Table of Contents

Xàbia Rates factor to be shaved by 0.015

31st October
One of the factors used in the calculation of the property Rates (IBI) will be reduced from 0.7 to 0.685. However each year the rates increase by 10% of the total increase (which will be reached in 2016), thus any reduction will be unnoticeable. The mayor is considering allowing people to pay IBI in two instalments (as per income tax). From XAD: El pleno aplica...

Valencia Government to set urban limits by law

November 1st
The Valencia Department of the Environment is drawing up a map and "Green Infrastructure Plan" for the Comunidad Valenciana. The idea is to identify and protect the areas of greatest environmental, cultural and scenic value, and ensure continuity through ecological corridors. The integrated plan will be finalised jointly with the town halls and be enforceable by law. These include the protected areas identified in the Natural 2000 Network. See: Ministry of Environment , coastal areas of interest (though not currently protected), areas at risk of flooding, erosion and aquifer pollution. From Levante: El consell fijará por ley...

Small boat of illegal immigrants intercepted

October 30th
A small boat containing 6 illegal immigrants was detected 30 miles off the Cabo de la Nao. The boat, of unknown origin was brought to Xabia at 11.30 pm and the occupants were checked over by the Red Cross before being handed over to the Guardia Civil. On the same day a total of 28 immigrants were intercepted in three boats. Eight were found near the isla de Tabarca and 14 near the Cabo de Palos in Murcia. Xabia al Dia : Una patera interceptada....

Moves to keep the Canal de la Fontana for public use

October 29th
The Town Hall and the association of users of the Canal de la Fontana, Aexamar have met and agreed to do what they can to keep the canal as a public resource. The Regional Ministry of infrastructure seems to be well disposed and Aexamar hopes to obtain a concession from the Town Hall so that the 400 users of the canal can look after and manage the moorings. From Press release.

Demolition of illegal villa and restoration of land hits Xàbia for €57,000

October 29th

Last January an illegal villa in the Cansalades area was demolished following a court order from Alicante. The land has to be restored to its previous rustic state. The demolition cost 14,000 Euros to the public purse and the restitution will cost an additional 43,000 (though the owner is obliged to pay). Curiously the owner was using the area to house a collection of animals including a goat, wild boar, vietnamese pig, turtles and birds. The threat of demolition had been in force since december 2004. From XAD: Restituir el chalet...

Xàbia to recieve another 3.36 million Euros in State stimulus funds

October 29th
This time the money will be for innovation and sustainable development i.e.: business parks, scientific and technological innovation, infrastructure and technological development, deployment and access to new generation telecommunications networks. Environmental sustainability projects such as energy efficiency and water resources, accessibility and use of renewable energy, sustainable urban mobility, strengthening of cleaner transport. Social, health, cultural and sporting centres; expenditure for social services, mainly education and care of dependents. Other towns in the region receiving funds are Denia 4.7 million euros; Calp, 3.15 million; Teulada-Moraira, 1.53 million; Benissa, 1.42 million; Pego, 1.19 million ;Pedreguer, 808,643, Ondara 698,000 and Gata de Gorgos 669,000 euros. All project must be drawn up over the next 3 months and be underway by Jan 1st 2010. From XAD: Xàbia recibira.....

Car Park Controversy gathers momentum

October 29th
The Town Hall Finance Committee met as planned to ask ECSIA about the irregular bills, but representatives from ECISA failed to turn up. The Committee agreed to hire a specialist lawyer to deal with the matter. In the meantime the Old Town business Association made noises expressing their displeasure at how the whole issue had been handled, noting that many businesses have gone under and even hinting they might bring the matter to the anti-corruption prosecutor . Comments on-line reveal that leaders of the Association have themselves been criticised for holding political posts.(Levante). Ex mayor Juan Moragues has aired his views and version of the saga on Radio Denia. (XAD)

