Category: Local

‘La Ballena’ bites the dust

It’s been a monstrosity for some time now. The building, known locally as ‘La
Ballena’ or the whale, has finally been demolished. It has been a long process
to bring down this abandoned and dilapidated block with its town centre
location. The need for caution in the demolition process has been part of the
It has taken four months of work from a specialist company to make sure that
this five storey building was finally laid to rest. It has been abandoned since
2006 when those living in it had an eviction order placed on them due to the
precarious condition of the building. From then until 2011, efforts have been
made to ensure that the 29 different owners either put forward a renovation
project or had the building demolished.
However, as this was never achieved the local government began the process
on its own and accepted that it would also have to pay the bill along with it.
The building may now be down but the job isn’t quite complete. Anyone
passing by the site will notice the tonnes of rubble that are still there and will
need to be removed. Dividing walls will also need to be secured and a new
fence erected. All this work is already included in the price of the contract.
It has been a difficult operation for the demolition company who had to
complete the work by hand to avoid the structure collapsing. There was also a
hold up when Iberdrola had to come and disconnect the electricity. The fact
that this has also taken place during the holiday season has not helped
However, for those neighbours who have lived with vandalism, infestations of
mice and a colony of cats over the years, the removal of this eyesore will be
very welcome. The town hall has had to foot the cost of the demolition ata
cost of €230,000. They will attempt to pass on some of this to the owners,
whoinclude some banksas well also second-home owners. However, it is
unlikely that they will have much luck with this and are likely to remain out of

Hundreds search for missing boy

Some 1,000 police officers, firefighters and volunteers searched on Saturday for an eight-
year-old boy whose disappearance four days previously in Almeria has gripped the country.
Gabriel Cruz was at his grandmother's home in the small village of Las Hortichuelas when he
left to go play at a friend's house nearby last Tuesday afternoon. He has not been seen
His relatives alerted police who published a missing person's alert with a photo of the
smiling boy, which went viral in Spain via mobile messaging services and social media.
Since then, police and volunteers have been combing the countryside in the area on foot
and on horseback, using helicopters and drones to try and locate him. Interior Minister Juan
Ignacio Zoido said police were also searching waters off the coast nearby.
Cruz's parents have given several tearful interviews to Spanish media, saying he knew the
area well and could not have got lost.
“We hope we will get Gabriel back soon and that he will return home with his family, which
is where a boy who is only eight should be," his father Angel Cruz told reporters at a press
conference, before breaking down in tears.
In a twist on Friday, it emerged that a man had been detained this week for stalking
Gabriel's mother Patricia Ramirez, though authorities stressed he was not held in
connection with the disappearance of her son.
The man, named as Diego Miguel, had become "obsessed" with Ramirez and in 2016 was
ordered by a judge to stay away from her and given a three-month suspended jail sentence.
However, he broke this order several times, including in the hours when Gabriel
disappeared, and was detained for this reason authorities said. Police said they are
investigating the circumstances, but Angel Cruz stressed Saturday he believed the man had
nothing to do with his son's disappearance.
Latest development
A child’s vest was found in the rural area near Níjar where Gabriel disappeared. His father
identified the item of clothing as being his son's, and on Monday the Guardia Civil carried
out DNA tests which confirmed that the garment was indeed Gabriel’s.
They say the report of the clothing Gabriel was wearing when he vanished – a red jacket
and black Adidas tracksuit bottoms – did not mention a vest, although as it is an
undergarment, it may have been forgotten.
The search has now become more 'selective', say inspectors, who have cordoned off the
area around the reservoir pools and water treatment plant in the Las Negras sewage
works close to the footpath which leads to the San Pedro bay.
This time, the search continued in the dark, and detectives were out all night trying to find
the little boy.
They are accompanied by the now-famous 12-year- old Belgian Shepherd Elton, one of the
Guardia Civil's 550 sniffer dogs, who was key in helping to find the body of Madrid sixth-
former Diana Quer on New Year's Eve in a disused warehouse in Galicia, where she had
been dumped after being raped and murdered 16 months earlier.

