October 2013 News Headlines

Come to Vote on the 2014 Participatory Budget projects !

Oct 29th
There will be a public meeting on Wednesday 6th November at 8.00pm to enable Xàbia residents to vote on projects to be funded by the town Hall's 2014 Particpatory budget. The meeting will be held at the Casa de Cultura. The raw list of around 100 proposals was analysed by the various departments to identify those which were already in existing programmes and those which were not feasilble. The resulting shortlist of around 20 projects includes: Anti Jellyfish nets; a multipurpose area for young people, a climbing wall, resurfacing Avda San Carlos (to get rid of the confusing road markings), roofing the Arnuda RiuRau, converting a windmill into a museum; replace playground equipment; a protective fence around the Sports hall; cosmetically enhance the "wall" on the Principe de Asturias; underground rubbish bins in Jávea Park; a "frontenis" court, improving roundabouts and public gardens and buying a set of chairs and tables for the activities of associations. The total budget will be in the order of €500,000 conditional on the sale of public land. From Press Release See XAD: Un frontenis...

Make sure you don't fall off the Padrón

Oct 29th
The law requiring EU citizens inscribed on the padrón (town register) to renew their commitment every five years was passed in 2008 —five years ago. Non EU residents need to re-register every two years. If they do not renew, they run the risk of being struck off the list, however an EU citizen who has registered a change of address gets another five years as from that date. The Town hall is sending out letters to everyone who needs to renew, but given the vagaries of the postal system its probably a good idea to check if you're on the register and about to fall off via the Citizen's Advice Office above the Portal del Clot. If you would like to vote in EU elections in Spain, and haven't previously done so, should go to the Citizen's attention Office before Jan 31st 2014. The elctions are on May 25th 2014. (Ed from notes on Briefing for Expats about the Padrón and EU elections) - For more information and lots of info for expats in Spain see: the Alicante Provincial Governmen't site for Foreigners.

The Youth Hostel concept arrives in Xàbia

Oct 29th
Jávea architect Eduardi Diego decided to convert his family's protected 19th Century house into a new type of lodging for Xàbia, a youth hostel - The hostel, on Principe de Asturias, which has been open over the summer sleeps 50, in bedrooms for 4 or 8 people. It retains the traditional facade and charm of the old building, provinding every need for guests. To date it has seen visitors of 15 different nationalities. From XAD: El Concepto....

La Plana windmills to be lit up

Oct 29th
The Town Hall has started work to illuminate two of Xàbia's distinctive La Plana windmills (numbers 7 and 8) at night. Lighting will be provided by solar panels and LEDs, and there are security measures to protect the installation from robbers and vandalism. This €20,000 project was voted for by Xàbia's citizens in the 2013 Participatory Budget. It is planned in time to extend lighting to the three other windmills which are municipally owned. From XAD: Dos de los....

30 people attend organic farming course

Oct 29th
Xàbia's Department of Economic Developement is running an organic farming course starting today. The three sessions will cover, marketing, diversity, organic pest control and fertilisers. The idea is to promote the recover of the agricultural sector and link it with the tourist image of the town and it's food trademakr of "gastroxàbia". From XAD: 30 personas....

EU environment ministers call for action on climate policy

Oct 28th
Thirteen European environment ministers and dozens of business leaders urged the European Union on Monday to adopt “ambitious” energy and climate goals for 2030 to create a low-carbon economy in Europe to spur investment. In a 40-page document released at a green growth conference in Brussels, they also said the 28-nation bloc should reform the structure of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and offer a strict emissions cut pledge at a climate summit next autumn. For full story see: Euronews

False Alarm - no damage to the sewerage outfall

Oct 28th
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Water and EPSAR (Entidad Pública de Sanejament i Residus ) - the body which runs Xàbia's sewerage works, there has been no damage to the sewerage outfall pipe which enters the sea far offshore. This is in response to reports of damage lodged by the action group " Ecologistas en Acción" See Oct 20th item below:"Underwater Suirvey…"