Ondara introduces ASBOs

October 26th
Ondara Town Hall has approved a number of bye laws to try to deal with antisocial behaviour in the municipality. These include fines from €80 to €2000, public service orders and training courses. The antisocial activities covered include prostitution, gathering together to booze in the streets (botellón), vandalism, urinating in pubic and dancing in fountains. Help will be available for prostitutes who want to give up the trade (from XAD Ondara prohibé....) Note: A few weeks ago Denia decided to fine street prostitutes, but this was criticised because all it would do is drive the girls underground and make them more vulnerable. Also a few weeka ago El Pais published some highly controversial pictures of street prostitution in action in Barcelona. The status of the oldest trade in the world is in a bit of a legal limbo in Spain and most prostitutes are not Spanish. For more see: About.com: Spain Travel It looks as though the northern European pass time of binge drinking has established itself firmly here in the form of the "botellon". See Wiki on Botellón

Car Park Controversy - Mayor asks ECISA to explain irregular bills

The Xàbia Mayor appeared at a press conference to announce that he will formally ask that ECISA explains the possibly irregular bills at the next Finance Committee Meeting on Monday. He also hinted that he was going to give up politics. The previous mayor Juan Moragues (who had presided over the Car Park contract tendering, now councillor for Tourism) said he was not thinking of resigning. Town hall officials reckoned that they wouldn't have much luck legally challenging the right of ECISA to claim compensation for the underused car park, and were in danger of violating the agreement themselves by providing free parking the the area (Avda Palmela and behind the health centre) From XAD: El Alcalde...

Spain approves new €5 billion stimulus package

October 23rd
Spain's government today approved an additional €5 billion for public works programmes in a new bid to stimulate the recession-hit economy. The fund would be in addition to €8 billion allocated in November 2008 for infrastructure projects and which led to the creation of 421,00 jobs since April but which is now winding down, the government said. For more see: RTE Business

FITUR to promote energy efficiency in the Hotel sector

October 22nd
The 30th edition of FITUR, the International Tourism Trade Fair that will be taking place between January 20-24, 2010 in Madrid, Spain, will be giving specific attention to the topic of sustainability in the hotel industry. The FITUR GREEN framework gathers together products designed to promote rational energy use in the hotel sector, which is organized jointly by IFEMA, the World Tourism Organization (WTO), and the Madrid Tourist Board. For more see: ETurbo News

Costas demolishes a wall and swimming pool in Xàbia

October 23rd
The Ministry of Environment (Costas) has recovered public land on the rocky coastline between the Punta del Castell (Scallops) and Cala Blanca by demolishing a wall and swimming pool. This belonged to a villa owner who had a concession which has now expired. The rest of the properties in te area seem to comply with the sea-land boundary. From Levante: Costas derriba una piscina...

Catalogue of irregularities in the underground car park contracts

October 22nd
At the emergency council plenary meeting held on Tuesday, the opposition Socialists revealed a catalogue of irregularities relating to the awarding of the contracts for the underground car parks. These include:
1. bills relating to the preparation of a feasibility study by the company CAT (Consultora de Actividades Técnicas), two years before they were awarded the contract. (Curiously these bills were provided in evidence to support the €400,000 compensation for not building an underground car park in the Port) ;
2. Only a single tenderer for the contract (ECISA) which appears to be hand in glove with CAT (in contrast the contract for the desalination plant which involved the University of Alicante, the Polytechnic of Valencia, Ministry of Public Works the Ministry of Environment, and 12 leading companies); Incidentally CAT and ECISA have been awarded two projects under the State Investment fund, including the glorieta roundabout at Cala Blanca, which will be decorated with a statue donated to the Town Hall by the director of ECISA.
3. Contradictory clauses in the contract: On page 44 it says that the concessionaire assumes all risks and responsibilities in running the car park, while on page 50 that the Town Hall is liable if occupation figures fall below a certain level.
4. Unseemly haste in the the contract awards process which was initiated in high summer under the mayorship of Juan Moragues and ended in the middle of the 2005 "catastrazo" crisis which resulted in a motion of censure and replacement of Moragues with Eduardo Montfort.
The Socialists want more meetings to debate this issue further and to see if there are grounds to refer the case to the anti-corruption prosecutors. From XAD: El PSPV denuncia... and Las Provincias: El PSPV de Xàbia...

