Local Daily News 5th May

Guardamar decides to maintain the blue parking area next to the beach for eight more summers

The socialist government team of Guardamar has decided to maintain the parking regulation system (ORA) in the most touristic areas and close to the beach of the municipality during the summer season – from June 15th to September 15th. The measure affects just over 620 parking lots located on avenues and streets near the first line of the Guardamar coastline.

The streets that will maintain the regulation of parking with parking metres are Avenida Ingeniero Codorniu between numbers 1 to 115, Avenida de la Libertad from numbers 14 to 98 and all the cul-de-sacs that make up the streets Paraguay, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, the Philippines and Cuba, in addition to the Benamor Urbanisation. The operation of the car park reserves around 70 spaces for residents in the same area as well as parking for motorcycles, bicycles and people with reduced mobility, all free of charge. The only change with respect to the previous service is the reduction of some parking spaces in Ingeniero Codorniu because the land has become part of the maritime-terrestrial public domain.

The contract, for eight seasons until the summer of 2029 included, includes the services of surveillance, sanction, contribution, installation, operation, maintenance and repair of the ticket dispensers and the hiring and payment of personnel, collection management, as well as the execution and maintenance of horizontal and vertical signalling of the service. The calculations of the technicians maintain that the concessionaire will be able to bill around 200,000 euros per season and sets the operating canon to be contributed to the City Council by the successful bidder of 76,472 euros per year. The specifications require the hiring of eight controllers apart from the coordinator and the contribution of at least 22 parking metres to maintain the service in good condition. Also as a novelty, it will demand from the successful bidder the implementation of a mobile application for payment.

This system to allow the rotation of the car park at times of greatest tourist influx was launched in 2013. The contract ended last summer and the company that operated it gave up extending it with an extension. The PP in the opposition supported in plenary the initiative of the local government chaired by the mayor José Luis Sáez.

“It seems good to us that now they have realised that it is positive for the municipality during the summer,” said Vicente Zaragoza, spokesman for the PP, who clarified that the start-up of the award procedure is a little late. The local government would have considered the possibility of creating a public company to carry out this service, although it has finally opted for indirect management. Given the haste with which the tender has started, the specifications already contemplate the possibility that the 2022 season will not be completed.

Rates will remain at figures similar to those maintained by the service last summer, although they are not specified in the project’s public documentation: a minimum of 30 minutes for €0.40 and a maximum of 4 hours for €3.35.

Orihuela puts out to tender the urban renovation of the banks of the Segura river nine months later

The urban renewal of the banks of the Segura river in Orihuela has been pending for a few years due to the deterioration and poor condition it presents, especially in the perimeter protection fence, giving a poor image in the centre and in one of the most visible and photographed areas from the capital of the Vega Baja. Nine months have passed since the last announcement by the City Council to undertake this renovation that also aims to achieve an optimal urbanisation for the transit, enjoyment and recreation of citizens.

Now, the local administration has put out to tender the works on the 550-metre section that runs from the Levante bridge, in the urban area, to the Príncipe de Asturias bridge. For an amount of 403,706 euros, the works consist of demolition, levelling and cleaning of the land and includes nursery products, urban furniture, street lighting equipment, landscaping in green areas, paving, installation of road signs and pavement foundations. The term to carry them out is four months, although it may be lowered by the successful bidder. The companies have until the 23rd to present their offers.

It was in August when the Department of Infrastructure announced this rehabilitation, although without specifying deadlines, which was fully funded by the Diputación de Alicante, which had already granted the subsidy to the council within the “Plan+Cerca” at that time. At that time, the mayor Ángel Noguera spoke of the adaptation of the perimeter fence to protect the banks of the river, the formation of a pedestrian itinerary in the section between the Levante bridge and the Los Arcos footbridge, the replacement of the lighting by points of light with LED technology and the adaptation of the lighting columns, as well as the sanding, stripping and painting of the metal structure of the existing pergola. In such a way that the problem of accessibility would be corrected, with new benches, and the lack of lighting. To carry out these actions, the trees incompatible with the pedestrian path will also be removed, as well as the clearing and cleaning of planters. All this with the aim of allowing its use and enjoyment by the residents, who will have a renewed itinerary where they can walk and practice sports in the city centre.

Before, in February of last year, the mayor of Urban Planning, José Aix, announced that his area and the Infrastructure area were studying the call for an ideas competition for the reform of the Los Arcos footbridge, so that solve the current accessibility problems and with them the interactions between vehicles and pedestrians “within the municipal concern to carry out the renovation of the surroundings of the river”, indicated the councillor at the time.

But already in 2018 the then mayor of Infrastructures, Juan Ignacio López-Bas, reported an investment of 880,000 euros, 55% of which would be borne by the City Council, for a series of much more ambitious improvements than those that will finally be carried out, since they included the elimination of sidewalks and even the construction of a bike lane on both sides between the section of the Trinidad and Príncipe de Asturias bridges, with a width of 2.5 metres. Nothing was known about that project until Noguera rescued it last August but leaving less than half of his investment, only the part to be assumed by the Provincial Council.

Infrastructure sources indicate that this is one of the many issues that were paralyzed in the Procurement area, in the hands of the PP in the previous mandate, even at the risk of losing the subsidy. Specifically, since November 29th, the Provincial Council issued a favourable report on the project, on December 14th the Department sent the contract proposal to Contracting, which did not start the file until March 31st. The blockade and the paralysis is one of the arguments that both Ciudadanos and the PSOE have used to carry out the motion of censure that has ousted the Popular Party from the government.

Elche has a score of schools adhered to the plan against bullying

Some twenty schools will join the City Council’s fourth bullying prevention project this year in collaboration with the ANAR and Pikolinos foundations. This was confirmed this Wednesday by the mayor of Education, María José Martínez, during the commemoration of the International Day Against School Bullying that was held in the plenary hall of the City Council.