Property sales up

Oct 27th
The first six months of 2013 saw an increase of 24% in house sales over the same period last year. In the 31 municipalities of the Marina Alta region there were 873 transactions. This figure is substantially higher than 701 in 2012. These are the best statistics in the area since 2010 and demonstrate the pull effect of lower prices. Banks have been selling properties with discounts ranging up to 60%. From Diarioinformación

Unemployment falls due to temporary hiring for summer tourist period

Oct 27th
The teeming ranks of the unemployed in Spain diminished slightly in the third quarter coinciding with the emergence of the economy from one of its longest recessions in decades. But most of the jobs created were of a temporary nature, related to increased demand in the tourism sector during the high season. The poor quality of the jobs created was evidenced by the fact that the number of people on indefinite contracts fell by 146,300, while the number of people hired on a temporary basis rose by 169,500. In addition, employment only grew in the services sector and declined in the rest of the economy. For full story see: El País in English

Tendering for management of the Canal de la Fontana early in the New Year

Oct 27th
The Ministry of Infrastructure is drawing up the complex documentation for the tendering of a 30 year management contract of the Canal de la Fontana and its berths. It is expected that the tendering process will take place in the first quarter of 2014. The project foresees some 385 berths, a minimum investment of €4.2 million, and an annual tax of €65,000 payable to the Valencia Government. One main concern is the future status of the slipway at the end of the canal. This is currently used without charge by many boat owners who keep their boats at home. The only other slipway in Xàbia is in the Port - and this is closed to the public. Though there is a base for a crane there, the crane has not yet been installed. From El concurso....

More temporary employment opportunities with Xàbia Town Hall

Oct 27th
Over the summer, 15 temporary employees enjoyed three month contracts with Xàbia Toen Hall, receiving salaries ranging from 1156 and 1224 Euros per month. They were involved with forest fire and flood prevention and forestry activities. Their contracts are now over, but from November another 15 people will take up similar contracts. The program is aimed at people who are in particularly difficult economic situations: lack of employment benefits and social assistance, family circumstances etc. From Las Provincias: El Plan...

Yet another proposal for the Montañar…

Oct 27th
Another proposal put forward to the Town Planning Committee (Consell d'Urbanisme) about parking on Montañar 1, is the banning of all parking on the sea-side of the road between the Port and the Parador. Instead the bike lane would be transferred to the sea-side along with a pedestrian way (5m wide) - while cars would be parked on the landward side, either parallel to the pavement, or in chevrons, through in the latter case the road would have to be made one way. From XAD: El Consell...

Briefing for Expats about the Padrón and EU elections

Oct 20th
There will be a talk in English on Thursday October 24th at 6.00pm in Xàbia's Casa de Cultura about the importance of being on the Padrón and voting in the EU parliamentary elections in 2014. This will address legal and administrative issues affecting the lives of expats resident in Spain and is given through the Alicante regional authorities. The talk will last about one hour and there's no need to book a place. (from Press Release)

Spanish government sued over Solar Energy reform

Oct 20th
Spanish conglomerate Abengoa has decided to take legal action against the Spanish government for the reduction in the premium rates paid for thermosolar energy in its reform of the domestic electricity sector. The Seville-based company has decided to take its complaint not only to the Spanish courts but also abroad, given that some of its thermosolar plants are owned by a company called CSP Equity Investment, which is registered in Luxembourg. As a result it is seeking international arbitrage of its dispute with the conservative Popular Party Government…. company sources indicated (compensation) would be around 60 million euros for each year in which the dispute is not resolved. Abengoa's solar energy division accounts for about a quarter of total group revenues. The concessions it has with the government are for 40 years. For full story see: El Pais in English...

Underwater survey of Xàbia's sewage works outfall

Oct 20th
Following environmental activists' report in the regional newspaper, Levante, that there had been a break in the outfall pipe from Xàbia's Sewerage works, the Town Hall has commissioned an independent underwater survey of the outfall. The outfall pipe takes waste water far offshore and to considerable depth so that its organic load does not create a health or environmental hazard. Amjasa, which performs quarterly sea water analyses says there is no evidence for contamination. Sea water quality tests made by the University of Alicante (checking for possible effects of the desalination plant's brine) and the Ministry of Agriculture (bathing quality) have also shown no evidence of pollution. However, the opposition party Compromis has tabled a question in the regional parliament asking for an explanation of: "the causes and consequences of the breakage of the sewage outfall of Javea which is pouring sewage very close to the Arenal beach, with direct affects on the seagrass meadows and the marine reserve of Cap de Sant Antoni." From XAD: Xàbia inspecc..

