At least one beach on the Costa Blanca has been shut after a Portuguese Man O War was
found on the shores. Altea banned bathers until the waters could be deemed safe, and the
poisonous species have also been seen on the Levante and Mal Pas beaches in
neighbouring Benidorm, as they were earlier in the month.
Although it looks – and stings – like a jellyfish, the Portuguese Man O'War is in fact a
different species altogether, a marine hydrozoan from the Physaliidae family normally
found in the Pacific, Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, but not normally in the
Mediterranean. Given their very close similarity, the Portuguese Man O'War, or Physalia
Physalis, is often referred to as a 'false jellyfish'.
Its stings are extremely painful and poisonous, and in some very rare cases, have proven
As yet, Altea's environmental councillor Bea Nomdedeu says no reports have been
received of members of the public being stung, and the coastguard service has not
mentioned sightings for a day or two.
But the beach remains shut and will stay that way until at least the start of this week, in
case they come back, or longer if they are spotted again.
Lifeguards on the two aforementioned Benidorm beaches worked round the clock for two
days about a fortnight ago clearing up these perilous creatures. They fished out 14 of
Volunteers and beneficiaries of Age Concern recently enjoyed a coach trip to
Mazarron Port. The weather was perfect with lots of sun and a cool breeze
coming off the sea. Mazarron is an attractive port and it was perfect for them
to take a stroll along its quayside. The stroll was followed by a break for coffee
and a cool drink before returning to the coach for a trip around the town of
The coach then headed to Camposol and its surrounding area and the tour
finished with a meal at Camposol Golf Club where the group were made very
welcome by the staff. After a long and leisurely lunch they boarded the coach
and headed back towards La Siesta.
Age Concern regularly organise day trips with their members in mind. If you
like the sound of this trip, are over fifty and would like to join in with their next
one, then you can register your interest at their centre in Calle Paganini, La
Siesta. The centre is open every morning between 10am and 1.30pm and you
can find out more about the services, facilities and trips that are available.
Age Concern organise a number of events and activities as well as providing
information on welfare support and mobility aids. The only criteria is that you
must be over the age of 50. They welcome you to come and see how you
might benefit from the services they provide, even if you’re not quite ready to
use them yet.
If you think you might be able to volunteer to help with the organisation, then
you’re also very welcome too. Age Concern are a highly respected charity
who value their volunteers and are always looking for new recruits to join
them. If you think you might be interested please drop into Calle Paganini.
Around 200 workers protested in front of the Town Hall in Playa Flamenca recently in
response to the early closure of the beach bars and the facilities they provided to the local
community and holidaymakers. The demonstrators called for the immediate restoration of
jobs on the beaches and the resumption of the beach services until the new contract for
services is awarded.
The workers feel they are being punished due to the ‘evident mismanagement by the
Orihuela town council which was caused by a misinterpretation of the contract for the
concession of beach services in Orihuela Costa’.
On the placards they carried the workers claim they are the solution to the provision of
the services on the beach of Orihuela – which includes: beach bars, toilets, umbrella and
sunbeds, recreational and nautical activities – because they want to work and provide
these services for people.
In a statement issued by the local workers group said: “The absence of these services is
causing significant damage for residents, tourists and businessmen in the area, apart from
bringing about the loss of more than 100 jobs that were covered by the concessionaire
“In addition, the decision taken by the town council endangers the launching of such
services on the beaches of Orihuela cost in the summer of 2018, since the time required
by the new award process leaves the new awarded company without enough time to
develop the service. Consequently, this will generate a huge financial loss for the town and
it would be a serious blow for tourism, which is the economic engine of the area.”
The protest came hot on the heels of a press conference held in Orihuela City where
Councillor Luisa Bone announced that there is still no certainty that the beach bars and
services will be in place for Summer 2018. The councillor said that Orihuela Council
approved the specifications for the seasonal beach services contract, which includes the
The councillor alongside her colleague Francisco Sáez explained that the specifications
include the beach bars, sunshades, hammocks, pedalos, water sport boards and jet skis.
This new contract increases the amount the company must pay the Town Hall from
€300,000 to €500,000 per year and it has a duration of four years, and can be extended by
They explained the municipal secretary ruled it did not qualify to be considered urgent
because the change of contract was foreseeable, so the Town Hall could not give a day
when the beach services might reopen, “because it depends on the process and the
companies that make offers”, said Boné, although they hope it will all be ready for the
She noted the design for the beach bars, toilets and pergolas will be similar to the lifeguard
huts “to improve the image of the beaches and homogenise all the installations”.
These will not be ready until 2019 so for the 2018 season the winning company can use
whatever they propose as long as the Town Hall approves.
The specifications require 11 beach bars and 9 toilets each with men’s, women’s and
disabled rooms. There will also have to be another 9 disabled toilets on the Blue Flag
Each beach bar must have a defibrillator and the workers must be trained to use them. Boné
explained the space allowed for sunshades and hammocks at Cala Bosque (La Zenia) will be
reduced from 800m2 to 520m2.
Sáez said that from Friday companies had been given 20 days to present their offers and
then the evaluation can begin. He also said three municipal technicians will supervise the
contract, the finalisation date is December 31st 2021, and 55 percent of the evaluation
criteria are objective and 45 percent subjective. Finally he thanked the technicians “for
working so quickly to get the specifications ready in record time”.
