Bonfire Night Success

from Nickie Bayliss

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On Saturday 4th November many came out in the truly awful British weather to Crestatx to the Bar Paraiso, for an evening of fun, food and fireworks! The rain did stop in the end and we were able to have an amazing evening. Special thanks for the entertainment from the talents of Joe Sortino and the North’s very own piano man, Ben Wright (with a beautiful vocal performance from Saskia Ingrosso). I know that we all love living in Mallorca and embrace the Spanish culture, but every now and then it’s great to come together and be a little bit British.

Entry to the event was with a toothbrush, and a total of 382 were brought along with 32 tubes of toothpaste. Rachel Shuckburgh in Puerto Pollensa had also been collecting to support Anna Edward who will be volunteering later this month in Senegal with the charity “Dentistas Sobre Ruedas” Anna will have too many to fit in her suitcase on this visit but what she can’t take will be taken out with the next volunteer.

Many thanks to Cachi and Mari the owners of the bar for hosting this event, which was supported so wonderfully by the local community.

Nautical School Plans in Alcudia

The municipality of Alcúdia is to have the first professional nautical training centre, a project that will be financed by the sustainable tourism tax, with a bi-annual investment of €2.5m and a capacity for 200 students per year.

The project is the result of the collaboration of the Government Ministers of Tourism, of Education, of Workers and the municipality of Alcúdia. All agreed to emphasize the importance of strengthening vocational training and added that the nautical sector has a demand for workers. The vice president and minister for Tourism, Biel Barceló stressed that the project “fits within the objectives of the eco-tax.”

For his part, Mayor Mir said that the training of young people “is a constant concern” of the City Council and described as “right” to create a nautical training centre in Port d’Alcúdia. He also took the opportunity to announce that he will not give up on the hotel school.

Project Posidonia

Image courtesy of Rafael medina, flickr,com

The Posidonia meadows of the Bay of Pollensa are assured a brighter future after the Balearic Government and the Red Eléctrica signed their development project, named “The Marine Forest”, which will allow the recovery of two hectares of posidonia meadows They are currently in a state of degradation near Punta Avançada.

This unprecedented initiative in the Mediterranean aims to be a living laboratory for marine biologists to explore the slow-growing plant, which is so important for the ecosystem of the entire Mediterranean and whose population has decreased between 5-20% in the last century. 

The area where the posidonia plantation will be carried out will be marked to avoid anchorage and the scientists will be in charge of evaluating the survival and growth of the posidonia specimens, the recovery of the general ecosystem as well as the CO2 emissions.

For more information on Posidonia Meadows in the Balearics, see this video by Mission Blue

Frontline News in Puerto Pollensa

Nine companies located both on the island and on the peninsula have submitted their tender for the second phase of the frontline work in Puerto Pollensa. The pedestrianization project, which will conclude the work begun during the first phase, has been put out to tender for a maximum amount of €2.03m.

Unlike the bidding process for the first phase, the current government team ‘pollencí’ (Junts Avança and UMP) are aiming to assume absolute control of the works, exercising project management, so they can “avoid the problems” that arose after the tender of the first phase, carried out in the last legislature and executed during the winter 2015-1016, by a construction company that was “chosen by simple auction” and that “caused many problems during the development of the works”. 

The second phase of the project will consist of paving part of the road to allow pedestrian use, improving the pavement and wall that separates the beach from the promenade, separating the bicycle lane and installing new garden areas and furniture.

Lluc-Pollensa Walk Opened

The Consell de Mallorca has finally reopened the path along the Ca na Borrassa estate in Pollensa. For years this 87m-long path meant that the old road between Lluc and Pollensa was impossible to pass. The route is recognized by the Consell as a public path and in March 2012 it was agreed they would recover the original route.

In July, the Consell installed temporary barriers while the Ca na Borrassa estate was secured. They had to break the locks of the property that prevented the free passage by Ca na Borrassa, property of the family of the ex-mayor and current leader of the opposition, Tomeu Cifre Ochogavía.

For the last 6 weeks the farm has remained closed while work was carried out to protect the livestock on the estate. Last week access was finally opened and signposts identifying the Dry Stone Walk to which this ancient road belongs have been placed. President of the Consell de Mallorca, Miquel Ensenyat told press it was a “day to be happy” for the reopening of a public road. “After ten years we return the Mallorquins a part of their own heritage,” he said.

One Voice Post-Brexit

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A recent article from the Citizens Advice Spain came with a call to action. While the EU and the UK are negotiating residency rights, the organization has been trying to strike some dialogue with no response from the British side. In contrast, the Citizens Advice Spain does have contact with the Brexit negotiating team in Brussels who have responded to all their emails.