Gulleys cleaned and widened for flood prevention

Oct 20th
Xàbia Town Hall has cleaned, widened and shaped a number of key gulleys such as the Barranco de Lluca (the most risky.. after the Rio Gorgos), the Barranco de Castellans (which was almost lost among houses and damaged during floods in 1999), Puxol, and Cuesta de San Antonio. From XAD: Medioambiente,,,,,

Flu jabs for residents without SIP cards

Oct 20th
The regional Health Department has announced that this year it will vaccinate everyone in the high risk groups against flu, for free, whether or not the person has a SIP card. Risk groups are: Those over 60, pregnant women, emergency medical personnel and people with chronic illness (such as diabetes). From XAD: Sanidad...

The Immigration Debate in Europe

Oct 18th
The (immigration) debate that has been reopened by the deaths off the coast of Lampedusa has been around for decades. The issue is a complex one: armed conflict, inequality and international solidarity are questions that can only be answered in the long term. In the short term, there is a need to end the loss of life and to create a model that allows for the ordered movement of people, as well as both implementing policies that help the countries of origin to provide better opportunities for their populations, and a means for Europe to access the labor it so badly needs. For full story see: El Pais in English

Amjasa moves to manage waste water

Oct 18th
For many years, a long term objective of Xàbia has been the development of an integrated water management and recycling system, in order to make best use of water resources and support irrigated agriculture. Amjasa already manages the drinking water supply and desalination plant and is now applying to manage waste water from the sewerage works, which is under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture, fish and food. The treated outfall from the sewerage works currently flows out to sea, but could be recycled to boost local agriculture with much of the irrigation infrastructure already in place in the Pla area. From Las Provincias: Xàbia pide...

Xàbia's upmarket villas

Oct 18th
An article in Diarioinformación describes how the seriously rich are building houses in Xàbia. People are purchasing 2-4 adjacent plots in prime positions with stunning sea views and building luxury villas priced at over a million Euros. The profile of the buyers has changed and these days Russians have entered the top of the market. Examples given are a 850m2 villa in Cuesta de San Antonio sold for a cool €4.2 million, and a 1000m villa on a 5,000 m plot with three swimming pools in Capsades proced at €5.5 million.

An October Indian Summer

Oct 18th
MeteoXàbia's (http://www.meteoxabia.com/) records show summer temperatures in Xàbia during October: Old Town: 32.2C, Port, 31.2C From XAD: La temperaturas....

Xàbia's 6th Intercultural Participation conference in Jávea Park

Oct 16th
The 'Cruz Roja de Xàbia' and the Department of Social Services have revealed the details of the 6th annual Intercultural Participation Conference to be held on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th October, an initiative to promote the integration of cultures and a mutual understanding. The conference will be held in the Social Centre (Civic Punt) in Jávea Park. For more see: Javeamigos.

Spain looks looks towards "Habitat Banking"

Oct 16th
Can you put a price tag on a beech grove? What about a prairie of Posidonia oceanica seagrass? How much money is a bee's pollination work worth? The Spanish government wants to encourage something called habitat banking, or biodiversity banking. It is a controversial concept because it allows developers to offset the environmental impact of their road, building or factory by purchasing an environmental recovery project elsewhere. Similar projects have been underway in the United States since the 1980s. For full story see: El País in English

ESADE: Entrepreneurs are Key to Spain's Future

Oct 10th
With unemployment at more than 26 percent, Spain needs to do something to pull its economy out of its five-year slump. ESADE, the Spanish business school, has some ideas. For one, Spain needs more entrepreneurs, but that’s not going to happen without creating an environment that supports entrepreneurship, says Eugenia Bieto, director general of ESADE. “A society needs entrepreneurs capable of innovating and creating wealth,” she said at a gathering of political, academic, and business leaders in Catalonia on Oct. 1, “but to achieve this, we need to create an ecosystem that favors their emergence and development.” Bieto proposed that business schools take responsibility for educating people on how to start businesses, teaching students as early as elementary school about entrepreneurship, linking entrepreneurs to existing companies that might buy their startups, and creating a “startup visa” that would allow foreigners to create and maintain businesses in Spain. For full story see: Business week

