Local Daily News 26th July

The remodelling of the Benidorm bullring will be done in two phases and will cost 13.7 million

The comprehensive remodelling of the Benidorm bullring is one of the most ambitious projects that the city has on the table. Fixing the battered structure and giving new uses to the infrastructure will ultimately cost 13.7 million euros, a reform that will be carried out in two phases due to external factors such as the increase in the cost of materials or the consequences of the crisis. This has been revealed in plenary where the basic and execution project of the first phase of rehabilitation of the bullring for its use as a social, youth, multicultural and interreligious centre and library has been approved.

The technical report from last June includes “in view of the economic situation in the country, the impact of the pandemic on the economy, the episodes of war in Eastern Europe, there has been a sharp increase in the cost of construction materials , their production and distribution” making it necessary to “execute all the works in two phases”. The first, whose project is the one that has been approved in plenary, of “structural rehabilitation of the bullring and its urban environment and Library”, which defines the general characteristics of the work with the “adoption and justification of specific solutions projected”.

Thus, the second phase includes the “rehabilitation of the bullring, to house a Social, Youth, multicultural and interreligious Centre within it.” All with a budget of 13.7 million. It should be remembered that the initial proposed budget was a little over 8.6 million. The intention is for the work to be completed by 2023.

The project is included within the EDUSI strategy, approved in 2018, endowed with a grant of 10 million euros from the ERDF funds of the European Union. The final action, with all the favourable technical reports, foresees, on the one hand, rehabilitating the structure of the bullring and transforming it into a new social and multicultural space. The Councillor for Urban Planning and spokesperson for the PP government, Lourdes Caselles, explained that this part of the works alone has a cost of 6 million euros.

The building will have numerous public uses: from a large library with study rooms, which will have an area of ​​3,247.34 square metres; a youth centre, as well as another for multiple uses that will function as a hotel for associations and entities from different fields. But not only will it act in the building itself. In addition, the area will be remodelled, expanding the pedestrian space and improving accessibility and connectivity between the Foietes-Colonia Madrid and Els Tolls neighbourhoods, since Alfonso Puchades avenue and Austria street will be connected to the Aigüera park, saving the elevation difference between the two areas, which will be connected through ramps and walkways in the building itself.

In the plenary session, the green light has been given to the project with which the bullfighting ring will be brought back to life, which has not hosted any type of activity for years. It was built in 1962 and was a symbol of a time of development of the city. It is currently closed and the music and dance conservatories had to be moved from the premises in the lower part due to the poor condition of the structure. “It is a building that is inactive” and with the new uses “it will have great potential as a multicultural space” in addition to reforming everything around it, according to the councillor. This is how he stressed that increase in the budget due to the current world situation and the increase in the price of materials, something that has also caused it to be divided into two phases: “The cost has increased since the first preliminary project precisely because a real project has been carried out”.

But the opposition, PSOE and Ciudadanos (Cs), have a different vision. The socialist spokesman Rubén Martínez pointed out that this increase in the cost of execution represents an increase of 61% compared to the first given budget of 8.6 million. “The rehabilitation of the bullring is going to be more expensive than the Avenida del Mediterráneo,” he affirmed by way of prediction, in addition to indicating that it can happen, as with other projects, that the final price has increased, such as with the bus station.

The socialist expressed that “we like the project” because “it is interesting for Benidorm” but “the price has skyrocketed considerably: five million is many millions of euros more. And this does not end here and it can continue to increase”. So he now added that “I don’t know if with that money the same thing could be done in another area of ​​the city.”

The spokesman for Cs, Juan Balastegui, followed the same line: “The project that was born has become a macroproject, it is outrageous and it does not come at the best time” since he argued that “perhaps there will be a recession” that will leave a panorama “complicated” that requires “austerity”. The councillor of the orange formation pointed out that, although it is necessary to remodel everyone’s square, “it is disproportionate with exterior walks that remind us of Calatrava; it becomes more expensive and does not report anything.” Balastegui recalled that the subsidy from European funds is “barely 2 million” for this project and, although it is an important project, perhaps it is not the right time: “It should be turned around with that money.”

Thus, Caselles reproached the opposition that “what hurts them is that they approved the Edusi” and also “that this project is drafted with current prices due to a situation that does not depend on us.” He stressed that “we have to comply with Europe by also making this project adequate to reality because we do not really want there to be cost overruns,” added the popular spokeswoman. “We believe that Benidorm deserves a library or the connection of neighbourhoods.”

There were still more reproaches from the opposition. The socialist indicated that “Edusi is as if it were his ring as in the film when it is a city project and not a PP playpen.” the Cs spokesman added that “we are not hurt by the Edusi, but very satisfied” but “I don’t know if it is a project of the citizens of Benidorm or their project”, referring to the popular government. Thus, the approval of the project went ahead with the votes in favour of the majority of the PP (13), the abstention of the 10 councillors of the PSOE and the vote against of the 2 of Cs.

