Local Daily News 11th September

The hangover from Elche Festivities: 150,000 euros more in Police hours and a Department with 0 euros

The first government meeting after the summer tour has given a first economic and management balance on the August Festivities in Elche, which the mayor, Carlos González, announced would be “the best in the history of Elche”. And it has been known with figures because the government team has had to resort to two budget modifications worth 2.5 million euros, which will come mostly from the treasury remnants (the money not spent from the previous year). In one of them, the most important, of 2.3 million, there are two chapters that directly refer to the economic management of the mayor Mariola Galiana and the festivities.

On the one hand, only in extra hours of the police for unforeseen security, the parties have cost 150,000 euros more than in previous years, in which 300,000 euros were allocated to pay for this concept exclusively. This increase in agents had to be implemented at the very last minute because the bidding contract for private security had been declared void and the government team was not willing to reduce security, much less after two years without parties. Mariola Galiana received harsh criticism from the opposition because most of the contracts were tendered only fifteen days before the start of the acts, which forced several municipal areas to speed up the management of the specifications and their resolution as much as possible. This took heat away from this issue, answering the criticism, assuring that other years the dates had been similar, while colleagues from the government team were privately very upset with this unexpected delay that they practically met with the parties around the corner. Some of the contracts, such as the one mentioned for surveillance, were declared void because the companies that could be materially interested did not have time to present their offers or did not have the personnel or material that was going to be required at that time. In others, as was the case of the assembly of the barracks, it was awarded to a company that was not registered in the public registry of bidders, as published by the newspaper. From the government team they have justified this administrative irregularity (which forced a subsequent correction) by the fact that the damage that would have been caused -the barrack could not have been assembled on time- would have been greater. The company has collected 71,000 euros. Some contracts were also approved for parties by “the hair” because only one company was interested and, obviously, it was awarded.

Councillor Héctor Díez, as municipal spokesman, explained that these 150,000 euros that the police officers who reinforced services will distribute will come from one of the two modifications of the 2022 budget (numbers 18 and 19) that the government team will carry out. In total, these 150,000 euros are included in an overtime package of 790,000 euros that will be allocated to the entire municipal workforce, an item that the Councillor for Human Resources, Ramón Abad, has requested for this purpose. In addition to the Local Police (which in total will take 450,000 euros from it, which is the sum of the 300,000 euros that agents usually charged for security tasks during the holidays, plus the 150,000 euros per hour that they have had to do extraordinarily to make up for the fact that there was no private security), there are other work excesses that officials or members of the municipal brigades have carried out, also in tasks for parties or due to setbacks or activities that have nothing to do with it. Díez, who did not want to dwell much on this issue, highlighted the police effort in security and specified that the agents have also had to work overtime due to the start of the Vuelta a España stage. The truth and truth is that the festivities have passed with great normality and without serious incidents to highlight.

But in addition, in the governing board it was approved that the Department of Festivities needs 475,000 euros more of budget to finish the year because, it is understood, after the August Festivities its balance has been zero euros. In other words, the 1.5 million euros with which the year began has been “eaten up” in eight months and in the last quarter, where there are still many events pending, which will conclude with Christmas -some sources assure that there is not even for the lights – they had nothing to carry them out with.

Flowers and flags to remember Queen Elisabeth II in Benidorm

“We are very sorry. We believed that she would never die, that we would have her forever.” The phrase, pronounced this Friday by Karen Maling Cowles, Benidorm’s British Businesses Association president, conveys in a very concise way the feeling with which thousands of Britons lived Friday in the tourist city on the first day of their lives post-Elisabeth II.

After 70 years on the throne, the vast majority of the more than 3,000 residents with a United Kingdom passport registered in the town and of the nearly 25,000 tourists who spend these days here on vacation or have not lived under the mandate of another king or they were so young when she acceded to the throne that they do not remember it. That is why, in addition to the loss of their head of state, the feeling they give off of her when they are asked about her is also similar to that of having lost a mother, an aunt, a grandmother.