Adult literacy and numeracy 'among the worst in OECD': Most cannot understand an electricity bill, say researchers

Oct 9th
Spain has one of the worst adult numeracy and literacy levels in the developed world, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The average adult's reading ability means they are unable to understand their electricity bills and cannot make head or tail of classic texts such as Don Quijote. Overall, the country has basic academic levels of 21 and 19 per cent lower than the average for the OECD in reading comprehension and 23 and 22 per cent lower in maths. For full story see: ThinkSpain

Spain's low productivity problem

Oct 9th
The question of productivity has never been seriously addressed in Spain - not when the economy was miraculously booming and not even now when the country is facing record levels of unemployment, a lack of public funds, and financial markets still prone to hitting the panic button. The need to improve productivity is constantly mentioned in speeches and articles, and efforts are made to analyze it, but this key element of competitiveness is among Europe's worst, and Spain's businesses have little idea, other than reducing wages yet further, on how to improve it…..Spain's low productivity is in large part explained by the dominant role of construction and services in the Spanish economy. But it's not the only factor,….: "Spain has low productivity and has underinvested in R+D, which holds back competitiveness. For full story see: El País in English - "Unproductive Spain"

Port library and Social Centre finally opens

Oct 9th
The new library and social centre, next to the health centre in the Port was finally inaugurated on Monday. The works on this project began in March 2011, and were to have been completed by October 2011 by the construction company ECISA for a fixed contract fee under the regional government's "Plan Confianza". The estimated cost at tender had been €1,147,000 (??? €1,032,982 according to press release in August 2010) and ECISA had come in at €831,000. (In July 2011 the company put in a claim for unforeseen price increases on materials see: July 2011 News Headlines ). The Town has occupied the building but not yet officially taken it over since if it does, it loses the right to claim the €200,000 cost difference which it needs to improve the building. The Town Hall has already had to spend €8000 to connect the building to the sewerage and drainage networks - an aspect which was not covered by the project. From Diarioinformación

Unemployment up again as the summer season ends

Oct 9th
In September, unemployment in the Marina Alta region rose by 884, reflecting the dependence of the region on the tourist sector. 95% of the newly unemployed came form this sector and 60% of these were women. The figure for Jávea was 167 newly unemployed. From Diarioinformación...

Promoting the Muscat grape as a regional product

Oct 9th
A recent conference in Benitatxell showcased the sustainable economic potential of locally grown Muscat grapes. Firstly there has been the initiative of growing the grapes organically, and making quality wines from their juice. (Biomoscatell project), also using the grape and its raisins as ingredients both in local cuisine and innovatively in sauces and chutneys. From XAD: La Comarca...

"Supercell" Thunderstorm brings hail damage to Jávea Golf, Benitatxell, and Moraira/Teulada


Oct 6th
An article in Las Provincias earlier in the week noted that Oct 4th - St Francis day, often denoted a change in the weather. Parts of Jávea got it in spades. Earlier on Friday, local meteorologist, Toni Bolufer (MeteoXàbia) remarked that a storm was building up in the interior ..and could be heading our way. By 7.00pm a short, violent deluge of large (golfball +) hailstones hammered some of Xàbia's southerly urbanisations near the golf course. The hail also affected Benitatxell and Teulada / Moraira. There were tales of dented cars, smashed windscreens, broken tiles and gutters. This kind of large hail is apparently more common inland, not on the coast. But this is the second such storm in recent months, one hitting areas near Orba with large hail in May and leaving Xàbia's Arenal beach white as snow. See: May story Ed's report.

Town hall cuts fire breaks at Tossal Gros

Oct 4th
Xàbia's department of the environment has started to a 50m wide cut fire break in the Tossal Gros area in an attempt to hinder forest fires and protect the houses of Tesoro Park and la Mandarina from fires in the dense forest behind. This comes in the wake of fires starting in the Tarraula area over the past few years. From XAD: Xàbia habilita....