Habaneras is 13

To mark their thirteenth birthday, Habaneras is offering its customers chance
to win one of 13 prizes. They will hide 13 unusual ‘cats’ around Torrevieja
which will appear each day between 1 st to 13 th March. If you are one of the
lucky people to find one then you should bring it to Habaneras and claim your
On the 17 th March there will be a grand prize draw at the centre when the
winners of the 13 raffle prizes will be announced. Prizes include tickets for the
musical Tadeo Jones, a getaway for two and many gifts from their stores. This
will be accompanied by a matsuri-style cocktail party with an opportunity to
taste sushi and other Japanese delicacies. You can even try some ‘golden’
The birthday of Torrevieja’s commercial centre comes at a difficult time. With
the new Sunday trading hours commercial centres like Habaneras will find
themselves losing out. A particular concern is that the restaurants and cafes
that are based in their facilities will not attract customers on their own.
Although they are not obliged to close during the Sunday shut downs, there
will be few people in the centres to use them.
In order to still keep people coming when shops are no longer trading,
Habaneras is advertising ‘Family Sundays’. The shops may be closed but
there will be a range of fun family activities to take their place. The activities
include recycling workshops, a city vegetable garden from 12pm until 3pm
and games, competitions and crafts for children.
From 4.30pm until 8.30pm there will be a free zip wire and salsa and bachata
dance classes from 5pm until 6pm on Sundays. From 12pm until 6pm there
will be a free nanny service with professional childcare for children and
toddlers for those wanting to take part in these activities. Through adopting
these measures the centre hopes to keep people coming to its shops, cafes
and restaurants.

Goodbye and thanks to the Flower Club

Torrevieja Flower Club has been a very popular local club, operating in the
townfor the past thirty years. The organisers have arranged floral
demonstrations and coach outings at regular intervals and it has been a major
fund raising organisation, not only to keep themselves going but to donate to
worthwhile causes.
Most recently the club presented a cheque to Councillor Carmen Morate of
€1,500 to benefit the organisation Animalistas Torrevieja which helps provide
care for the lost and found animals in Torrevieja. Animalistas Torrevieja were
founded in 2012 and volunteers help at the animal shelter and in other ways,
supporting the welfare of animals. They assist with the adoption of animals,
the castration of cats programme, animal foster homes and help the animals
to socialise.
A cheque was also presented to the Stroke Support group. The group are
based in La Siesta and has offered support since 2007 to those people who
have suffered from or are supporting someone who has had a stroke. They
help provide advice and assistance with the rehabilitation process and help
with the purchase of wheelchairs and orthopaedic beds. Sandra Lambe is the
chair lady of the Flower Club. She is particularly appreciative of what they
have done in supporting her son who had five small strokes in two months
when he was in Torrevieja.
Unfortunately, it now looks as though these may well be the last donations
that the club is able to give.
A loss to the local area
Torrevieja’s Flower Club was started thirty years ago by Margaret Atherton
and Alma Villiers. Over this time it has brought a lot of pleasure to those
attending the regular flower demonstrations from September to May.
However, unfortunately, the club is now having to close. As its members have
got older, the number taking part has reduced and some of them have
decided to return to the UK as a result of the uncertainty of Brexit.
As a result, the committee has found it more difficult to recruit and it’s not an
easy job to make sure that the club continues to be a success. There is a lot
of hard work and fundraising involved including supporting and entertaining
the flower demonstrators who must be brought over from the UK and are
accommodated during their stay.
Sandra Lambe joined the Torrevieja flower club 25 years ago and has been
the chair lady over the past 12 years. She is sad to see the club fold but no
one has been prepared to step into her boots. She has decided to step down
in order to spend more time with her husband who has suffered from ill health.
‘I do hope that someone will in the future start the club again,’ says Sandra. ‘It
is a shame that the club has had to close.’ She hopes that there will still be
opportunities to enjoy floral demonstrations, however. ‘There is a floral club in
Moraira so I will get a coach organised for their demonstrations now and
On behalf of its readers, Costa Blanca People would like to thank the Flower
Club for the enjoyment it has brought its members and the donations it has
made to the town.

Corvera airport to open in December

Murcia’s new airport will be ready for commercial flights to operate from this December,
although its actual launch date will depend upon when the various airlines running from it
are ready to start.
Chairman of airports governing body AENA, Jaime García-Legaz, says the process of
checking and signing off the various parts of the future Juan de la Cierva terminal for
health, safety and completion will take several months, having started around a week ago.
The next step will be drumming up interest from airlines.
This new terminal, in the village of Corvera near to Murcia city, will replace the existing
terminal in San Javier airport, and will be further away from Orihuela Costa and the
surrounding areas for locals to travel to, making Alicante the closest airport.
Corvera airport will not start to operate until the last plane has flown out of San Javier,
García-Legaz confirmed. The airports will not overlap. He also sought to reassure staff at
San Javier that their jobs were safe, as they would continue in their roles but at the new
terminal in Corvera. In fact, García-Legaz explained that the new airport is much larger and
will create even more jobs than San Javier, especially as it will be open and running
'morning, afternoon and evening, 365 days a year', and will not have to share its space
with military aircraft, as is currently the case at San Javier.
Regional government president Fernando López Miras says the Corvera terminal will
create 500 directly-linked new jobs and another 4,000 indirect positions for every million
passengers who fly into or out of Murcia.
Initial forecasts suggest Corvera airport will transport around four million passengers
annually, helping to give the region's economy and tourism industry a huge boost.
The new terminal will be named Juan de la Cierva airport after the Murcia-born engineer
who invented the gyroplane, or autogyro, which first took off 95 years ago last month, in
February 1923.
García-Legaz believes that Murcia's new airport will rival that of Alicante, just 80
kilometres north in the next province – a major international terminal which serves the
Costa Blanca holiday belt and the whole of the province of Alicante and part of that of

