The company (UTE) that manages the Orihuela Costa Municipal Sports Centre (CDM) has closed the facility with effect from Monday, April 1. They say that they will only open the centre for three hours a day, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, for the children’s football and skating schools, which have paid a registration fee to the end of the season.
Other services such as the indoor swimming pool, the paddle tennis courts, the football pitch, basketball, gymnastics and tennis courts, which are used every day by hundreds of people, will be closed.
Members and users were only advised of the closure in a letter which was emailed to them by the Management Company on Thursday.
Orihuela council says that the company has failed to comply with the contractual specifications so, since August 2018, they have not paid any invoices, which amount to approximately 200,000 euros per year. The consequence is that the 22 workers have not been paid, in some cases since last December.
The government accuses UTE of not having expanded the facilities as agreed. It is understood that the contract required the company to build a sports hall, including fitness and cardio-fitness room, gymnasium, access control, storage room and changing rooms by the end of 2014.
However, sources close to UTE said they presented the project to Dámaso Aparicio, the sports councillor at the time, at the beginning of this mandate, but the City Council never gave its approval, and they now accuse Mayor Bascuñana and Sports Councillor Victor Valverde of not responding to their written appeals to resolve the problem of non-payment.
Cllr Valverde added that, in addition to the contractual breach, there is an imbalance in the bills involving centre maintenance so he opened a file in order to terminate the management contract with UTE last May.
Staff members told me that they were completely in the dark and that there has been no communication with the company or the council, other than a letter from UTE advising them that the centre was to close.
So once again, regardless of who is to blame, and as the wrangling goes on, it’s the people of the Orihuela Costa who are being penalised with the loss of this extremely important facility, and with each of the parties responsible blaming each other it is anyone’s guess as to if, and indeed when, the centre will reopen.
Meanwhile CLARO are calling all centre members and users to join them at 10am on Monday morning at a protest rally outside the Playa Flamenca Town Hall.