Local Daily News 25th October

Torrevieja plans to invest 5 million in the municipal bus terminal

The Torrevieja City Council has started planning the construction project of the municipal Bus Station of the city. The governing board approved last week the procedure that had already been validated last summer but which had to be modified when some errors were detected. This time, the project has determined that it would occupy a plot of approximately twelve thousand meters and would require an investment of just over five million euros, taxes included. The planned site is on a municipally owned plot, called enclave 13. It is marked off by the “Los Flamencos” roundabout on CV-905, Juan Varela de la Torreta I street and the Civil Protection headquarters. All in the main access to the city. A location that would guarantee the connectivity of bus services without the need for them to cross part of the urban area, which is what is currently happening.

Torrevieja is one of the main tourist cities in Spain, the fifth by population of the Valencian Community and third in the province, but it lacks a public bus station. Just the writing up of the project has been budgeted at 207,000 euros: 60,000 this year and 147,000 in 2022.

The chosen plot is integrated into a larger one that has 40,000 m2 and is municipally owned. It appeared in the specifications of the new vehicle collection contract as a future municipal deposit although this use has been discarded, for the moment, because the plot is not urbanized, and there are some dirt roads improvised by the neighbors, although the same plot of land could house several municipal facilities. It is not fenced. The purchase of this land cost the municipal coffers 9.2 million euros through an expropriation because the PGOU designated the plot for public use, despite being in private hands, and it has been without use since the acquisition was closed by court order in 2015.

The contract includes the drafting of the project, the obtaining of the environmental license, the construction management and construction execution management, and the health and safety coordination of the construction project of the city’s bus station. Torrevieja has a bus station owned by the company Avanza (formerly Costa Azul) and which is also the one that manages it. It is located next to Avenida de las Habaneras, next to the Civil Guard barracks and the Palace of Justice, in an area within the urban area where the constant passage of buses causes traffic problems. In addition, it is a station of reduced dimensions and with maintenance and safety problems.

The commerce of Benidorm recovers activity but is still far from the 2019 figures

Benidorm’s commerce is beginning to re-emerge after more than a year hit by the pandemic, although it still remains far from the numbers that were registered in 2019. But the sector does not give up and hopes to be able to return to normality.

The health crisis caused businesses in the tourist capital to face a difficult situation. The lack of tourism and the reduction in the purchasing power of families kept shoppers away from the stores, who, once the restrictions ended, are back to local commerce.

“The sector has not recovered yet. Not because there are no people right now, but because the shopping trend has changed”, explains the president of the Benidorm Merchants Association (Aico), Raúl Parra. The pandemic triggered sales “online” that “now is going down little by little.” Thus, at this time, “those who have had the worst time are the textile businesses” that depend a lot on tourists.

All of this is reflected in sales that are still below the figures they reached in 2019. On average, the commercial sector is 10% below the data of two years ago. But the situation is different depending on the type of product: “there are some shops that are 40-50% less,” said Parra.

In the pandemic, many were forced to close their businesses. The trade association indicates that “about 200 businesses will have left activity definitively” since March 2020. According to municipal data, 183 establishments requested opening licenses from that moment until the 1st of October. “Now 95% of the businesses are open” without counting those in the English area, in the Rincón de Loix, said Parra. Because still many have not been able to open their doors again due to the lack of a full recovery in British tourism.

The recovery has begun, according to sources in the sector, but not as fast as that of the hospitality industry: “trade is not going at the same speed. Bars or cafes are more direct consumption. As soon as there is movement of tourists, it recovers”. And the head of the entity points out that “the trend is for Benidorm to close shops and change them to hospitality businesses.” In fact, he predicts that “out of 1,500 businesses, about 100 will disappear” for this reason. “Shops have to reinvent themselves in some way,” added Parra. And that happens through modernization: “we are working on projects for online stores among others.”

San Miguel de Salinas and Los Montesinos, the most affected by the rains

The images that the rains left us in the Vega Baja this Friday were those of flooded roads, blocked cars, terraces devastated by the devastating force of the water … All after the yellow warning activated by the State Meteorological Agency for this Friday in the south of the province of Alicante.

Mastral Torrevieja Project has released data on rainfall registered in the region. The town where it rained the most until 8:00 p.m. Friday was San Miguel de Salinas with 97.4 liters per square meter, in second place Los Montesinos with 93.8 liters per square meter and in third place La Mata with 80.6 liters per square meter.

In addition, according to the Emergency and Security Center of the Valencian Community, the CEIP Dama de Guardamar school was evacuated due to problems with the rains.

A successful winner wins 100,000 euros at La Primitiva in Callosa de Segura

The La Primitiva draw this past Saturday has left a second category winner in Callosa de Segura. The ticket was sold in the Administration number 2 of the municipality and the prize that this winner takes is 101,178.48 euros.

In the draw of this Saturday, 23rd of October of La Primitiva there have been no winners of the special category (six hits plus reimbursement), so for the next draw, which will be held on Thursday the 28th, with a prize of 11.5 million euros.

As mentioned, there have been second category winners (5 hits + Complementary). A ticket in Vigo (Pontevedra) and the aforementioned one in Callosa de Segura.

The Council will prevent the removal of algae from the beaches five months a year to avoid its regression

The Generalitat finalizes a decree for the conservation of posidonia that contemplates restricting the collection of algae on all the beaches of the Valencian Community for five months a year, from the 15th of October to the 15th of March. Of great importance for the littoral zone, both the oceanic Posidonia and the Cymodocea nodosa (seba), already protected in a generic way in the state and regional legislation, are also a guarantee to have transparent waters due to their enormous oxygenation capacity, something that is noted in the 466 kilometers of Valencian coastline. Its accumulation on the shores of the beaches is a determining factor when it comes to providing sand and fixing these sediments, and preventing the regression of the coastline.

