Estepona. Theatre and auditorium. The works are scheduled to finish by September. :: sur
The year before an election is a year full of projects. This premise is still being strictly adhered to, despite the economic difficulties from which town halls cannot escape. Time is flying past and in May next year voters all over the country will be going to the polls to choose their local mayors. It is time once again to gather up and put into effect projects that will make the local population feel good about the work carried out by their council. However, there is only just over a year to do this, because the law prohibits the inauguration of new projects during the few weeks preceding the elections.
With this in mind the council in Malaga city, like elsewhere in the province, is studying the portfolio of projects which the mayor, Francisco de la Torre, hopes will help him to be elected for a fifth mandate. Almost a dozen projects are already under way, due to start or about to be put to tender by the Town Planning Department. Among them is the maintenance plan for pavements and roads in 2014, which will cost 2.5 million euros. Add another two million for the road surfacing plan, and 4.5 million euros are to be spent in a single year, a sum which is almost equal to the 4.7 million euros that were spent on the paving plan for 2012 and 2013. As well as these works, contracts which are to be carried out all over the city, municipal sources say there are also other projects which have been pending for years that will come to fruition just before the next elections.
The Benítez, a park
One of these is the conversion of the former Benítez military camp (near Guadalmar) to a park, where the initial works to prepare the site have already begun. The council has allocated two million euros from this year’s budget for the creation of this park, although the project still has to pass through various bureaucratic stages and this could mean there will be a rush to complete it in time before the elections take place.
Several projects are also planned in the city centre during the rest of this mandate. Apart from the improvement works which have already begun on the Plaza Poeta Alfonso Canales, beside the Plaza de la Marina, the second phase of the Soho district and the creation of a new square beside Calle Camasin, there are plans to pedestrianise the area to the south of the cathedral. This project will be jointly financed with the regional government’s Tourism Department. It is the largest investment planned in the next few months, at an estimated 4.6 million euros.
Also on the list is a plan to eradicate the smell that is produced by the mud and accumulated waste at the mouth of the Guadalmedina river.
Also about to be put into effect is a project to create a road between the roundabout at the Carlos Haya hospital and Avenida de Valle-Inclán.
In Marbella, after having concentrated on balancing the accounts and carrying out a series of small works in different districts, the council is now focusing on three big projects in the final stage of its mandate: the boulevard over the tunnel in San Pedro Alcántara, the remodelling of the streets around Avenida Ricardo Soriano in the town centre and the completion of the seafront promenade so that the entire coastline of the municipality, between San Pedro and Marbella, is linked by a pedestrian walkway.
After almost a decade of delays and two years of works, creating the road tunnel in San Pedro has left a scar between the town centre and the area towards the beach and this will be resolved by the creation of a park and avenue designed by local architect Juan Antonio Fernández, which will be finished in September.
The second major commitment by Marbella council will be the complete remodelling of the streets between Avenida Ricardo Soriano and the seafront promenade. This project is being carried out gradually and it will affect about 20 streets, many of which will become traffic-free.
This plan to remodel the streets will not be completely finished by the time of next year’s elections, but the connection between San Pedro and Río Real via the seafront is expected to be finished according to schedule. There are four remaining stretches to be completed, at a cost of three million euros.
The most important infrastructure project to be carried out in Estepona this year is the Teatro Auditorio theatre. The works, which are 50 per cent complete, should end in September which is when the mayor, José María García Urbano, had promised that the theatre would open its doors. The construction is being financed jointly with the Malaga provincial government, and the council is paying 2.7 million of the 5.7 million euro cost. Just to the side of the theatre, the new fairground is also to be created and this is another star project for the council. It will cost 4.1 million euros and will include permanent bars - the contract for their construction has been put to tender - and sporting facilities.
In the capital of the Axarquía, the council hopes that by the end of this year the works on El Cerro botanical park will be completed. The project is costing 2.7 million euros. There is also a wide-ranging package of proposed projects scheduled for this year, which the mayor, Francisco Delgado Bonilla (PP), says could not be carried out before “because of the payment plan for suppliers, which in the case of Vélez has risen to about 35 million euros”. These projects include the widening of the Camino de Torrox, a new road which will link Vélez with Caleta. The council’s plan is to create only two of the four lanes initially, at a cost to municipal funds of 1,653,000 euros.