The plenary has also approved a new modification of the budget to, among other things, deal with the payment of default interest for the expropriation of the land of El Moralet for a value of 617,000 euros. It should be remembered that in November 2017, the PP government paid the principal amount, but not the default interest generated since the file was opened in 2012. An amount of 5.9 million to businessman Enrique Ortiz who, after a claim by him, went to about 9 million euros after a bureaucratic error in the Intervention area caused 40 euros less to be paid than what had been stipulated. Now the City Council will have to face the default interest that is added to the total amount.

The two opposition groups declared that “it hurts us” to have to face another payment for El Moralet, this time for late payment interest. But that “there is a sentence” and you have to pay it,” said the socialist spokesman. Balastegui, from Cs, added that with Ortiz “it is the never-ending story” and “we still have the bus station.” The councillor for the Treasury, Aida García Mayor, argued that “it is a judicial procedure that also hurts us but that must be complied with.”

The approved budget modification was for a total of 967,000 euros, which included this part for Ortiz but also 350,000 euros to undertake improvement works in some educational centres.

Permanent prison for the couple that killed a disabled woman in Benidorm

The Court of Alicante has sentenced the couple accused of killing a disabled woman in Benidorm in June 2020 to steal the money she kept in the safe of the house, according to the sentence. Although the ruling considers it proven that the accused was the material author of the murder and that it was not proven that his wife was not even in the apartment, the ruling concludes that the crime was “the consequence of a joint decision of the two accused.” The two travelled from their home in Seu d’Urgell to Benidorm with one objective: to kill the victim, open the safe and steal the money that was in it. “There is a coincidence of wills directed to the same purpose,” concludes the ruling, to establish that there is no evidence that the accused left the plan when he ended the life of the victim.

The murdered 53-year-old woman suffered from a disease called phocomelia, with malformations in her arms and legs, for which she needed an electric chair to move. The victim was affected by thalidomide, a drug that between the late 50s and early 60s, caused malformations in the foetus of pregnant women and therefore she received a high pension amounting to 7,000 euros per month. Her defendant, Fernando José A. G., worked for her as her caretaker and had come to have a romantic relationship with her. The investigation pointed to an economic motive for the crime, since the victim came to bear many of the expenses of the marriage, having endorsed them in renting a flat and having bought him a Mercedes vehicle.

The investigation revealed that the crime occurred when she pretended to stop paying them and distanced herself from them. The man entered the house, hit the woman in the head with a blunt object and while she was unconscious, he threw her to the ground and suffocated her with her own chair, simulating an accidental rollover of the vehicle.

The sentence considers them both guilty of murder with treachery, assessing that the victim had no opportunity to defend herself “due to the surprise of the attack and the woman’s disability.” Although the ruling does not prove that Fernando’s wife, Olga B. M., was in the house at the time of the crime, the ruling also condemns her for murder. “The facts correspond to a joint plan concocted by the two defendants, which included the placement of a security camera to find out the combination of the safe, the death of the victim and the theft of any money that might be in the safe. security, with a distribution of roles”.

Olga B. M. had been free during the trial and, after the verdict that found her guilty, the court agreed at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office to put her in prison to prevent her from escaping. The ruling imposes permanent prison on them considering that the victim had a special vulnerability due to his disability, an aggravating circumstance that has already been supported by the Supreme Court for cases in which the victim is a minor in the death sentence beaten by little Aaron in Elche.

In addition to permanent prison, the ruling imposes another three years in prison for a crime of revealing secrets and robbery for hiding a camera to find out the contents of the safe. Although the amount stolen is unknown, the ruling indicates that the victim kept large amounts of cash in the box and that she had recently sold an apartment in Tenerife.

Unanimously, the green light has been given to the proposal to build the N-332 junction and its connection with the Comunitat Valenciana avenue, the roundabout required by the Ministry to be able to develop the industrial estate, which has been delayed in time to comply with the requirements of the Ministry.

 

The works at this point will consist of the construction of a new junction on the N-332 with a roundabout at different levels and branches for all movements to and from the road. This link will give access to sector 3/1 of the General Urban Development Plan and the new road called ‘Vial Discotecas’. The spokesperson and councillor for Urban Planning, Lourdes Caselles, clarified that the project “is already adequate to all the requirements of the Ministry of Public Works, because without this roundabout they will not allow us to develop the industrial sector” and lamented that the Ministry itself “does not has taken charge of this work that corresponds to them because they are on their land”.

