Market traders in Aguamarina are being told by the council that they must clean up their act, as residents continue to complain at the disruption being caused to the local `population and the large amount of rubbish they are leaving behind every Thursday afternoon.
Long-time dweller Mary Surtees told the Leader that from her apartment she can often see stallholders disposing of their rubbish over the cliff face, as they race to clear their pitches and get away at the end of the day.
“They don’t want to take the old cardboard and plastic packing away with them, and there are not enough bins, so they simply toss it over the seawall when they think that nobody is looking. It’s simply not good enough. On the better run markets there are council superintendents who make sure that sort of thing doesn’t happen. I’ve yet to see one walking round in Aguamarina”.
Of course it is not only the traders that cause the mess. Because of a lack of waste containers along the seafront paseo, and in the area in general, rather than find a bin, it’s often easier for visitors to do the same, as a result of which the seafront cliff face and walkway is littered with plastic cups and bottles, which the council then have the task of clearing away.
The council directive comes on the back of the increasing number of local residents who say they have had enough and want the market to be moved on.
Locals say that they have to walk in the road as pavements are often blocked by market delivery vehicles, illegally parked vans and cars that cause a hazard and make life difficult. They complain of blocked entrances and garages as well as early morning noise as the market traders set up their stalls and switch on their generators. With the absence of chemical toilets, particularly during the early hours, some traders have even been seen relieving themselves along the sea front prior to the opening of the bars and the arrival of the general public.
And now the FAOC, the Federación de Asociaciones de Orihuela Costa-Alicante, are saying that at the very least the subject merits further discussion.
For many years the market was held on the esplanade in front of the urbanization “Pinar de Campoamor.” It was moved to Calle Fuego in Aguamarina about 3 years ago. This was done at the request of the traders who said that the Campoverde site was dying. There were few people visiting and the number of stallholders were reducing week by week. They said that the market would only survive if it were moved to a new site where it could attract the public in greater numbers, especially during the winter months.
And now, on balance, although there are weeks when the market doesn’t trade because of high winds and heavy rain, the new Aguamarina site has been emphatically welcomed by the traders.
Opinion amongst the residents though is deeply divided, with many concerned by the points that they raised above. They say that the market should be moved to a site that is better equipped to hold such an activity, somewhere like the main car park directly in front of La Zenia Boulevard where there are the facilities and parking in abundance.
The car park is council owned and it is more than adequate as far as size is concerned and it would also allow the traders to park alongside their pitch, making life far easier with regard to setting up, re stocking and packing up at the end of the day.
In the meantime, however, and until the authorities can decide on the future, which might include a more appropriate site, there are a number of areas that must be addressed:
- A market manager must remain on site at all times, from initial setting up to the end of the clean-up operation. He must ensure that traders are made fully responsible for their own waste.
- Additional containers must be provided for waste, especially for cardboard and for plastic. The number currently available falls far short of what is required.
- Chemical toilets must be installed for traders, so that appropriate standards of hygiene are maintained. No one must be allowed to relieve themselves at the side of the road as has happened in the past.
So with the two sides currently at odds, what comes next for the market and its traders? Whatever it might be it certainly can’t be rushed. It needs to be thought through with both sides sitting down to discuss its future.
When the market was first moved to its present location there was a complete lack of involvement of any residents. There was zero consultation. The council must now get themselves down to the site and take more of an interest in their views and the problems they currently face and if they can’t be resolved an alternative site will need to be found.