The decree, inspired by the autonomous legislation of the Balearic Islands, will regulate the anchoring of boats on the protected algae meadows, now totally out of control and featuring recreational and sport fishing boats – this last activity takes place in the waters of the province of Alicante and has a very negative impact, which is barely sanctioned. The objective is to guarantee the conservation of the protected seaweed meadows and the biological communities of which they are a part, and it will do so by regulating the uses and activities that may affect species and habitats both in the sea – with a prohibition of anchoring – as in the sea-land coastal zone, together with the adoption of measures that contribute “actively to the maintenance and achievement of its favorable state of conservation”.

This draft decree for the conservation of seaweed meadows of the Conselleria de Transición Ecológica recognizes the scientific evidence of the “intimate connection” between the balance of the seaweed meadows in the sea and the sedimentary conditions of the coastline. Of extraordinary environmental value, the meadows attenuate the energy of the waves and currents, reducing erosion and the loss of sand on the beaches, where they also play an active role of natural regeneration in the long term, allowing new contributions and fixing the sediment.

Alfonso Ramos, professor of the Department of Marine Sciences and Biology at the University of Alicante, and his research team highlight the importance of the “heaps of algae” (banquettes) that accumulate on the shores at the foot of the beach, and their “key” role in sand protection. “They are structures (formed) with the leaves and rhizomes of the Posidonia marine plant that accumulate in large quantities, creating barriers (…) that protect the beach from the loss of sand and provide nutrients to the sandy environment.” In addition to their role in the retention of sand, these “algae” produce organic matter (35-40 tons of dry matter per hectare and year), and above all are a great source of oxygenation (five to 20 liters of water per meter square) and habitat for more than 400 species of plants and 1,000 of animals, many of them of commercial interest. They also capture CO2, acting as a mitigating element for climate change.

The provision of the decree that restricts the collection of seaweed from the beaches between October and March coincides with the winter season, a time when the heaps are usually larger due to the effect of the autumn-winter east storms and have a greater beneficial effect on the coastline. 

The removal with heavy machinery of the algae represents a millionaire expense for the town councils of tourist municipalities, and on the other hand, a significant turnover for cleaning companies.

Hundreds of young people in the province have more than 15 contracts in one year

Working in a bar for hours on the weekend. Finishing your day, and waiting for them to call you back. Maybe next week; maybe next month; maybe never. This is the desperate situation to which hundreds of young people are forced, forced to live with a job insecurity that has ended up conditioning the rest of the facets of their lives: lack of income, instability, inability to access a home or to make life plans in the medium and long term. And mental health problems, more and more frequent and derived from all of the above.

The crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated the poor working conditions that the labor market offers to those under 30 years of age, almost 600 of whom came to having a total of 15 contracts during the past year in the province. More than one contract per month. This is clear from the latest Report on the Labor Market in Alicante prepared by the SEPE with data from 2020, a document that reflects the very high rate of temporary employment for this group even in a year as atypical as the past, in which temporary hiring fell by almost 20% due to the stopping of many sectors, mainly the hotel and tourism industry.

Unions and youth organizations, such as the Consell Valencià de la Joventut, do not tire of warning of this and other alarming data. For example, that the youth unemployment rate continues to grow and stands at 41.57%, according to the latest Labor Force Survey (EPA) for the second quarter of 2021. To this we must add that one in two Unemployed youth in the Valencian Community – 52.3% – are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to the latest report from the Youth Emancipation Observatory. Or, put another way, more than 7,200 unemployed under 25 years of age in the province of Alicante do not have enough income to be able to get ahead without help. But the figures do not end here.

Nine out of ten work contracts signed by young people last year in the Community were temporary, a type of contract that 51.3% of the working youth population have. This lack of job stability, in turn, makes long-term financial stability impossible. One of the main causes of the increase in poverty among young people is the low quality of work, which is presented as a determining factor in their standard of living and degree of emancipation.

There are several aspects in which our region is at the top of the national ranking. For example, we are the autonomy of Spain with more young people working part-time, a rate that reaches 29.4% of workers under 30 years of age, many of whom, however, end up doing many more hours than what their contract states. But it is also that underemployment among the young working population, that is, those who work fewer hours than they want or can, stands at 16.5%. The Community is also at the forefront, only behind Cantabria and the Canary Islands, in the overqualification rate, with 54.4% of young people occupying jobs that require a much lower academic training than they can accredit. In other words: engineers, computer scientists or philologists working, for example, as waiters or supermarket restockers.

Finally, the Consell Valencià de la Joventut (CVJ), also draws attention to another aspect that is entirely enlightening: the average salary received by those under 30 years of age in the Community is 857 euros. This amount represents a decrease of 2.74% compared to the previous year and is 108 euros below the minimum interprofessional salary, set at 965 euros.

Kevin Rost, head of Territorial Policy at CVJ, sums it up in one sentence: “The youth have not come out of the crisis since 2008. That one hit us squarely with cuts and worse contracts and now the covid pandemic has made everything even worse”. And it has resulted in a chronification of precarious work that, as the spokesperson for the Youth Council affirms, frustrates all the projects of this generation in the short and medium term. Two examples. First: “People say that young people do not have children but it does not go any further, when they really do not have children because it is something that with these salaries and these contracts we cannot afford,” says Rost. Second: “Sharing a flat can be an adventure, something very fun, a very cool stage of your life, but when it becomes the new normal, the only option that young people have to be able to emancipate themselves, it stops being something attractive and becomes a problem”. For this reason, from this organization they urge public administrations to implement employment policies “that are really effective to improve the quality of work” and, also, to promote the use of tools “that exist but are not being applied”.

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