Alarm in the Alicante countryside: the heat wave threatens to burn table grapes and vegetables

Alarm in the field and this time the fault is not the lack of water. The very high temperatures, without there being a thermal contrast between night and day, are causing the crops to have no respite, they cannot rest and recover when the sun goes down and right now, among others, table grapes, about to be harvested, are in danger and that for a few days it has been threatened and runs the risk of burning when temperatures, as is the case this Monday, exceed 38 degrees. For now, many producers have already warned that the size of the grape grain is going to decrease. And as for water, there are no problems because the transfers from the Tagus and the Júcar are working well, but since more water needs to be irrigated, the water comes out at a price of gold, even for the installations that have drip irrigation. The strong table grape harvest campaign starts in two weeks.

Other crops threatened with artichokes, in the process of planting, almonds in the ripening phase and as for pomegranates, the skin stains, which makes it difficult to market the product.

José Vicente Andreu, president of Asaja-Alicante, stresses that “with regard to citrus fruits, excess heat stresses the plants, fruit can fall, and above all it delays the harvest and reduces calibres. In vegetables such as the artichoke that is now being planted, it can be a disaster, because the small plants die from excess heat. In the pomegranate the skin stains and depreciates the product”.

The almond is in the maturation phase, causing the kernel to dehydrate, wrinkle and lose a lot of yield. “And the grape can get burned if it is not protected. This year, due to a lack of manpower, the bagging operation has been very late, and all the grapes remain unbagged, so they can be burned,” warns Andreu.

Another threatened crop is the earliest mandarins. “They are discarded due to excess heat. It is a problem every year and affects 20%/30% of the Clemenrubi, Orogros, Oronules varieties. Those of very early harvest, the greater the heat waves, the more it affects these varieties”, explains Andreu.

The big problem is that this summer is hotter than normal. “In Alicante maximum temperatures of 33 and 34 degrees in summer are normal. What is not normal is that the thermometer exceeds 37 degrees because water stress is produced on the plants, especially if they are exposed and can burn”, emphasises Antonio Rico, director of the Interuniversity Institute of Geography of the University of Alicante.

Table grape production, which is the most worrying at the moment, is focused on two main and differentiated areas, the Middle Vinalopó and the Albatera, San Isidro and Campo de Elche areas. The most outstanding varieties are the Aledo and the Ideal, which begins to be harvested in August.

On the other hand, the area dedicated to the cultivation of table grapes has shown a downward trend since 1993, maintaining itself from 2005 to the present. Today, there are 12,000 hectares dedicated to the production of this fruit, each season more pressured by the lack of price and, this summer, by the rigours of the heat, which will cause a decrease in size, apart from the fact that the Farmers have to irrigate more, which drives up costs.

Bagged table grape vines have skyrocketed in the Middle Vinalopó because the crop is no longer profitable for some farmers who have been working at a loss for years. The production costs are higher than the profit they obtain from the sale of the fruit in the field. It is therefore not surprising that in 2020 250 hectares of table grape area were eliminated in the region, reducing 500,000 vines to firewood.

But the situation seems to worsen this year and the figure is on track to triple. That year, 50 hectares -100,000 vines- of the Aledo variety have already been uprooted on different farms in La Romana and Novelda. The majority located in the places of Cucuch, Horna Baja, Serreta and Ledua-Monteagud. In this last zone, the tasks began on Wednesday and for the most part it is a young vineyard, also Aledo, planted eight years ago.

In most of the eliminated plantations the land will remain barren. Almost all owners choose to leave the sector and only a few intend to plant other varieties. In short, a loss of arable land that has been advancing unstoppably for decades and has negative consequences for employment, the economy and environmental protection.

On the other hand, the Compromís senator, Carles Mulet, today demanded that Aemet and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) appear to clarify the scientific rigour that exists on the part of those who are totally irresponsibly altering the water cycle without any kind of permission from the Administration and they are even doing a very profitable business with the sale of containers with sonic wave cannons. “We understand that, in the face of the policy of letting things go before an issue as sensitive and delicate as this, what should be done is to act and clarify what kind of support these illegal practices that contravene the Water Law without any scientific support have, and, which seems more serious to us, with public money”, he declared.

In the last twenty years, the arable land of the Valencian Community has plummeted by 23% (178,500 hectares in 2001 to 136,600 in 2021), while those destined for pasture and forest land have increased by 22%. and 19% respectively, according to the 2021 Agricultural Sector Report. Less and less active agricultural land and more abandoned land, which shows that these are very hard times for the sector.

Elche and the Orihuela district of San Bartolomé reach 46 degrees: the maximum temperature since there are records

The Saharan heat wave that has been scorching Spain for a week focused this Monday on the Mediterranean and caused the province of Alicante to record the hottest day so far this year with maximums of 35 degrees on the coastal strip and up to 46 degrees inside, in cities like Orihuela or Elche where thermometers have reached maximums of 46 degrees in the sun. The maximum, according to the Meteoclimatic network, has been recorded in the Orihuela district of San Bartolomé with 46 degrees in the shade, the maximum that is remembered.

