Local Daily News 12th September
The Orihuela Costa Independence Party registers with the Ministry of the Interior
The Orihuela Costa Independence Party (Pioc) is already an administrative and legal reality beyond its presence on social networks in recent months. It has been registered in the registry of political formations of the Ministry of the Interior since last Thursday.
The main ideology of the formation, chaired by Román Jiménez Gil, is in its name. The segregation of Orihuela Costa from the rest of Orihuela. A difficult process, which requires majorities, a very complex administrative process, which depends on a central government that has hardly authorised the constitution of new town councils in recent years, and a very significant mobilisation of the population, which at this time is not given in Orihuela Costa, despite the growing discomfort, and even indignation, of many of its neighbours due to the lack of attention of the Orihuela administration with one of its main territories.
Orihuela Ciudad is 34 kilometres away and it is a distance that is noticeable in the daily lives of residents on the coast in all public services. However, the immediate objective of the Pioc, also complicated, is to obtain representation for the Orihuela City Council in the municipal elections of May 2023.
If the Pioc presents itself to the municipal elections, it could subtract votes from the Orihuela Coast Party (Claro), the formation created in 2006 and which monopolises the discontent vote of the residents living on the coast and which claims the decentralisation of the Orihuela administration -although it rules out the minor local entity and a process of segregation-; and that since 2007 has won at the electoral tables of the Orihuela coast, election after election against the PP, PSOE and Cs -although not always obtaining a representative in the Corporation and concurring on two occasions in coalition with other parties-.
In Orihuela Costa, not only has Claro travelled in recent years, but also the start-up of a unique associative fabric -which does not exist in other areas of the Vega Baja- and was born with the push of a forceful demand for the improvement of basic public services derived from a great urban growth without prior planning: deficiencies in public roads and lack of accessibility of sidewalks and roads and communication between urbanizations, total abandonment of green areas -or directly their lack of execution-; very important problems in waste collection; almost total absence of public facilities such as a library, sports facilities or social centres; environmental problems such as the lack of capacity for sewage treatment, or health care -only one health centre-, among others. They are common claims of Claro, Pioc and more than a dozen associations -with more or less forcefulness and nuances- for many years. The Pioc is made up of some of the members dissatisfied with Claro. Its president, Román Jiménez, led a platform for years that denounced the deficiencies in health care in the area. A good part of the party’s members are British -a community with 10,000 residents registered in Orihuela-. Most of his messages – and the entire web – are now in English. In its logo it uses the motto “together we are strong” in Spanish and English and as “Orihuela Costa Independence Party” -without the “for the” that it has registered in the Ministry of the Interior.
The registration of the Pioc as a political party, without its integration into Claro, can disintegrate that vote of discontent -more than 1,700 are necessary to achieve the first councillor, with the usual percentages of participation in Orihuela- and the Coast. The population entitled to vote on a multinational total is important, including all EU and British residents, but you must register to exercise it. Negotiations for Claro and the Pioc to attend the municipal elections together broke down months ago, above all because Claro considers the Pioc’s message “radical” and unrealistic.
The closure of the main access from the north to Benidorm is delayed until Thursday
We will have to wait another 96 hours. FGV has informed the Benidorm City Council that it is postponing until Thursday at 0.00 hours the closure of access to the city through Beniardá avenue to guarantee road and pedestrian safety conditions, as reported by the Consistory.
The Councillor for Works and Mobility, José Ramón González de Zárate, together with the project management of the company that will carry out the work and municipal technicians, have carried out an ocular inspection on Saturday afternoon in the surroundings of Beniardá Avenue.
The conclusion was clear: it is not possible to guarantee the timely completion of the road and pedestrian safety conditions for 12:00 am on Monday, September 12th. In this way, “it has been decided to postpone the application of the alternative traffic distribution operation due to the works on Beniardá avenue because that access to Benidorm will not be closed,” the same sources explain.
From Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat this proposal has been communicated minutes before 8:00 p.m. to the Benidorm City Council.
Mayor Toni Pérez was informed and in view of the reports, the Benidorm City Council has decided not to cut off this important route into and out of the city “as long as the optimal conditions are not met in the road safety measures designed and evaluated for the important traffic operation involved”.
The new date for the traffic closure of Beniardá avenue proposed by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat is for Thursday, September 15, at midnight, which “will be verified by municipal technicians before proceeding with it.”