The weight of the British colony in Benidorm and the general commotion due to the disappearance of a historical figure have led the City Council this Friday to set up a tribute space so that the now subjects of Charles III can come to remember to the deceased and that it will be open to the signs of respect and condolences from the British or from any citizen while the official mourning decreed in the UK lasts.

This place to pay homage to Her Majesty is located in the square on Avenida del Derramador, in one of the centres of what is known as the “guiri zone”, where numerous hotels, pubs and even a tourist office and another police office come together, open expressly to serve the foreign population, the vast majority, English public.

Operators of the municipal Technical Services installed a mast in this place, where after one in the afternoon a British flag was raised at half-staff and a wreath and white flowers were placed with a single word: Benidorm, engraved in colored letters black. Likewise, in the surrounding billboards, the Consistory has installed posters commemorating this day, black in colour and with the coat of arms and the name of the Queen together with the years of her birth and her death.

The mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez, has supervised at all times, although from the background, all the assembly work of this space, which immediately began to attract tourists from all over Great Britain. On the one hand, to honour her monarch; and, furthermore, to take photographs to send to family and friends who are in her country and share with them this moment that will remain engraved forever in her memory.

“From Benidorm we recognize the dedication, delivery and services of Her Majesty to the British Crown and to her people”, the Benidorm councillor has indicated. As he did on Thursday afternoon, as soon as the worst news from the castle of Balmoral, the first mayor has reiterated that Benidorm “joins in this way the sorrow of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and countries of the commonwealth of nations, for the death of Queen Elizabeth II”, a message that the City Council has also made reach the British ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliot, as well as the Consulate in Alicante.

Other councils of the region and the province also expressed their sorrow for this loss and their support for the British community that resides in our territory, which amounts to 100,000 people in the Community as a whole, of which some 70,000 have their residence in the province of Alicante.

Cala Piteras in Torrevieja closed due to discharges of sewage without the City Council making it public

The beach of Cala Piteras, the southernmost in the municipality of Torrevieja, has been closed to bathing -without being made public- during Tuesday and Wednesday due to a discharge of sewage, the second in the last two weeks. The Ministry sent a letter to the City Council on the 6th in which it communicated that “high levels have been identified in the microbiological control parameters in the samples taken”, exceeding “double the maximum admissible values ​​of the faecal contamination indicators”. Specifically, Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci.

Based on this sampling, within the scope of the actions carried out in the Bathing Water Quality Control Program, the letter urged the local administration to close to bathing, “given that the values ​​obtained in these samplings indicate a high level of pollution of residual origin”, in addition to “providing information to the population on this situation in the main accesses to the beaches and health posts, as well as any other digital data communication system that the City Council has, until the analytical results of the sampling show values ​​consistent with a quality of water suitable for bathing”.

Likewise, it requested the sending of a report on the possible causes of this residual contamination, as well as the actions that the City Council is going to carry out to eliminate it. At the same time, it recalled that on August 23rd contamination was also detected on this beach, attaching two photos of the area warning that a spill had been detected, which in turn was collected in an expired file due to dismissal by the Consistory, for what “if it is the same, it must initiate the procedures for its regularisation”.

Thus, the Hydraulic Resources and Water Quality Planning Service sent another letter on Thursday in which it reported that according to the sampling carried out on the 7th, to monitor the episode, “conforming results have been obtained to declare the water suitable for bathing”, authorising the opening of the beach. Likewise, it insisted again on the report on the causes of residual contamination and the actions that will be carried out to eliminate it.

Councilman Rodolfo Carmona has demanded that the government team comply with its “obligations in terms of sanitation to quickly and effectively prevent the recurrence of episodes of water contamination such as those recorded on August 23rd and September 6th in Cala Piteras”.