Valencia Archbishop controls Alzheimer's Centre too


October 21st
As a result of the row about the ownership of the church of San Bertomeu, the Town Hall has been checking up on its records and finds that the Diocese of Valencia also has the "nuda propriedad" of the Convento de las Agustinas. This entitles them to the complete use (usufruct) of this property which is being refurbished as a day care centre for Alzheimers sufferers. This refurbishment is costing some 315,000 from the Town hall and 285,000 from Valencia, supplemented by considerable private donations. According to notes dated 2004, the Archbishop becomes the beneficiary of 100% of the profits generated by the convent for the next 30 years; the time during which it will function as an Alzheimers Centre under the management of the Apostolic Congregation of Marta and Mary. The Archbishop also owns the monastery on la Plana which is used for retreats. From Las Provincias: Xàbia descubre...

Car-free day in the Old Town

October 20th
This Sunday October 25th has been declared a car free day for Xàbia (Old Town). The object is to promote eco-friendly modes of transport. This initiative coincides with the 7th "Bicycle Day" which will be marked by a 9 km bike rally from the Plaza de la Constitución, via Ronda Sur, Avenidas Amanacer and Furs, to Via Augusta to the Arenal and back to the Old Town. There will also be games for the kids (from 10.00am in the Plaza), Horse and cart rides at the Montañar park, music and lunch for participants. In the long term, the Town Hall plans to improve cycle lanes and define speed limit roads which give priority to cyclists and pedestrians. From press release.

Red Cross, Caritas and Social Services combine to help the most needy

October 20th
In this time of crisis, more Xàbia families are turning to Social services for aid. The number of people without financial resources has tripled over the period of a year, and now includes middle class unemployed. For this reason the emergency support budget has been increased to around €120,000. Apart from providing aid for basic necessities, there is an employment plan, workshops on responsible consumption, and an information campaign. From XAD: Las personas más necesitadas..

Levante Newspaper to close Denia office and dump Marina Alta Edition

October 19th
Since its launch in 1997 the Levante Newspaper has covered the Marina Alta in detail. For most of this time there have been 12 journalists based in Denia. Now, because of a harsh economic climate, the paper is to close the Denia office and abandon the Marinal Alta edition. A petition to keep the regional office and paper going has been set up. It asks for concerned members of the public to email (with NIF, profession and any association represented) moc.liamg|anirametnaveloyopaedamrofatalp#moc.liamg|anirametnaveloyopaedamrofatalp

Future not so Peachy for Spanish Farmers

October 19th
"Our fields, whether for peaches or almonds or olives, are small but it’s hard to mechanise. Our land distribution goes back to Roman times, parcels of land divided and re-divided, as each generation married. I’ve been buying up plots with my father to turn into viable modern-style orchards, where I can use modern machines, but that takes time. Meanwhile, I use my tractor to bring in other farmers’ crops. You have to love this land to keep working so hard." for more from the Guardian see: Future not so peachy...

Recession-hit Spain goes back to black economy

October 19th
Spain doesn't feel like a country with an unemployment rate of 19pc. Bars, shops and restaurants are full and only 3pc of mortgages have gone sour. What gives? Unemployment benefits in Spain are very generous and family support networks are stronger. But the Spanish may also be falling back on a less attractive tradition – dodging taxes. Anecdotes abound of people working in side jobs while collecting unemployment benefits. A study by the University of Linz estimates illicit activity will account for 19.5pc of Spain's GDP by 2010. For more from the Telegraph see: Recession hit Spain....

Spanish wetlands shrouded in smoke as overfarming dries out peat

October 19th
They are meant to be Spain's most important inland wetlands, but yesterday the lagoons at Las Tablas de Daimiel national park were not just dry, they were burning. Stilted walkways stood on baked earth and rowing boats lay stranded on the ground. For more from the Guardian see: Spanish wetlands shrouded in smoke..