Plan for the worst case flooding scenario

Oct 6th
At a conference in Calpe, Prof Jorge Olcina of Alicante University recommended that the worst case scenario should be the benchmark in planning for flood defences in the Marina Alta area. Xàbia has the Spanish record for the most rain in 24 hours at 871mm in 1957. He noted that 200 mm in one and a half hours could cause a disaster, and that this area is prone to torrential downpours. Urban development had blocked off the natural river mouths in Calpe and Xàbia, and that of the Girona river. From Levante Un experto pide....
For more about Jávea's flood risk see: Jávea's Inescapable Floods

Barriers to demolishing illegal buildings in Spain

Oct 6th
Five years after Spain's construction bubble spectacularly burst, the Environment Ministry says that it is facing "serious problems" when it comes to demolishing thousands of buildings throughout the country that contravene planning laws, but that were given the green light by local councils often in cahoots with property developers….owners of condemned properties are using delaying tactics to put off the arrival of the wrecking ball for as long as possible… When it comes to stopping a demolition order from going ahead, the courts have discovered that people will go to just about any lengths. In the four years that on average it takes to carry out a demolition order, officials say that they have come upon a wide range of ruses, from the case of an illegally constructed property on agricultural land that the owner said was the offices of his bee-keeping business, to more complex scams such as faking photographs to make it look as though a building had been knocked down. Greenpeace says there are at least 50,000 houses along the coast in Valencia that are lacking the necessary permits or that contravene zoning laws. For full story see: El País in English - "Up against a Brick wall"

The clash of Spain’s culture and business

Oct 5th
Newcomers to Spain are often confronted by the leisurely way of Spanish life, and if expatriate weblogs were any indicator, Spain’s business culture would be characterised by siestas and slowness. Yet this Spanish stereotype belies a hard-working culture long established in Spain’s major cities and large companies. But as the transition is not yet consistent across the country, smaller companies still struggle to operate in a country where culture clashes with modernised work schedules….The continued practice of closing for summer holidays stands against Spain’s economic contraction of 1.6 per cent in the second quarter, and one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe at 26.6 per cent….“A lot of companies aren’t closing any more during August because they’re scared they won’t be around in September. But in the near future it will change more because the world is changing and it’s just not effective to be closed for even two weeks,” For full story see: El Pais in English Trans Iberian Blog

Tapas weekend in the Port

Oct 5th
The second edition of the popular "La Mar de Tapas" event returns to the port area of Jávea for the holiday weekend, promoting tasty local cuisine as well as music and entertainment. The 'Business Association of Xàbia Port' has been making the preparations for the event over the weekend of 11th, 12th and 13th October. For full story see: Javeamigos

Amjasa signs R&D agreement with Polytechnic University of Valencia

Oct 3rd
Xàbia's municipal water company has entered into a Research and development agreement with the Polytechnic University of Valencia. UPV will carry out a nine month study and audit of the water distribution system and energy usage and develop a mathematical model of the supply network. This will enable the relocation of pressure reducing valves which minimise leakage, and enable a reduction in the energy needed to distribute water throughout the town's hilly municipality. It is hoped they will be able to halve the current energy use. The work covered by this agreement will be carried out by the Engineering and Water Technology group (ITA) of UPV which has extensive experience in the field and will be directed by Enrique Cabrera, Professor of Fluid Mechanics. ITA researchers will work with AMJASA technicians so that they can apply these skills and strategies to other parts of the network. This agreement will also help meet a strategic objective of the University: i.e. to transmit knowledge for applied use in the field. From XAD: Amjasa se alia...

Let the English lessons begin !