The mayor has also stated that the Ministry’s request to provide information to the population “has been conspicuous by its absence on the City Council’s social networks.” In this sense, he lamented “the informative drunkenness of the government team at parties, soirees and concerts”, instead of “taking care of the beaches as they deserve, investigating the origin of these episodes and acting so that they do not happen again”.

It must be remembered that the real estate park in this environment has become in recent years one of the most expensive on the Torrevieja coast, as it is also one of the most demanded areas on the beachfront, in a municipality with a saturated coastal strip. . On the promenade of Rocío del Mar, nine buildings of about nine floors stand out – plus another five that are being built – for a public with medium and high purchasing power.

Carmona stressed that one of the main problems affecting the quality of the waters in Torrevieja is the result of “certain structural imbalances and the occasional overexploitation of resources due to overcrowding during vacation periods.” In short, “a problem that the popular government has not been able to solve and that translates into specific episodes like this”, for which it has requested that “an action protocol be implemented so that these situations do not occur in the future”, the councilor concluded.

The Segura Hydrographic Confederation projects two macro reservoirs that threaten Sierra Escalona

The Friends of Sierra Escalona (ASE) association is going to present allegations to the preliminary project for the interconnection works of the seawater desalination plants in the Segura basin, which is on public display. The Segura Hydrographic Confederation (CHS) intends with this action that the Torrevieja desalination plant yield more and increase its effectiveness by redistributing resources to the basin’s reservoirs. However, ASE considers that “it is outrageous”, in the words of its president, Miguel Ángel Pavón. Not in vain, “it affects the environment of Sierra Escalona”, he explains.

Specifically, the aim is to build two macro-water reservoirs within the protected landscape of Sierra Escalona and its surroundings, one at the highest point of the Sierra del Cristo, on some 3.5 hectares of El Serretón (272 metres high), and the other over approximately 1.5 hectares of the northern part of the peak area of ​​the Sierra de Pujálvarez, at a distance of about 300 metres. Each of the ponds also has a new access road, with its embankments and clearings in the shady areas of the mountains. “Both the macro-ponds and their roads would have a very negative impact on biodiversity and the landscape,” says Pavón, who insists that it is “complete nonsense.”

In addition, a 4-kilometre overhead power line is planned in the priority birdlife protection area, opposite an area linked to the Sierra Escalona Special Protection Area for Birds, to power the new pumping station, which would be located under the La Pedrera dam, and drive the water from La Pedrera to the new macro-ponds of the Cristo and Pujálvarez mountains. In addition to all this, the layout of the pipes to connect La Pedrera with the macro-ponds and these with the Ojós and Rambla de Algeciras reservoirs, in Murcia, also invades the protected landscape.

The preliminary draft itself warns of the effect on the protected landscape of Sierra de Escalona and its surroundings, which “will see its current morphology affected.” Specifically, continues the document that is on public display, it concerns 12.76 hectares, which represents 0.12% of the total, of which 10.28 hectares correspond to permanent occupations by the drive regulation ponds de Ojós and Algeciras, as well as their access roads. And he even adds that “the impact on the affected area of ​​the space will be permanent, changing its topography and appearance, which is currently eminently natural.”

The route runs entirely through the municipality of Orihuela and a part of the power line through Jacarilla. Studies also reflect their affection in the ethnographic heritage. Specifically, the traditional hydraulic irrigation system of the Orihuela orchard, affecting specific areas of its ditches: Hurchillo or Reguerón azarbe mayor, acequia de los Giles, acequia Puertas de Murcia and acequia Merancho.

The works will make it possible to supply water from the Torrevieja desalination plant to the La Pedrera reservoir (220 useful cubic hectometres), and from there to the Ojós weir and the Rambla de Algeciras reservoir (50 cubic hectometres), and gradually complete the pipeline from the Cerro Colorado reservoir, an action associated with the Águilas desalination plant. After the preliminary project, the next step will be the drafting and adjudication of the project, which has a base budget of 258 million euros, which with the expropriations would reach 263.

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