Six political parties reach deal on body that handles water and waste on western Costa

Eleven councils currently send 39 representatives to the joint authority which will fall to 22 again.
Eleven councils currently send 39 representatives to the joint authority which will fall to 22 again. / JOSELE
  • The Mancomunidad, the joint authority between 11 municipalities, will be headed by the PP party and the way of allocating seats will be revised

The new line-up of the Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Costa del Sol Occidente (the joint public authority for the western Costa del Sol) has been agreed at last after the council elections in May.

Last Friday, the 39 representatives on the authority, from six different political parties and sent by 11 local town halls, finalised a compromise power-sharing deal. The Mancomunidad provides shared strategic services to the 11, especially water, sewerage and solid waste management.

The Partido Popular (PP), PSOE, Ciudadanos, Izquierda Unida (IU) Compromis Manilva and Ojén's Por mi Pueblo will all have some say in its running, with the PP mayor of Benahavís, José Antonio Mena, heading the whole organisation. The PP will look after beaches and environment, among other areas, as well as operations at the western Costa's public water company, Acosol, while the PSOE will head up all of Acosol, as well as Tourism and Training and other areas. IU will be responsible for solid waste management.

After protracted negotiations, three disputes among the 39 delegates have been also decided.

The party factions that were in favour of depoliticising negotiations and sharing as much as possible succeeded, winning over other elements that wanted a deal either of left-wing or right-wing parties.

Secondly, a grievance of the smaller municipalities has been resolved. Recently the system of sending representatives was changed by the PP party, that previously had contol of the Mancomunidad. Bigger municipalities, such as Marbella and Mijas have more representatives than smaller places like Casares or Ojén. This approach has been subject to an ongoing legal challenge.

It was agreed in the future the Mancomunidad will go back to the old formula of two representatives only from each of the 11 municipalities, but with each council's representatives being chosen in proportion to the votes in each municipality for each party rather than by councillors themselves.

Thirdly, there will also be a different way of allocating the authority's expenditure, including a strategic pot of money for activity benefiting all areas. The small municipality of Casares in particular has been complaining that the old funding system didn't treat it fairly as the area's solid-waste handling system is within its boundaries but serves the whole western coast.