When I first arrived in Cabo Roig over 15 years ago, the Orihuela Costa was a popular ‘all year round’ destination. It was a thriving community, clean, well populated and most importantly, the businesses were doing well. But to say that the municipality now looks ‘rather tired’ would be somewhat of an understatement.
The neglect began 7 or 8 years ago under the watch of the Councillor for the Coast at the time, Cllr Aniorte, and it has been declining at a steady rate ever since. But even at that stage the problems were being identified to the council by local groups and organisations, with the usual resultant assurances. Unfortunately though, as often as the promises were being made by the council they were also being broken.
There was a short period, during the tenure of Councillor Martina Scheurer, when things improved, but for the last 12 months or more the situation has again been in decline.
The situation is similar across the whole of the region and in recent months many urbanisations and communities are now beginning to take it upon themselves to do something about it. They are fed up with the Orihuela Council’s failure to provide basic services to residents and the businesses on the coast.
In Cabo Roig one resident became so discontented that a little over 12 months ago he formed the ‘Cabo Roig Clean Up Committee’ which now meets every Friday morning to tidy up around the local area. Approximately 20 volunteers gather outside the Trinity Pub at about 8.30 am and then spend the next 90 or so minutes picking up litter, cleaning around the bins, weeding and generally tidying up on both sides of the N332.
John Critcher said that “I was at the end of my tether. I just couldn’t believe the lack of support we were getting from the local government. They seem perfectly happy to take our taxes but the services they provide in return are totally inadequate.”
Together with other residents, John has been emailing the council’s offices for many years in the hope of having their issues addressed, but nothing has been done to date.
“I have sent them list after list. I have emailed the council staff who are very helpful at providing me with assurances. However, what they are not so good at is following them through”.
As I walked around Cabo Roig last Friday morning it is easy to see just how the increasing volume of litter and damaged infrastructure is ruining the cleanliness and look of the area. The continually expanding eyesores caused by litter strewn along roadsides, across pavements, around parks and recreation areas, in green zones, in fact now almost everywhere, is totally unacceptable.
And it doesn’t end there because the problems now extend far beyond the litter. There are broken commercial electrical junction boxes strewn across the area. One outside the Trinity pub, the responsibility of Iberdrola, has been denounced by the pub owner. It is an accident just waiting to happen, an accident that could quite possibly result in a death. There are broken fences, damaged water casements, upended paving slabs, fragmented drainage covers, many of which have been in their current broken down state for as long as 3 years and all of which are a risk to the public safety of local residents.
“The council is fully aware of all these problems but their response to our requests has been completely inadequate,” said John. “It seems that despite all their rhetoric they just can’t be bothered with us. What has become of their Duty of Care?”
“What we really need is for the area to be visited by someone in authority, someone who can make decisions with regard to the support that we are provided on the coast and as such I would like to invite the mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, together with the councillors for cleaning and tourism, Noelia Grao and Sofia Alvarez, to walk around the area with us. Let them then see at first hand that we are not simply complaining for complaints sake but we have the genuine interest of the area at heart. I am sure that a happy, content and supportive population is worth an hour of Snr Bascuñana’s time.”
We would like nothing better that to see an immaculate Cabo Roig and Orihuela Costa, with tourists flooding into the area, and taking advantage of the wonderful facilities that we have on offer, all year round. Surely, as politicians and residents alike, we are all aiming toward the same goal, we all have the same interests at heart, a clean, vibrant and appealing Orihuela Costa.