Horse races took place during the daytime in the spring season. :: m. c. jaime. file photo
The fact that Mijas Hipódromo stopped operating and the subsequent announcement that it was to close does not mean that Mijas council has given up on the project. The racecourse’s debts are being dealt with by the quasi-municipal company Recursos Turísticos Mijas (Unicaja bank owns a small part of it), which has recently agreed a schedule with Hacienda to pay the money which is still owed for tax and Social Security.
Lourdes Burgos, the deputy mayor of Mijas, told this newspaper that a schedule of payments is now in place which will allow the company to pay back most of the accumulated debt. The majority of debt arose during the time that the Carrera Entertainment Corporation S.A. company took over the management of the only racecourse in the province - between 2004 and 2008 - before its contract was withdrawn for not fulfilling its payment conditions, namely those to the State.
With regard to debts owed to other public administrations, when the racecourse closed there was also a backlog of other outstanding payments and these included some to Mijas Town Hall for water and rubbish collection.
Other suppliers, such as the security company which provided a service at the racecourse, are also waiting to be paid what they are owed. Payments for security services are among the most complicated, especially with regard to salaries which were not paid to the course’s own security staff. One of the three employees claims that the last time he was paid was in January 2013. The delay in paying for the service, combined with the complicated financial situation of the company itself, is what resulted in it going bankrupt. According to those who have been affected, the present debt that Recursos Turísticos Mijas S.A. is trying to resolve with the company is 61,000 euros, of which 40,000 are unpaid salaries.
Now that the contract with that security company has expired, a new one was put to tender and has been awarded to a small local company which has offered the same workers a job with a new contract. This is permitted by law but has been rejected because the staff do not want to lose some of their established rights.
It was in December last year that Mijas council announced what had been rumoured for some time, that the racecourse had ceased operating and closed down completely. It applied for a loan of 258,000 euros from Unicaja to pay the workers’ salaries - the staff were formally dismissed in February - and other outstanding debts.
While the final matters are being dealt with, the council is also considering what to do with the racecourse, which is in Cerros del Águila, in Mijas Costa, in the future. As well as the tracks for horse racing, there are other sports facilities such as an athletics track and a gymnasium, a karting track, a hotel and commercial premises which, for the moment, are not being used.