June 26, 2017
It has surprised me, and many others too, that Costa Blanca News has given so much uncritical space to the mayor of Orihuela in successive weekly interviews about the coast. Some of the things he has said in the course of these interviews are fanciful and downright deceptive.
In a breathtaking assertion, which is so obviously counter factual, he says that the coast has benefitted more than the city from huge investments. Among the big-item examples: €3 million for the Emergency Services Centre – in the next paragraph he admits that the Emergency Services Centre will be financed by the regional Valencia government, not the budget of Orihuela town hall; €500,000 for sewage – investments in the sewage system are paid for by consumers from their water bills, not the budget of Orihuela town hall; €260,000 for repairing the cliff falls on the Cabo Roig coastal walkway – the walkway has been closed for four years, waiting for these repairs.
He fails to acknowledge that in a recent exceptional investment budget for €1.3 million, the share of the coast was €18,000, 1.4%. The small village of La Aparecida received €900,000 to complete construction of a civic centre.
So much for our huge investments!
He says the budget for 2017 is only days away. The budget for 2017, which should have been approved at the end of 2016, will be key to determining investments for Orihuela Costa and the real test of the mayor’s sincerity. Among our many needs, the 2017 budget will determine whether Orihuela Costa will finally get a Cultural-Social Centre situated on the municipally owned car park area of La Zenia Boulevard where there is currently a summer circus. However, days after saying the new budget was days away, in a reshuffle of his governing team caused by divisions in his party, the responsibility for the budget has gone to a different councillor. Watch this space for further delays in the presentation of the 2017 budget.
But to cap it all, his final words in Interview II are that the coast is our (Orihuela’s) big area of natural heritage and he will take care of it so it keeps on being a national and international reference point. This is the height of fantasy. In the long campaign spearheaded by C.L.A.R.O. to save Cala Mosca, our last and most significant area of natural heritage, from destruction by the building of 1,500 new houses, the only party to vote against a motion in the Valencia parliament last week to provide more protection for Cala Mosca was the mayor’s Popular Party. In government in Orihuela, the Popular Party and their coalition partner, Ciudadanos, have never lifted a finger to save this emblematic green area. Together, they go on approving house building project after project, with the addition of thousands and thousands to the population of Orihuela Costa, which is notorious for its deficient services and inadequate infrastructure. Converting Orihuela Costa into a concrete jungle will not preserve our natural heritage and will not add to the quality of lives of those living here.
The mayor should be exposed for purveying alternative facts and not rewarded with generous space for his falsehoods and deception.
Thanks for the letter. In fairness, we asked the questions that we thought people on the coast would want to hear an answer to. Of course, many people will not agree with the answers he provided – but it is important for people to know where the mayor and his party stand on these issues. Readers will be able to draw their own conclusions based on what he said – and then take appropriate action, be it through their vote (if we still have one in the next local election) or in other forms of protest.
As a regular reader you will be aware that every week we have at least one story which flags up the shortfalls of services and other problems in Orihuela Costa. In fact, we have been accused of presenting too negative a view of the coast because we print so many of these reports on such a regular basis.
All the best, Dave Jones