The City Council of Benidorm faces these days the great challenge of implementing changes of direction, detours and new routes to minimise the impact that the closure of this avenue will have on road traffic, a closure that will cover the section that goes from the roundabout located in front of the water treatment plant up to Capitan Cortés street, just past the TRAM tracks.
Although an execution period of 16 months had initially been projected, municipal pressure has managed to get the Generalitat and the construction company to reduce the duration of the works to a record timetable: 10 months, if there are no delays, although later they are expected to continue some redevelopment works that do not affect the passage of vehicles.
During this time, there will be significant changes in traffic. For example, in the Camí del Llanero, a narrow path also crossed by the TRAM tracks and which leads to the neighbourhood of Els Tolls, which will no longer be a two-way road to have only one entry lane towards Benidorm, reserved exclusively for residents and emergency vehicles.
To minimise circulatory problems that may occur on this road from Monday, the mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez, has insisted this Wednesday on demanding the Consell and Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV) that the TRAM stop operating between the stations of Benidorm and the intermodal of the city during the time that the works last.
Pérez explained that the municipal proposal requires that “shuttle buses be established between the two stations so that the Camí del Llanero is not affected by the level crossing and thus favour fluid mobility at this point”. If the proposal is accepted, the level crossing of this road would be inoperative and would not have to work every half hour to make way for the TRAM, which is what will happen if the service is maintained.
The mayor also recalled that during the electrification works on TRAM line 9 between Dénia and Benidorm “FGV has enabled buses to cover much more distant routes than the one we propose, running this shuttle service for months”. In line with the experience in other parts of the province, the mayor has remarked that “we do not ask for a favourable treatment towards Benidorm, but an honest and coherent treatment”. Hence, the City Council insists on demanding the suspension of the TRAM between the Benidorm stations while the burial works are underway.
Alicante was the second most visited province by Spanish tourists in July
The province of Alicante was the second most visited destination by national tourism last July. This is indicated by the data from the study that the National Institute of Statistics (INE) carries out through the positioning of mobile phones, and which allows, among other aspects, to have a fairly precise approximation of tourist flows in Spain. According to this report, whose data for July has been known a few days ago – those for August will be published, predictably, in a few weeks -, that month 1,158,426 people came to the province from the rest of Spain, a figure only surpassed by Madrid, which received 1,429,467 tourists.
In addition to Madrid and Alicante, Cádiz was the only province with more than a million national visitors last July; specifically, 1,034,520. However, there were also more than 800,000 tourists in Tarragona, Girona, Malaga and Barcelona, data that clearly reflects the pull of coastal areas when travelling, with Madrid as an exception due to its status as a large city and the particular characteristics of its offer that this entails, something that could also be applied, although to a much lesser degree, to Barcelona. The lower figures also speak of a much lower interest in inland areas: the province with the fewest tourists was Palencia, with 108,680, and neither did they reach 150,000 in Soria, Ourense, Zamora and Álava.
The study on mobility through the positioning of telephones also shows an unequivocal recovery of national tourism after the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, especially in 2020. The number of visitors in July grew by 5% compared to the same month of 2019, with which, a priori, the pothole caused by the health crisis seems to have been overcome, even though in July 2021 there were 15,768 more tourists than this year. This circumstance may well have been due to the fact that last year’s figures were somewhat exceptionally high, as there were still restrictions on travelling abroad and people who would otherwise have gone abroad chose to travel through Spain.
The national tourism received by the province is usually associated with Madrid, but the data corroborate that it is a reality and not a mere sensation. One in three visitors received by the Alicante demarcation in July came from the territory where the State capital is located: 377,364, well above the residents in the neighbouring provinces of Valencia (219,200), Murcia (192,680) and Albacete (56,677). Toledo, Barcelona, Ciudad Real, Bizkaia, Valladolid and Zaragoza continue on the list, although with not so high data. And by municipalities, Villa y Corte itself was the main issuer of tourists to the province: 191,700, also a long way from the capital of Murcia (96,212) and the city of Valencia (84,383).