A new beginning for the Royal British Legion Concert Band Spain

One of the Costa Blanca’s favourite band’s has decided to change its name and reform as the Royal
British Legion Concert Band Spain.
The original band was formed in 1993 when seven musicians from various musical backgrounds
came together and formed The Oompah band. With no other bands in the region they were in great
demand so the Oompah Band formed two additional bands, The Vega Baja Big Band and the Phoenix
Concert Band.
Since those days, the band has played at hundreds of events around the Costa Blanca. It has also
seen the arrival of their new Musical Director, David Last.
David has vast experience of the music world, including service with the Queens Own Buffs and at
the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall. He was also the principle at the Lyceum School of
Music in Manchester, he had his own youth band and for a time he was also a woodwind player with
the Territorial Army Band of the Royal Artillery.
Following the arrival of the new MD, many of the band members felt that a new stimulus was
needed for the band, so after consultation with senior members of the Royal British Legion, the
decision was taken by the band to reform under their new name.
However the transition is not quite complete as the MD is determined to provide the band with a
completely new image as they join the long list of bands that are currently affiliated to the Military
Charity. He is now in the process of having formal jackets tailored for every member of the new
band, together, of course, with new banners for their music stands.
It is hoped that the costs of the new clothing and equipment will be covered by sponsorship and
donations from local businesses. Already, two pledges of 500 euro each have been made by 'IBEX
Insurance' and by the UK company 'Surface Protection'. More funds are still needed though to cover
the remaining costs, so the RBL are now seeking any company or business that might like to help
with those costs. Additional information can be obtained by email at:
We do know that the music of the RBL Concert Band Spain will be wide and varied, ranging from
swing, through classical to musicals.
Since their new launch, the Royal British Legion Concert Band Spain continue to rehearse every
Tuesday 1.30pm – 4.30pm at the Municipal Library in San Miguel de Salinas.
Currently there are a number of vacancies in the band for musicians of all nationalities and in all
For more information please call David Last on 638 10 80 78 or Gloria on 679 576 591

Body found at Cala Mosca

The Maritime Service of the Guardia Civil has this evening recovered the lifeless body of a man found floating in the rocky area of Cala La Mosca, on the north coast of Orihuela Costa. The body was discovered shortly after two o’clock in the afternoon today (Monday). Local Police and Guardia Civil were deployed to the area immediately, once they received the call.
Initially, the fire service was also mobilized. The cliff terrain where the body was found is very steep, and the body appeared to have become trapped between the rocks. The difficulty prompted the Guardia Civil call on the Special Subaquatic Unit (GEAS).
With the various emergency services working in tandem, it was a patrol boat from the Maritime Service of the Guardia Civil that finally managed to recover the corpse just after 6pm local time.
The body, that of a middle-aged man, was brought to the marina of Cabo Roig.
The Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil have very little information yet and are investigating matters to identify the corpse and clarify the cause of death.

3.6 metre shark found in Santa Pola

Passersby were astounded when a huge 200 kilo shark was pulled from the waters of Levante Beach at Santa Pola. The body of the already dead shark was moved towards the shore by Urbaser workers and was then removed from the water using a powerful crane.
The shark was spotted for the first time on Wednesday evening near the shoreline, but it was not until Thursday that the Policia Local got in touch with Urbaser and organised for several workers to meet at the beach to begin the process of removing the shark from the water.
With the help of a small motorboat the body was nudged towards the shore and a crane was then used to take it out of the water. The remains of the animal are believed to be still at the Urbaser facility as details are being finalised to transfer it to the Coastal Ecology Institute of the Generalitat Valenciana.
The exact species of the shark is yet to be confirmed.

