The dunes area is to be improved. JOSELE-LANZA
The future of the Artola sand dunes is looking brighter. A project to recover and improve the dunes, approved by the government 14 years ago, can finally go ahead. An official document has now been signed, allowing the land to the north of the Torre Ladrones, one of the watchtowers that are scattered all along the coast, to be occupied as part of this project. As a result, this beauty spot can now be extended.
The project to regenerate and recuperate the ‘dunas de Artola’ is included in the Coastal Authority’s National Plan for Coastal Management, and it has an estimated budget of 1.65 million euros.
Marbella’s councillor for the Environment and Beaches, Antonio Espada, says that the project could be put to tender in the first quarter of 2014, probably in February or March. If that is the case, the works which are necessary to recuperate this beauty spot, which was classified as a natural monument in 2003, are likely to begin in June or July.
The final objective of this project is to improve the whole of the dune system, from Cabopino port to the mouth of Las Cabrillas stream. One part of the project will be to define the paths and paved areas, because the dunes have suffered damage for years by the uncontrolled entry of pedestrians and vehicles. The plans include the installation of a series of pedestrian walkways which will define the route for walkers, the creation of a parking area - which will also stop vehicles driving onto the beach - as well as the provision of urban infrastructure such as seating, rubbish bins etc, and an access to the Ladrones tower.
“The walks will be perfectly signposted and will have marker posts and wooden balustrades so that everyone can enjoy the dunes but without walking on them,” explains Antonio Espada. He also says that Marbella council has proposed that the future park should include public lavatories as well as an area where people can buy drinks and snacks.
With regard to the regeneration of the dune complex, the plan is to eliminate exotic invasory species of plants and substitute them with native species such as cork oaks and coastal junipers.
The principle hurdle before the works could begin was the need to compulsorily purchase several plots of land to extend the area of the beauty spot, specifically a total of 14,888 square metres of land that was owned by different companies (Metrovacesa, Eusko Levantear Eraikuntza II, S.A, Bamolo S.L. and La Barca NV S.A).
A fair price
In the past few years Marbella council, at the request of the Ministry of the Environment, has been defining which land would be affected by this project. The government announced at the beginning of this year that it would release the sum of 192,033 euros to pay the owners of this land for its compulsory purchase. After that, everything happened in quite rapid succession. In May the Ministry of the Environment, via the Coastal Authority, confirmed the date when the owners of the land would receive their money and now, following the signing of the final document at the Town Hall last week, that land may now be used for this project.
The document was signed by Ángel González, the head of the Coastal Authority, and Antonio Espada, who was representing Marbella council. The government is now the owner of the 14,888 square metres which adjoin the land which is in the public domain, and this new territory will become part of the park that is to be created in one of the most spectacular areas of the Malaga coastline.
The works are expected to be completed in 2015
. Marbella’s councillor for the Environment and Beaches, Antonio Espada, is very pleased at this latest step. “The mayor and council of Marbella are very keen for this project to go ahead,” he said after the document was signed last week, and he thanked the Coastal Authority for its cooperation in the matter so far.
It is hoped that by 2015 the sand dunes will have the protection and the facilities they deserve. “For years, everyone has talked about doing something about the Artola Dunes, which is a unique sand dune system in Malaga province, but it is this council that is bringing the project to fruition and it will become reality within two years”, said the councillor, before adding emphatically: “We have to protect it, defend it and maintain it so that everyone can enjoy it”.