Protesters on the beach on Sunday. / JOSELE

Almost 500 people protest the erosion of Marbella and San Pedro's beaches

Just days after another storm left a trail of damage on the coastline, residents and businesses have united to call for the speeding up of beach stabilisation plans

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS

Marbella and San Pedro business representatives and residents have taken to the sands and the streets to demand the speeding up of the stabilisation plans for the beaches on the Costa del Sol.

At 11am on Sunday, 21 November, protesters starting arriving at the La Bajadilla beach start point to visit the shoreline that was severely battered by the most recent storm just a few days before.

Almost 500 people joined the public march to La Fontanilla, seeing for themselves how the fury of the sea had washed away much of the sand during the latest episode of bad weather.

Voices heard

Twelve organisations including hoteliers, beach bar owners, local businesses, neighbourhood groups and travel agencies united in an attempt to make their voices heard.

José Luque, president of Costa del Sol hoteliers association, Aehcos, said he was very satisfied with turnout. “This protest demands that the central government speed up the regeneration of the beaches. We cannot wait until 2025 to have good beaches,” said the hotelier.

Destroyed

“We cannot wait any longer for the project to be drawn up, we need it to be done urgently. We have already seen what has happened with the latest storm that has destroyed all the beaches and the promenade," said Miguel Lima, from Espigones Emercidos. "In 1985 there was a storm very similar to this one and we had the breakwaters that served to protect the beach," he explained.

Breakwaters

José Guerrero, who was the owner of the Los Tres Pepes beach bar, until he retired, spoke in the same vein. He has lived the town since before the construction of breakwaters, and without them again after their removal. "When the breakwaters were here, in this area there was room for about 1,000 people. Now, without the protection, there is barely space for more than 500 people," he pointed out.

"The beaches are our livelihoods"

Pilar Pedrazuela, a representative of the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of Marbella, is of the same opinion. “We support the march out of necessity because the beaches are our livelihoods. Directly or indirectly, we all rely on them," she said.

Another who added his voice to the protest was renowned chef Dani García who sent a video message from Qatar, where he is currently working, calling for the return of the breakwaters and remembering what La Fontanilla beach was like when he was a child. "I want to send my support and a big hug to all those who want to return to having the beaches of my childhood," he said.

José Ravira, from the Provincial Association of Chiringuitos described the creation of breakwaters as "essential for the town" and predicted the loss of the beaches in a few years if it is not done.

The damage from the storm last week has been such that this Monday (22 November) the town mayor will sign an Emergency Decree to act "immediately" in the face of the damage. The town’s general director of beaches, Victoria Martín-Lomeña, has assessed the incidents and explained that the coastline "has suffered damage from one end to the other", and said that there had been "major losses of sand."