Tuesday, 30 May 2023, 14:07
The new mayor of Benalmádena, Juan Antonio Lara, was celebrating on Monday morning after the Partido Popular achieved an absolute majority during the local election voting on Sunday, sending Socialist mayor Víctor Navas into the opposition. Lara then spoke to SUR to explain the projects he has in mind for the municipality saying he will offer solutions for the problems affecting Tivoli World, instigate a new project for the Puerto Marina; while adding that he is committed to recovering the splendour that Benalmádena once offered.
– How was election night?
–The night was very good because it was the result of a great PP team. In opposition, we have shown we have the ability to reach the residents by listening to what they ask for and by defending their interests. This has been reflected in the results. I have really enjoyed the campaign. I knew that we were going to arrive at the elections with our homework done. We have learned a lesson well: you always have to listen to your residents.
– In this success, how much is there of Juan Antonio Lara and how much of the PP?
Here we all win. Juan Antonio wins and the PP wins. We are a set. We have made history because it is the first time that the PP wins with an absolute majority and it is the first time that Benalmádena is going to have a Benalmádena mayor.
– But what do you think you have contributed, specifically?
–I have added some pluses, but I'm not going to tell you a percentage. We have shown that we are doing well at all levels, and that we have come together as a party. I am a well-known person and I have been working for our municipality for many years.
- What message has hit home the most?
–The message of closeness, simplicity and humility. Being in every corner of our municipality and transmitting that we are here to listen to the residents. I do have to emphasise that I have moved a lot on the issue of management. Management has been fundamental to me.
– Does the image of Benalmádena that has been projected to outsiders contrast with the one perceived by the residents?
-Benalmádena was not going well, although a person who came from outside could think it was. But those who vote are the local residents and not the tourists who come sporadically. Even so, the tourists who come also began to see a degraded Benalmádena. A Benalmádena in black and white, without any great ideas. Here there was a small dictatorship, because the mayor directed without taking into account the voice of the residents.
– What do you think about the single lane project for Avenida Antonio Machado?
Without counting on the opinion of the locals, he (Víctor Navas) decided to go ahead with it. We had already warned of the problems. It is one of the many things that have gone wrong. I give another example. He wanted to do works on the Malapesquera beach breakwaters and it has backfired. Now we find ourselves with the risk that one of the best beaches in Benalmádena will be full of work on the breakwaters until December.
– What model plan for the town do you perceive right now in Benalmádena?
None. The problem, precisely, is that Benalmádena was without a model plan. They bragged about having one, but there was only a failed, botched model.
– And what is the model that you envision?
–It must be based on satisfying the demands of the municipality, especially investments in car parks and for the marina. The marina concession has been precarious for a year. We have to improve on mobility and security issues. Benalmádena lacks cleanliness and green areas. There are many questions to be answered, but and Benalmádena has to recover the greatness it once had.
– Do you think that Puerto Marina can recover its former splendour?
There will be a before and after with us. We are going to obtain the concession for the renovation of the marina and, immediately afterwards, the big investments will come.
– Do you see yourself capable of offering a solution to the Tivoli amusement park?
–What has happened with Tivoli is a back and forth in which the workers have been used. All that was being done was a toast to thin air. The champagne must be brought out when there is a solution. We are going to ensure that Tivoli does not remain a lost space. We need to see what actions can be developed. It can be a shopping centre, or it can be a themed building that is linked to Tivoli, for example.
– What are the first steps you are going to take as mayor?
Working on a day-to-day basis. I will plan to improve the cleaning and maintenance of green areas. And I will also act on matters of public security. Let's go back to policing at street level.
- At a tourist level, can Benalmádena improve?
-Benalmádena has not achieved all its tourist potential. There is cultural tourism that has not been exploited. The town has Roman remains that have not been taken advantage of. The seasonal adjustment of Benalmádena is going to be a reality thanks to the PP. We do not want tourism to be just sun and sand.
– Benalmádena does not have any big music festivals. Would you like to have your own Starlite or Marenostrum?
–I do not rule out having a festival like this at all. We must recover the spirit that Tivoli offered us as the centre of entertainment on the Costa del Sol. And Benalmádena has to be that again.
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