As for the data at the local level, they do nothing but confirm, once again, what is already known: the preference for the beach and for consolidated destinations. Although, by that same rule of three, the good positioning of these municipalities in this sense can be corroborated. Benidorm was once again the most visited town in the province in July, with 170,674 tourists, 8.45% more than in July 2019. The population of the Marina Baixa stands out compared to the city of Alicante (117,467), Dénia (115,056 ) and Torrevieja (101,440), with increases in relation to 2019 of more than 7% in the case of the provincial capital and the Marina Alta, and a much smaller increase in the salt city.
The preference for the coast in the province is very clear, without a shadow of a doubt, as is the case in Spain as a whole. In addition to those mentioned, four other municipalities exceeded 50,000 visitors in July: Pilar de la Horadada, Orihuela, Calp and Xàbia, all of them beach destinations. And there were also more than 20,000 in Elche -very likely largely thanks to its coastal areas-, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura, El Campello and Altea. Likewise, they exceeded 10,000 visitors in Vila Joiosa, l’Alfàs del Pi and Finestrat, and almost also in Teulada. It is very likely that all these data will also be pulverised by the records for the month of August.
On the other hand, the figure for the main inland tourist centre, Alcoy, was infinitely more discreet, with 6,952 visitors in July. This city, however, is consolidated as a focus of attraction, albeit in much more limited proportions, since its data for 2022 is also 10% higher than that of July 2019. In addition, it must be taken into account that the capital de l’Alcoià usually receives more visitors at other times of the year; in April, when it celebrated its Moors and Christians, it had 12,302 tourists, and in October 2019 the figure rose to 12,674, the highest record in the last three years; We will have to wait until next fall to see if it is overcome.
High temperatures cause seven times more fatalities than traffic accidents
2022, so far one of the hottest years in history, has claimed seven times more fatalities due to high temperatures than due to traffic accidents in the Valencian Community.
Specifically, so far this year 361 people have lost their lives due to excessive heat. These are the data produced by the Daily Mortality Monitoring System for all causes (MoMo), a study carried out by the Carlos III Health Institute and coordinated by the Ministry of Health. In the same period of time, the DGT confirms that there are 54 deaths as a result of accidents in the Valencian territory.
These figures are particularly worrying when compared with those of previous years. Those who died as a result of heat in the first nine months of 2022 already exceed the total number of people who lost their lives for the same cause in all of 2021 (281) and in 2020 (353).
The data for the Valencian Community this year also exceeds the national average, which stands at 304 deaths from these causes. A statistic that does not refer to deaths caused only by heat stroke, but also counts the death of people with previous pathologies that have been aggravated by high temperatures.
For the director of the Climatology Laboratory of the University of Alicante, Professor of Regional Geographic Analysis Jorge Olcina, “it is not surprising that such a high number of victims is occurring because, as the State Meteorological Agency itself has recognized, this is the hottest summer on record.
Olcina believes that there is no doubt that 2022 has been the hottest summer period since at least 1950, since “we have had seven waves of Saharan air from June to the end of August” and considers that these conditions especially affect to people with some ailment or disease, as well as to those of advanced age.
The professor recalls that these last few months have been especially hot since they have presented high temperatures practically continuously, with numerous equatorial nights that, according to UA data, are going to break a new record: 90 nights above 25º between May and end of August.
In addition, the excess of temperatures has also been noted in the sea: the accumulated heat of the Mediterranean has also set a record, exceeding 30º on some days in August.
For Fernando Maestre, director of the UA’s Arid Zones and Global Change Laboratory, “what we have experienced so far has been the trailer for the film and the climate of the future that we already have here”. The researcher believes that “what we have to do is start preparing and adapting to the new climate” that we are going to have in the coming years.
To do this, a key aspect that “must be taken into account from now on, especially by city councils” is to provide cities with more shade. Maestre affirms that “hard” public spaces and squares have proliferated, practically without vegetation, which have become impracticable and defends that “one of the main measures to lower temperatures is to put more trees, which also help to have a better quality of air and have numerous positive effects on our health.
The researcher maintains that “from now on there will be certain jobs that cannot be done at certain times of the day”, especially those that require physical effort, and recommends taking more into account the usual summer recommendations, such as going out as little as possible at times of maximum temperatures, especially the highest risk groups.
“Heat kills.” A reality that for Maestre “is a problem that we have to take very seriously” and implement measures to adapt to “the climate of the future” which, in the researcher’s opinion, “unfortunately we already have it here”.