The local authority also wants to start work on making Calle del Mar and Calle Saladero in Torre del Mar traffic-free, which will cost about 750,000 euros and of which the provincial government will finance 500,000 euros through a plan of productive investments. Other major projects which the council plans to start this year are the nurseries in Benajarafe and Caleta de Vélez, which will require an investment of 1.2 million euros, to which the regional government will contribute one million, the adaptation of the Lope de Vega theatre at a cost of 1.2 million euros, which will be financed by the provincial government, and the modernising of the municipal market which will cost 1.7 million euros. At the same time 700,000 euros will be spent on modernising the old bus station and 2.4 million on the restoration of the Los Pósitos building, on which work is due to begin soon.
Other schemes due to start shortly are the business centre on the Parque Tecnoalimentario, at an estimated cost of 1.1 million euros, and improvements to the access to these facilities.
In Rincón de la Victoria, the planned projects will cost around 15 million euros in total and they include the indoor swimming pool (5.4 million), overhaul of water pipes (4.3 million), a park on the outskirts at Torre de Benagalbón (2.5 million), the ‘Manuel Becerra’ rugby ground in La Cala del Moral (1.39 million), improvements to the road to Macharaviaya (one million euros), a roundabout at the access to the Parque Victoria residential complex (258,000 euros) and replacing the surface at the sports track in Benagalbón (50,000 euros).
In Nerja, the biggest project began earlier this month after four decades of bureaucratic processes and the failure of different administrations involved in the project to carry out their part. This is the EDAR sewage treatment plant, which is being financed by the government at a cost of 23.4 million euros. Also, about half a dozen streets in the town centre and in Maro will be remodelled, at an expected cost of about 300,000 euros.
In Torrox, the most important project to be carried out will be the first phase of the stabilisation of the Ferrara beach, to stop the continued loss of sand in the winter storms. This will cost 500,000 euros, financed by the council, the government and the provincial government. Another 239,586.76 euros will be spent on remodelling the Rejana bridge in the centre of the village. On the coast, there will be road safety improvements, including new pavements and pedestrian crossings, at a cost of 372,000 euros.
In Coín, the council hopes to start the biggest project of its mandate this year: reforming the entrance to the town from the Cártama road. This will cost 1.1 million euros and will be financed by the provincial government. Others to be carried out this year include improvements to the indoor swimming pool, the conversion of the Casa de Cultura into a library and improvements to several streets and squares in the town centre.
In Alhaurín el Grande, works on the Plaza de La Legión are about to begin. The Town Hall will be investing more than half a million euros on the works, which will be financed jointly with the provincial government. Converting the old health centre into municipal offices and creating a new day centre are other key projects planned during the rest of this mandate.
Cártama council will be making its biggest investment this year (almost one million euros) on extending and improving the Santo Cristo park.
In Alhaurín de la Torre, there is still no date for the works to start on the ‘airport city’ project, because final approval has yet to be obtained from the Junta de Andalucía.
In Antequera, work on two of the council’s most important projects is due to begin soon: a facelift for the Paseo Real and La Negrita gardens, and the modernisation of the Local Police station. The most expensive of these will be the Paseo Real, beside the bullring. It is part of an overall plan to improve the appearance of the urban area and will cost 1.2 million euros, which will be financed by the provincial government. The works on the police station will cost 710,560.60 euros, of which 588,998.95 will also be paid by the provincial authorities.
In this pre-election year the mayor of Ronda, María de la Paz Fernández, plans to build a district library for almost one million euros and a new bus station, among other projects.
In towns on the western Costa del Sol, most of the projects that are pending at present will depend on approval and financial assistance from other administrations. One of these is the second phase of the river park in Fuengirola and the remodelling of the Plaza Virgen de la Peña in Mijas Pueblo. Both of these are waiting for funds to be released from the Plan Qualifica, a plan which aims to boost the Costa del Sol as a tourist destination.
In Benalmádena, the enlargement and remodelling of Puerta Marina is still waiting for the go-ahead by the Junta de Andalucía, and Fuengirola is unable to build a new roundabout at the entrance to the town until authorisation is given from the Ministry of Public Works.
In Torremolinos, the second phase of the renovation of the Casa de los Navaja is still pending.