Orihuela Costa Associations warn of 81 abandoned sites
While the Orihuela Costa continues to attract retirees and visitors to the region in their thousands, as they come to enjoy the award winning beaches and some of the very best golf courses in Europe, there is another side to the municipality, one that is kept well away from the glossy magazines, brochures, websites and tourist information materiel that draws the potential residents and tourists to the area, a face that is not quite so idyllic.
It is nevertheless a face that is emphasised time and time again to the municipal government by any one of a number of Resident’s Associations that are working on behalf of the inhabitants of the coast, that of cleanliness, waste disposal and the abandonment of countless green areas, many of them actually owned by the local council.
The Federation of Associations of Orihuela Costa (FAOC), which represents the largest number of coastal residents, has carried out a thorough study, during which it has found a total of 81 plots of land that are lying completely abandoned and where the City Council is failing to comply with its own ordinance, which obliges the owners, at the very least to fence and keep the plots clean.
In situations where this ordinance is not adhered to and the plots are not maintained in an acceptable and safe condition, the authorities are then entitled to carry out the necessary work and to pass on any bill to the owners.
Unfortunately, with 11 of the 81 abandoned plots belonging to the Orihuela Government, the likelihood of them taking any action against the owners is improbable, to say the very least, inaction that presents an appalling image of one of the main tourist centres on the whole of the Costa Blanca, and all the time the council continues to spend hundreds of thousands of euros on the attendance of it’s councillors and it’s staff at travel fairs across the whole of Europe and in the printing and publication of travel literature that fails to tell the whole story about the areas that it is promoting.
FAOC says that it has sent the results of its study to the City Council, distributed to the departments of Urban Planning, Heritage, Health as well as the Councillors of the Coast, for their comments and observations. They have given the council a period of 3 months to answer and to act on the upkeep of the 81 plots.
FAOC President, Tomás Moreno, is heavily critical of the council, demands their immediate intervention, especially on the lots that they own. He says that many are turning into dumping ground, where debris is deposited without any form of control with the subsequent attraction of rats and many other pests that are constantly making the lives of local residents extremely unpleasant.
It is patently clear that many of the lots have not been cleaned up for years, bringing into serious question the safety and the health of those people living in the immediate vicinity. And what makes the situation even more laughable is the approval given by the PSOE in November of a modification to the Municipal Ordinance Regulating Urban Cleaning, Cleaning, Sanitation and Urban Waste Management, to speed up the procedures that allow municipal action and shorten the deadlines for the cleaning and fencing of such plots.
With both National and Municipal elections now scheduled for April and May I just hope that those who are able to do so think seriously before casting their vote, for what has shown to be a desperate government with, seemingly, little concern for the 30,000 people who live on the coast.
Time for all of us now to shake off the Orihuela Costa disease of apathy that sees too many of us simply roll over time and time again. We must stand up to bad politics and, if nothing else, unite to create a massive scare campaign, and perhaps the wakeup call needed to those who sit in Orihuela’s ivory towers!