Extraordinary Council Meeting to debate Underground Car Parks

October 16th
Xàbia's opposition parties have demanded an extraordinary Council Meeting to debate the car park issue. This will be held on Tuesday October 20th at 8.00 pm (a time which will enable members of the public to attend after work). They have asked to see all the documents pertaining to the contracts and get to the bottom of the matter and enable the right decision about how to proceed. The Socialists call the situation the "Parkinazo" (echoing the "Catastrazo" of the rates fiasco some years ago). Today, Levante reported some interesting figures: If the Town Hall buys out the management company which runs the car parks (a subsidiary of ECISA, the developer which built them) it will cost the Xàbia tax payers 20.6 million Euros. Curiously, if the Town Hall took control only of the Portal del Clot car park (the one which is used the least) it will cost more, at 29.2 million. If things stay as they are (i.e. ECISA continues with its 40 year management contract) ECISA walks away with a minimum of 45.8 million, since the Town has to pay indemnity for underused parking. (From XAD and Levante print edition)

Meetings to deal with hoologanism in Xàbia fiestas

October 16th
The Town Hall is to meet with fiesta orgnisers to find ways to get rid of the vandalism and hooliganism (gamberrismo) whih is tarnishing the Towns traditional fiestas. They decided to wait until the fiesta season was over, the last being the Virgen de Deu de Loreto which ended on September 8th. The most problematic were the San Juan fiestas in the summer. See: July 2009 Story

Concert in aid of Alzheimers centre

October 16th
Soprano-Rosemary Jukic & Director-Gordon Lawson- For the ‘Centro del Dia Ahamis’ Caring for the elderly and Alzheimer´s sufferers. At the Convent de Marta y Maria (El Convento de las Agustinas Descalzas de Xàbia) Plaza del Convento (Old Man's Roundabout) Jávea. Performing Works, Including – Hear My Prayer & Jesu Joy of Man´s Desiring . Friday 23rd October 20.30hrs. Please support the charity by giving generously at the end of the concert. Further information from Jan Dewland on 96 577 0973 (from circular)

Carrefour to ditch single use plastic bags

October 16th
The French supermarket chain, Carrefour, is stopping giving our single use plastic bags in the Comunidad Valenciana. Instead they are selling reusable bags made of raffia, or single use bags made of starch. The money they save will go to charities such as the food bank and Red Cross. There is still residual opposition to this move. Of the 26% of consumers who disagree with the withdrawal of plastic bags, 43% say it inconveniences them while 39.6% think that it is "an excuse to save costs and services" From Levante: El fin de la era.... For an English article on this topic see: In Spain, carrefour equates plastic bags with excrement. And watch Carrefour's You Tube Video.

Technical Office Break-in

October 14th
Theives broke into the Town Hall's Technical Office over the long weekend holiday. This facility also houses the Registration and statistics offices and the Citizen's Participation Office. On Monday, a member of the public noticed that the door was ajar. Local police decided to fix a padlock as a temporary measure. Since there is no alarm system, (the departments are waiting to be moved to the new offices at Portal del Clot) theives were not put off by the padlock and on Tuesday morning, employees noticed the break-in. Computer towers, screens, a scanner, a digital camera and the laptop belonging to Pepa Chorro, the Councillor for Urbanisation was stolen, together with personal records of some residents. However the draft General Plan (which is still undergoing revision) was hidden away and does not seem to have been interfered with. The Guardia Civil is investigating. From XAD Roban material..

CIRNE Foundation sponsors excavation of prehistoric remains on the Montgó


October 14th
The Cave of the Barranco de Migdia, high on the cliffs of the Montgó contains a rich collection of cave paintings and archaelogical remains dating from prehistoric times. The cave is very inaccessible, and difficult to investigate. However, now the Xàbia CIRNE foundtaion has linked up with the Alicante firefighters rescue team, the MARQ Museum and Xàbia archaeologist, Joaquim Bolufer to carry out a proper excavation. The work involves some spectacular dangling from helicopters. From Press Release. Click here to see a You Tube video of the cave and cave paintings.