Oct 2nd
Monday 30th September saw the start of the new teaching year (the 4th) by the volunteer teaching group which is teaching English to the unemployed in Javea, with the support of the CREAMA employment agency in the town. There are now 31 teachers involved, the initiative having begun with six. This year, 99 prospective students took the placement test and were placed in Basic (28), Pre Intermediate (29), Intermediate (21) and Advanced (21). The new level of pre intermediate was introduced as there are now sufficient teachers and classrooms available. There are now two teachers for each level, teaching one morning a week each, with 6 assistant teachers, 9 teachers covering conversation classes and 8 back up teachers. Lessons are taught Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with conversations groups on a Wednesday; all at the Adult College in the old town. An exciting new initiative from the teaching group, helped by the Town Hall and the chief of the local police, is to start teaching English classes in the evenings to the local police force. So far 35, about half the force, have registered to take the placement exam. This will be a big step forward for integration within our community. From Press Release

Underwater earthquakes in Gulf of Valencia associated with gas rig

Oct 2nd
Over 20 earthquakes were felt in the Gulf of Valencia yesterday (Tuesday), making a total of 141 in the last week and a half – the most severe of which measured 4.2 on the Richter scale. Each of them has had its epicentre near the Castor drilling platform off the coast of Vinaròs (Castellón province), says the National Geographical Institute. Some 1.2 billion euros have been invested in the Castor project, which is attempting to exploit an old oil pocket around 1.75 kilometres below the sea-bed as an off-shore gas store, which will provide a third of the Valencia region's gas supply needs for 50 days. Spain's ministry for industry ordered the plant to down tools temporarily on Thursday last week to enable experts to investigate the cause of the quakes. From Think Spain and: Levante - La inyección...

Hospital dispensary drugs law now in force

Oct 2nd
A controversial new law forcing chronically-ill patients to pay for medication dispensed in hospital came into force on Tuesday, October 1 – some of Spain's regional governments have refused to comply, though Valencia is not among them. People with serious illnesses such as cancer, hepatitis, HIV or ongoing but non-life threatening conditions like psoriasis or infertility, some of whose medication is provided by in-house dispensaries instead of high-street pharmacies, will be expected to pay 10 per cent of the cost with a limit of 4.20 euros per individual prescription box or packet. for full story see: ThinkSpain

Spain thinking of changing time zones


Oct 2nd
Marathon working days; low productivity; late lunches and dinners compared to the rest of Europe; less time for personal life, rest and recreation; family-work imbalances… these longstanding aspects of Spanish life are all largely the result of Spain being in the wrong time zone, which should be Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the same as Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ireland, but which is in fact an hour later, thanks to dictator General Francisco Franco's decision in 1942 to align the country's clocks with those of Nazi Germany. The solution, agreed a parliamentary commission on Thursday, is for Spain to turn its clocks back 60 minutes and introduce more regular working hours, starting at 9am and ending at 5pm, as in the rest of Europe. For full story see: El País in English and BBC News

New Xàbia Port library to be opened as part of October 9th celebrations

Oct 2nd
Councillor Empar Bolufer (Culture) has revealed the schedule of events through which Jávea will celebrate October 9th - el Día de la Comunidad Valenciana - and they include the long-awaited official opening of the new library and community centre in the port area of town. For full story see: Javeamigos

Consumers opt for bulk energy buys

Oct 2nd
Spain's electricity is the third-most-expensive in Europe. Last week, the OCU (Spanish Consumers and User's Association) launched an initiative that will allow customers to pool their resources to buy electricity, bringing down the cost of their bill in the process. The idea, which has a number of precedents in Europe, is to form a large consumer group to buy energy at bulk prices, negotiating the price directly with producers and distributors. The theory is that the more energy is bought, the cheaper it is. Until October 14, anybody, whether or not they are a member of the OCU, can join the group via www.quieropagarmenosluz.org. For full story see: El Pais in English

Granadella fire leads to evacuations

Oct 2nd
A forest fire which broke out in Granadella near the Montes de Jávea urbanisation on Tuesday led to the evacuation of about 300 people. Flames were reported at 1.45pm and soon firefighters from the Balcon al Mar volunteers and Protección Civil , as well as regional brigades were in action with the help of a plane and three helicopters. The fire was under control by 6.30pm. The origin is unknown though it started near a medium tension electricity pylon. West winds and high temperatures helped to promote the blaze. More than two hectares are reported to have been burnt and a large number of homes suffered a power outage. From Press Release and Las Provincias . For more details and photos see: Javeamigos

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