The president of the provincial association Plántale Cara al Bullying, Salud Alarcón, has promoted this day of vindication, which was attended by the mayor, Carlos González, the head of Education, María José Martínez, as well as members of the government team and the municipal corporation. Zaira Belda Martínez, a fifth-grade student at CEIP Menéndez Pelayo, has read the manifesto in which a problem is condemned that, according to UNESCO in its latest report of 2019, affects one in three minors enrolled in school worldwide.

The Elder of Elche has assured that at the municipal level “we reaffirm the municipal commitment against bullying” remembering that this day is very important “so that we give visibility to a real problem”. González has stressed that it is a problem “that exists in society and that occurs in the classroom. And that it has transcendence and relevance both individually for those who suffer from it and in the family and school environment”.

González has urged to “trace and weave alliances between families, institutions and with schools; also, with leading figures such as associations to commit ourselves to the fight against a problem that, on occasions, has an extraordinary social cost and that we must tackle through strategies and commitment”.

For her part, the mayor of Education has pointed out that “each of the administrations, hand in hand with entities, families and the entire educational community, are obliged to create healthy, safe and stable educational environments where our children can learn and develop fully as people without fear that anything will happen to them against their integrity and their person”.

The representative of Plátale Cara al Bullying has announced that the group will work, together with the Department and the City Council of Elche, on new initiatives to combat bullying.

The 2018 PISA report concludes that Spain is among the countries with the lowest rate of exposure to bullying among 15-year-old students. In addition, it is quoted verbatim that around 17% of students have suffered some type of bullying in our country, below the OECD average. Despite this, the last annual report published on coexistence in the classrooms in the Valencian Community, 2016/2017, figures a measure of three harassments per day in the schools of our territory.

The most frequent of the incidents referring to school bullying continues to be verbal violence, with 64% of the registered cases, followed by physical violence, which is much less frequent. As for cyberbullying, it went from 7% to 16% in one year, a clearly increasing figure. “This is the reality of bullying. Our society has made great strides in eradicating this problem: laws were enacted, instruments, protocols, training, awareness were put together… But there is still a lot to do, we have a long way to go because 17% is not acceptable”, said Zaira Belda, who concluded her speech with these words.

37% of children have weight problems and paediatricians warn of cases at increasingly younger ages

Excessive weight and obesity have reached “epidemic” proportions in Europe and continue to grow. The warning has been launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which urges countries to take measures to stop them. Neither the province nor the Valencian Community escape this trend.

The situation is especially worrying in the case of children and according to data from the Official College of Dietitians-Nutritionists of the Valencian Community, 25% of minors are overweight and 12% are obese. In addition, the age at which these problems appear is lowered. “We are seeing children aged five or six who are obese and who weigh more than 70 kilos,” warns Ana Pilar Nso, a pediatrician at the Hospital de Sant Joan specializing in Endocrinology. Nso summarises the causes of this scenario in two: children eat poorly and move little. “With the pandemic, leisure habits have changed. Screens have done a lot of damage, especially in recent years with the trend of online games. Children already socialise through video games, which has made the situation worse.”

This increase in overweight and obesity at such early ages means that diseases more typical of adults are being detected in children, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol and fatty liver. “It also translates into children with shorter stature and alterations in pubertal development.” Health problems, warns the paediatrician at Hospital de Sant Joan, which are translating into psychological repercussions for these children. “No one likes to be sick and overweight and obesity is a disease that is also visible.”

Regarding food, this specialist warns that many times parents do not realise that their children do not eat properly, something that is influenced by advertising and the lack of regulation by the authorities. “Mothers see it as normal for their children to have milk with cocoa for breakfast every day and they are surprised when you explain to them the amount of sugar they eat.” The lack of financial resources of families also plays a role in this problem. “When we tell them to eat more fish, they don’t say that nobody touches it.” Nso insists, however, that it is true that the shopping basket has risen, “but many times you do not have to spend a lot of money to eat well, for example if you eat legumes, which are cheap and a very complete food”.

Despite the fact that the Valencian Community is the cradle of the Mediterranean diet, it is one of the regions with the highest rates of overweight and obesity in all of Spain, along with Andalusia, explains Ángel Abad, coordinator of the Nutrition Unit of the section of Endocrinology of the Doctor Balmis Hospital. Abad agrees with the WHO that this is a silent pandemic “because apparently there is no damage, but the cases of diabetes, hypertension, and cancer are increasing…”. He also recalls that obesity and being overweight have been risk factors when it comes to contracting a more serious covid and ending up in the ICU.

The coronavirus pandemic has had, in his opinion, a direct impact on the increase in figures. “The Spanish Society of Obesity carried out a survey in which it was revealed that 44% of the population had gained between one and three kilos, with an increase in sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.” A survey that also showed that economic inequalities play a decisive role. “It’s not the same to have gone through this pandemic in a small apartment than in a big house.” Income also influences, in his opinion, the families’ shopping basket. “Many times it seems that it is cheaper to eat badly than to eat healthy.”

As for adults, 36% in our territory are overweight and 19% of men and 14% of women suffer from obesity, according to data provided by the Official College of Dietitians-Nutritionists of the Valencian Community. Some figures that the pandemic has only aggravated, with an increase of 10%. From this professional entity they also verify this worsening of life habits that the pandemic has triggered and that have not been recovered. “We have seen that food is important, but also stress, the pace of life and even economic factors,” says Ruth García, head of Projects at this professional entity. The school also defends the incorporation of nutritionists in Primary Care centres to improve these figures. Among its activities, it is also preparing a study to update the figures of overweight and obese children.

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