Strategic plans for the coast - remain on paper

October 13th
The Comunidad Valenciana has a coastal area of 454km and 16 municipalities comprising some 14% of the total area, but does not yet have an overall management and development strategy. Over the past decade there have been several announcements of forthcoming plans: 2002: "Valencian Strategy for the integrated management of the coast"; 2004 Project "Costa Natura - Natural Coast"; revived in 2009 (Note "Costa Natura" also happens to be the name of a nudist resort in Andalusia); Most importantly in 2004 a proposed territorial action plan for the coast foresaw a law on sustainable planning and landscape protection. Thus far these strategies have stayed on the drawing-board From Levante: La Costa del papel

Good weather brings 90% Hotel occupancy over the long weekend.

The recent long weekend holiday which encompassed Valencia day on Friday 9th and Columbus day on Monday 11th was blessed with warm weather, more reminiscent of the summer than Autumn season. Hotels in the Marina Alta recorded over 90% occupancy, though tourist apartments did not do so well. Beaches were buy and artisan and food fairs in Denia and Gata attracted the crowds. From Las Provincias : Las hoteles...

Don't be alone this Christmas

October 13th
This Christmas, like last year, elderly people living alone are going to have company. At least, this is the objective of the "don't be alone at Christmas" program promoted by the Xàbia Department of Social Services via the Ministry for Social Welfare. This joint initiative is aimed at elderly people who are alone and have no chance to spend Christmas with family or friends. To participate in this programme, applicants should have a degree of independence, be older than 65; or be disabled, retired or widowed pensioners over 60. From 23 to December 27, beneficiaries will be able to enjoy full board lodging at a hotel complex in Gandia with socio-cultural activities, medical services, transport and insurance. Interested parties may obtain information and submit their applications until November 3 in the Department of Social Services, located on the second floor of the Social Center, Javea. There, municipal workers will attend to them by appointment (by phone 96 579 41 42, 96 579 14 05) on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10.00am to 1.00pm. From Press release

Calculating a City's Carbon Footprint

October 12th
Half of the world’s population nowlives in cities, but determining how much each of those places contributes to the accumulation of greenhouse gases that cause global warming is no easy task. And if cities do not know what their carbon footprint is, they can’t reduce it effectively.Hence the importance of a study conducted by a teamof scientists from several countries, which uses a common methodology to compare the emissions of 10 major cities. For the first time, the entire life cycle has been analyzed, though there are still gaps to be filled. The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology magazine, found that Barcelona emits the least per capita, six times less than Denver, the biggest polluter. For more from El Pais see: Calculating a City's Carbon Footprint

Spain risking fines over failure to treat wastewater

October 10th
The European Commission is sending Spain a final written warning for failing to implement a court ruling on the treatment of waste water in the area of Playa de la Motilla in the Valencia region. Should Spain fail to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation the Commission may again bring it before the European Court of Justice and request that fines be imposed on Spain. For more see: Environmental expert.com

Underground rubbish bins next to Xàbia Municipal Market

October 6th
The new granite pavement in the church square is being dug up again, less then a year since it was laid. This is in order to install a battery of underground rubbish containers in the plaza Celestino Pons next to the municipal market. The Town Hall had had to wait for permission beacuse the works are near the historic church of San Bertomeu. The ground breaking resulted in a broken water pipe, but this was quickly repaired by AMJASA. From XAD Servicios....

Bilingual nursery in Xàbia

October 8th
Xàbia International College (XIC) has opened a bilingual nursery for two to three year olds. Fees are 200 Euros per month. They are also continuing free sessions for parents with young children on Monday and Wednesday mornings. See website for more details.

New Workshops for the 12 to 30 year olds

October 9th
The Town Hall's Department for Youth has prepared an expanded variety of workshops as leisure activities for the young people of Xàbia. These include: disk jockey, photography and photo re-touching, crafts, canyoning, massage, make-up, illustration and tatoos. There will also be courses on making better use of the Internet, how to create a blog, use social networks and use latest technology.
From XAD Monjove ofrece...

Xàbia's Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan

October 9th
In the October 6th 2009 meeting of the A21 Forum the Consultant Idom presented the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan of Xàbia. This document outlines recommendations for the short, medium and long term to improve transport in the municipality, prioritising systems which are more efficient and less polluting. The objective of Xàbia's Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is to propose a package of measures to help change current mobility patterns in order to improve accessibility and make urban spaces for pedestrians, resulting in a better quality of life for the people. To achieve this one must act on multiple fronts, from parking and public transport, to cycle routes and the planning of streets. For more see: Urban Mobility Plan

British public refuse to fly less to reduce their carbon footprint

October 6th
Fewer than one in five people are trying to reduce the number of flights they take for environmental reasons. Research from Exeter University last year said "green living" idealists who recycle and save energy at home are some of the worst offenders. For more see The Guardian: British public....