RBL immortalise Capilla de las Mil Palmeras in oil

Ignacio Ramos, the mayor of Pilar de la Horadada, was the guest of honour at last Thursday’s
meeting of the Royal British Legion held in Mil Palmeras.
The mayor was accompanied by Pilar Maria Samper, the councillor for Tourism and Commerce in the
town, where he was presented by an oil painting of the local Catholic Church, La Capilla de las Mil
Palmeras, by the President of the Orihuela Costa and District Branch, Pastor Keith Brown.
A decision to make a suitable presentation to the town was made in appreciation of the outstanding
support provided to the Branch in all of the ten years since it was first formed.
In that time the one constant factor has been the use for its Remembrance Services of La Capilla de
las Mil Palmeras so it was thought that an oil painting of the church might be an appropriate gift.
The project was discussed at a chance meeting with well-known local artist and RBL supporter
Suzanne Stokes, and with the assistance of her photographer husband, David, a number of suitable
images of the church were captured and the venture was underway.
When Suzanne spoke to the Branch President after the presentation she admitted at just how
nervous she had been on accepting the commission. “Being an artist who specialises on the human
form I was extremely worried that I might not be able to do the building justice. It is a beautiful
church and there were lots of elaborate shadows and reflected light that I had to consider, but on
seeing the reaction of the mayor and the branch members to the painting I am absolutely delighted
at how it turned out.”
In thanking the branch members Mayor Ignacio Ramos was clearly delighted by the gesture. He
spoke of his appreciation of the RBL, the good work that they do and the importance of the role that
they play in the local community. He talked of the two world wars, the awful losses that had been
suffered across Europe, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world by all nations, and the
importance in ensuring that it must not happen again.
As he addressed the branch the mayor became quite emotional. He said how deeply moved he was
by the presentation, the kind words from members and the genuine affection that he felt from
within the room as the presentation was made.
Following the departure of the mayor Pastor Keith welcomed Sheila Chinnock to the front of the
room. He explained how, in recent years, Sheila had donated numerous paintings to local charities
on the Costa Blanca, and last year how she had combine her two hobbies to create a poppy calendar
in order to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.
The calendar features some of Sheila’s most popular poppy paintings, including the one that was
commissioned by Stevie Spit for his Royal British Legion and AECC fundraiser at Benidorm Palace.
As a result of her endeavours Sheila was able to present the proceeds from the sales, almost 250
euro, to the RBL Poppy Appeal Organiser, Eddie Coleman.
Sheila said: “If my paintings and this calendar can make someone happy by raising a smile and
helping someone in need by raising a euro, then they will have done everything I hoped.”

Orihuela Costa Sports Centre hosts Goalkeeper Clinic

The official sports centre for the coast, CDM Orihuela Costa, in collaboration with the Club Deportivo
Rayo Orihuela is to hold its second annual Performance Clinic for Goalkeepers, which will take place
on 3rd, 4th and 5th April, from 10:30am to 1:30pm.
The aim of the Clinic is to develop and evolve all the technical-tactical and psychological aspects of
the specific position of goalkeeper. Those taking part will experience high performance exercises,
activities in the indoor pool and workshop talks with video analysis of actual performances on the
The during the last day of the course the "Batalla Final de Porteros" match will be held which will
consist of a “play off” between two goalkeepers in a playing field of reduced dimensions with two
The Clinic is aimed at children aged between 7 and 19 years of age and the sessions will be directed
by qualified coaches, with extensive experience and will be conducted in both Spanish and English,
and is aimed at all goalkeepers at all levels. Participants will be provided with fruit, water and
isotonic drink in addition to receiving a gift t-shirt.
Registration is open from Monday, 12 th February until Monday, 2 nd April. There will also be planned
discounts for students already enrolled in the sports schools of the CDM in the 2017-2018 season.
Those interested in participating can enrol for registration at the reception of the Sports Centre or by
calling 965 503 915, sending a WhatsApp message to 661 796 798 or sending an email to:

More skyscrapers on the horizon

An application has been made to build four tower blocks of up to 29 storeys in
la cala del Palangre between el Cura beach and Los Locos. This follows on
from the application to build Baraka towers next to Doña Sinforosa park close
to Acequión beach. The new application for Don Sento Towers has been put
forward by the firm Metrovacesa who are originally from Elche and have a
long history of this kind of building work in Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa and
Santa Pola.
The applications are taking advantage of modifications in planning laws that
were agreed a decade ago by the PP but were opposed by the councillors
who are currently leading the town council. Permission to build comes with the
requirement that at least half of the accommodation is intended for hotel use.
The plans are very much in the early stages and studies must be done
spanning different departments and including what the environmental impact
might be. The company interested in the building work has not yet set any
date for when they might begin because of the time it can take to get the
necessary permission.
The planned buildings are not without controversy. Both that of Baraka and
Metrovacesa are planned in parts of the town where they will have a very high
profile and could impact upon areas of interest such as the Acequión salt
works and the beaches. They will also break the skyscraper limit of six floors
that is largely in place in these areas currently.
Members of the present local council, including those from Los Verdes and
IU, have opposed such building previously. However, the agreement that this
land could be used was made many years ago and Councillor Fanny Serrano
has explained that the agreement cannot be reversed.