Concerns are with the principle of reciprocity and the insistence from the UK that EU nationals have to apply for ‘settled status’. We would be obliged to do this in Spain even though we have premanent residence status after 5 years, or 3 if we work here. Citizens Advice Spain is sending an open letter to let our voices be heard on the matter.

Remainer or Brexiteer alike, it’s important we have a voice and while the small team at Citizens Advice Spain “work daily with the Spanish Royal Decrees and European Directives… if anyone has the finger on the pulse on how residency, healthcare, pensions and all the other aspects of UK nationals living in Spain it is [them]."

To add your name to the letter see the recent news article on citizensadvice.org.es. or click here.

Local News (7th September 2017 issue)

Local News (7th September 2017 issue)

The local news this week includes the Budget Law that Alcudia is tussling with and how they want to go forwards and the terrace rules recent happenings in Puerto Pollensa at Bar Bonys. A lot was said at the time, we got the facts. 

Read More

Tourism Woes Post Barcelona

image courtesy of Anders Fagerjord, Flickr.com

image courtesy of Anders Fagerjord, Flickr.com

European travel agents, operators and tour groups have received requests from British, German and Scandinavian families to cancel their holiday in Spain, including the Balearics, for this second fortnight of August and September for safety reasons.

On Monday, a Government Delegation confirmed that “we are in a situation of maximum alert, following the recommendations of the committee of experts in the matter against the terrorism.”

The same sources pointed out that instructions had been given for the National Police and the Guardia Civil to be in contact with the local police of the main tourist halls of the Islands: “The objective is that there be collaboration between police forces and administrations, to determine the possible reinforcements that should be adopted to maximize security. The measures are being applied within the current policy to prevent terrorist attacks throughout the country. The measure is in place in Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The same is happening in the rest of Spanish tourist resorts.”

Politcal Party, the UMP (Unió Mollera Pollencina) used the news to urge the town to rectify all the problems we have crossed this summer. From a housing shortage to road access to popular sites, from excessive consumption of natural resources toabuse of protected areas.  “All that must now be added to the fear of our shores being the target of the soulless terrorists. That last factor, the fear, we have not provoked, but we are responsible for the rest. Now it’s time to rectify.”

Plastic Presence

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The Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) is in the middle of a campaign to assess the level of cleanliness of the waters of Mallorca. Their initial conclusion: plastic invades everything; “none of the coastal areas sampled is free of the presence of macro and microplastics.”

The IEO will take samples until the end of September from seven areas of Mallorca: Sóller, Palma, Andratx, Colònia de Sant Jordi, Can Picafort, Cala Rajada and Cala d’Or, areas selected due to the accumulation and persistence of the macroplastics and other marine litter. 

Microplastics come from fishing materials and threads, while granular and fragmented plastics are broken up from larger plastics. Researchers are concerned about the massive presence of plastics and its damaging effect on the marine ecosystem. Recent studies show that the concentration of microplastics in the Mediterranean means they become integrated in the food chain of the fish, which also become entangled in them. 

The plastics found on the Mallorcan coast prompted a visit from the Greenpeace flagship ‘Rainbow Warrior’. The NGO warned at the time, “Scientific studies show that the areas with the highest concentrations of plastic are located on the north coast of the islands, due to the dynamics of the sea currents. In the north of Mallorca and Ibiza there are points with a concentration of more than one million plastic fragments per square kilometre”. 

The results of this long-term study will be available from September.

Archaeology Course in Alcudia

At the Casal de Can Doménech, diplomas were awarded to students who completed the latest archaeology course during the month of July at Pol.lèntia. It marked the end of the course, but also the completion of work by volunteers, local collaborators, and students and archaeologists from the University of Portland. The 110 participants in the 2017 excavation campaign were acknowledged as well as local companies that helped with the organization and logistics of the students’ stay.
At the end of last month, a hundred people attended the Open Day at the site during the Fiesta of Sant Jaume, who were given a guided tour of the work carried out this summer. On July 20 Students of the Arqueospain programme were awarded their diplomas.

Pol.lentia 2017

This year the course focused on the residential neighborhood of Sa Portella, the forum and the necropolis. In each area, discoveries will help lead to a greater understanding of the history and evolution of the Roman city. 

The geophysical surveys that began two years ago, will continue and allow further study into the perimeter of the city. In fact, this year the team of archaeologists has started a new study to clarify whether there was a pre-existing military camp. This study will continue in the coming years and could solve the historical problem of dating the ancient city. Written sources mark as the founding date of Pol·lèntia in 123 BC, while the archaeological remains date back to 70 BC at most.