Jorge Olcina, director of the Climatology Laboratory of the University of Alicante, warns that we are facing the hottest summer since 2003, in Spain saw around 1,500 deaths directly related to the heat, although official figures were never offered. In neighbouring France, 11,000 people died. On Wednesday the heat will give a truce and the second wave of summer will be over, but the “fresh” will not last long, since the third wave will be experienced at the beginning of the already imminent August. The sea temperature has already reached 29 degrees and meteorologists do not rule out that the 30 degrees announced in June could be exceeded in August. At the Alicante-Elche airport, 43 degrees have been reached, the maximum temperature in this observatory, which has been operational since 1967.

Last night was also sultry since the coastal strip did not drop below 26 degrees with humidity peaks of 80%, which triggers the thermal sensation at 29/30 degrees. At 12:45 p.m. today, Monday, in cities like Alicante, the wind chill is 43 degrees, due to the high degree of humidity. Jorge Olcina, director of the Climatology Laboratory of the University of Alicante, explains that “the special characteristic of this heat wave in the province of Alicante, especially in its coastal strip, is that the high degree of humidity causes sensations thermal like the real ones in the Guadalquivir Valley. Around 43 degrees despite the fact that the thermometer shows 36 degrees in the shade”. This Tuesday the heat continues, which will subside from Wednesday and will be reactivated next week.

The Ministry of Health maintains the health alert due to a high and extreme heat wave in municipalities of 19 counties of the Valencian Community, while equatorial nights, of more than 25 degrees, are expected in towns of 21 counties. The health alert for high (orange) and extreme (red) heat waves has been established in municipalities of the counties of El Alto Palancia, L’Alt Maestrat, El Comtat, El Rincón de Ademuz, El Valle de Cofrentes-Ayora, Els Ports and La Costera.

La Marina Alta, La Plana Alta, La Plana de Utiel-Requena, La Ribera Alta, La Ribera Baixa, La Safor, La Vall d’Albaida, L’Alcalatén, L’Alcoià, La Serranía, La Hoya de Buñol and La Canal de Navarrés complete the list of counties with this health alert.

Regarding night warnings, equatorial nights are expected in the municipalities of El Baix Maestrat, Marina Alta, Marina Baixa, La Plana Alta, La Plana Baixa, El Camp de Túria, El Camp de Morvedre, L’Alcalatén, L’Alacantí, L ‘Horta Nord, and Baix Vinalopó.

La Vega Baja, Els Ports, La Plana de Utiel-Requena, El Alto Mijares, El Comtat, El Valle de Cofrentes-Ayora, La Hoya de Buñol, La Ribera Alta, L’Alcoià and La Serranía are the rest of the counties with municipalities in which equatorial nights are expected.

The proMeteo pilot project has detected that the current heat wave “will reach the maximum category of danger estimated in its categorization system”, until tomorrow, Tuesday, “so it will be the first heat wave in the world to receive a name: Zoe “.

The pilot initiative estimates that the factors analysed by the system “will reach values ​​of particular concern for health”, with an intensification of daytime temperatures, the project has detailed in a statement in which it has stressed that the next one “could be particularly hot” .

“Given the seriousness of the episode and taking into account its high impact on health”, the technicians of the pilot initiative led by the Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Centre have warned the population, especially the most vulnerable, of the importance of Follow the health recommendations to prevent heat stroke and stay alert to the symptoms caused by this type of disorder.

The team of experts has developed an algorithm that daily analyzes the state of heat episodes and relates them to possible risks and impacts on health based on different variables: maximum temperature; the minimum temperature, related to the lack of nocturnal relief; relative humidity; the duration of the heat episode and the characteristics of the time before the episode occurred.

These factors allow the proMeteo monitoring system to determine the level of severity and risk of the meteorological phenomenon in relation to the possible effects on the health of the population and to classify it according to five levels: very high risk, high risk, medium impact, medium-low impact and no impact. Each risk level corresponds to a visual information system and a series of recommendations.

Exposure to extreme heat can cause dehydration, dizziness, exhaustion, heat stroke, loss of consciousness, and other medical emergencies. To deal with this situation, they have advised taking preventive measures and taking care of those people in the family or personal environment who may be more vulnerable — adults over 65, pregnant women, children and especially babies, people with pre-existing medical conditions or chronic diseases, dependent people or people at risk of exclusion–.

On the other hand, and taking into account all the indicators, from proMeteo the population is reminded that “nobody is alien to extreme heat”, even young people and better physically prepared can be affected by high temperatures, despite not considering who may be vulnerable.



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