The Treasure of Xàbia on show in Valencia


October 5th
In 1904 a farmer found a hoard of gold and silver jewellery in a clay pot in the Lluca area of Xàbia (ever wonder why "Tesoro Park" was thus named?) These pieces date from the end of the third or beginning of 2nd Century BC. Replicas are on show in the Xàbia museum, and the originals are usually kept in the National Archaeological museum in Madrid. However the gold pieces are now at the Museo de la Beneficencia de Valencia until December 6th, as part of an exhibition on gold and silverwork from the Iberian peninsular from prehistory until Roman times. The Xàbia pieces consist of a diadem, three necklaces, a bracelet and a buckle. They'll be in a travelling exhibition to other cities over the next two years. (From press release)

Intensive coastal urbanisation modifies Mediterranean rainfall patterns

October 5th
Studies carried out by scientists at the CEAM foundation show that the Med has a unique climatic system and that changes in land use have altered the climatic regime so that summer storms are less frequent, but autumn torrential rains more so, and storms are also more frequent in the Spring. 80% of the rainfall on the Valencian coast is water evaporated from the Med. In the past, summer breezes carried water deep into the interior. On the way the air cooled and formed clouds, which were augmented by extra humidity from the vegetation and coastal marshes. Summer storms were thus triggered. These days the reduction of plant-life and wetlands means that clouds only form at high altitude, so much so, that in many cases they exceed the height of the mountains and fail to produce rain. In addition, in the 1970's the August sea temperature was 27C, now it is above 30C and the depth of warm water has increased by 50m in some places. This energy feeds the autumn torrential rains and phenomena like tornadoes which will become more frequent. From El Pais: La urbanización...

The mystery of, and battle for St. Barts thickens

October 4th
For background to this story see: "Give us back our Church!" A group called " The Citzen's movement for the recovery of the local heritage of Xàbia" delivered a letter by hand to the Archbishop pf Valencia when he visited Xàbia yesterday. The letter, containing nearly a hundred signatures, politely asks for the church of Sant Bertomeu be returned to the ownership of the people. Meanwhile the Town Hall is checking back on its records and finds that the church was listed as a municipal property until 1960. This document includes a cryptic remark written in the margin: "¡ojo!" (attention!)…thereafter the church disappears from the records. Investigations continue. From XAD: Unos ciudadanos... and Patrimonio regsitrará...

Beware smooth developers in Armani suits

October 3rd
Big companies are very smart at drawing up watertight contracts which protect and enhance their financial interests. This seems to be the case with Ecisa (the company which built Xàbia's underground car parks and new Town Hall buildings and the ring roads; and which is in the process of building Alicante Airport's new terminal). It has been pointed out that the initial cost of the car parks was some 12.1 million Euros, and we ended up paying 17 million. In addition, there's another 440,000 in compensation for not building the car park in the port and 1.5 million for extras. Also, under use of the car parks means that the town will have to pay compensation of about 2 million euros a year for the next 40 years, unless Xàbia buys Ecisa out at an additional cost of 20 million. Someone is smiling all the way to the bank, and it isn't the Xàbia tax payer! (Info from XAD: Nueva Javea cree...

Cheaper parking at Denia Hospital

October 3rd
As of October 1st the underground parking at Denia hospital has been reduced from €1.92 to €1.15 per hour. There are also vouchers for extra reductions for patients who are attending hospital several days a week for treatment in onchology, Haemodialisis and rehabilitation. These vouchers give these patients the same monthly discounts as hospital staff. The maximum possible parking fee is also reduced by 50% and is now €10. Note: The Hospital has a total of 744 parking spaces, 150 of which are on the surface and are free, four of these are for disabled patients. From XAD: El hospital de Denia...

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License