The Municipal Department of Beaches, which is headed by Councillor Luisa Boné, has
carried out the refurbishment of the viewpoint on the promenade of Punta Prima.
The viewpoint on the seafront was in a very bad condition. The sidewalk was damaged with
numerous loose stone slabs and the pergola had only half of the prefabricated beams, as
they deteriorated steadily due to years of wear and tear. The balustrade had numerous
The city councillor said: “We from the Municipal Department of Beaches felt it necessary to
renovate this viewpoint, because it was possible to turn it into one of the most beautiful
enclaves of our coast, where we can sit down and enjoy the wonderful view."
"The work consisted of the demolition of the old structure, the preparation of the soil and
the construction of a 24-metre- long and 4-metre- wide pergola made of white wood, the
cover of which consists of planks which are separated from each other and so allow for a
She added that the beams and planks along the pergola were placed in such a way as to
create the optical effect of a wave, ideal for the enclave in which the pergola is located. And
a railing was installed with the same planks from which the pergola was built to add
symmetry and better aesthetics. The stone floor was replaced by a wooden grey floor that
matches the colour of the pillars. Four grey wooden benches in a modern style complete the
viewpoint and give it the pleasing look that the government team wanted to achieve.
The city councillor for beaches pointed out that the cost of renewing the viewpoint at Punta
Prima is equivalent to an investment of €37,458 including VAT and added that the Municipal
Department of Beaches will continue to slowly improve all the facilities that are located on
the beach or in the immediate vicinity.
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.
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
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
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.
The Councillor for the Beaches of Orihuela, Luisa Boné, has announced that the city has
purchased various types of walkway for the local beaches this season. The Municipal
Department of Beaches has signed a contract for delivery, both for non-rollable non-slip
double-width beach walkways, and for roll-up beach walkways.
The Councillor reported that "both types are autoclaved to withstand climatic weathering,
which is fundamental to their durability". She added that "these 2.40 cm wide beach
walkways will be installed in the areas that run between the beach promenade and the
relaxation area. They are particularly useful for people with reduced mobility as they help to
facilitate access to the beach.
In addition, these beach walkways with their blue-painted edges are easier to spot for
people with visual impairment and so meet one of the requirements set out in the Forum on
On the other hand, the roll-up beach walkways will be added to the final sections of the
non-rollable beach walkways to connect the dry sand area with the wet sand and so
improve accessibility for those who wish to swim or paddle.
The new beach walkways are being installed in the four main beaches, which already have
bathing areas for the disabled. These are the beaches of: Cala Bosque, Cala Capitán, La Glea
and Barranco Rubio. Over time, these new beach walkways models will be installed at other
beaches across Orihuela. The sum of this investment amounts to 27.094,32 €.
Councillor Fanny Serrano has an unfortunate name for her current position as
councillor for planning. In the Spanish press much has been made of the
resemblance of her surname ‘Serrano’ to ‘cerrado’ which means ‘closed’.
Councillor Serrano has got a reputation during her two years in office for
closing a number of public buildings and bars, restaurants and clubs.
The latest closures have been three beach bars in Punta Prima, an action that
has been noted by many people who enjoyed using the facilities during the
summer season. The question they have raised is – why now?
The majority of the premises being closed never had an opening licence in the
first place. Before any building is open to the public for trading, it must have
been checked and approved for use for a specified purpose. However, a
number of buildings in Torrevieja do not appear to have had this piece of
paper work in place but have been continuing to trade for a number of years.
Two of the beach bars that were recently closed had been trading since 2012
and one of them since 2007. They had also been paying to use a terraced
area without a closure order being put into place. For those who have enjoyed
the use of these facilities it now seems absurd to say that they must close
when they are part of the local landscape.
However, the opening licences are there for a reason. The council do make
money out of them and they are not cheap, but they are also a way of
checking that the correct facilities are in place and that the premises are fit to
use. Questions are now being asked about why so many buildings and
businesses have been allowed to continue to provide services for the public
There are allegations that people in office did know that licences were missing
but turned a blind eye to this. It is also argued that with the number of
businesses operating in a town like Torrevieja, it is very difficult to keep a
check on what’s on the right side of the law and what isn’t.
To keep regular checks on all the catering and business premises would
require a large administration backed up by police officers with the time to do
it. Without these it is difficult for the town to have systematic inspection in
Perhaps what upsets people most about this subject is that some places are
still ‘getting away with it’ whist others are not. The beach bar owners are one
example of people who feel that one law is being applied to them but not to
others. What is more likely is that the town hall simply hasn’t got round to
checking up on everyone and, given the size of the task, are unlikely to do so
any time soon.
In the meantime, the question might be asked – what should be done? Should
we continue to turn a blind eye and circumvent requirements or enforce them
Perhaps what most people would like to see is a middle ground between the
two that allows businesses time to bring themselves into line without
necessarily imposing the hefty fines that can result. However, where laws are
in statute it can be difficult to apply ‘special considerations’ without breaking
In the meantime, the beach bars will be missed and those who usually
frequent them would perhaps have preferred that the town hall had targeted
somewhere else. Now, we wait with interest to see what Councillor Serrano
will close next.
It is a huge responsibility being a lifeguard on the beaches of Torrevieja in the
summer. Every year there are fatalities and anyone who has watched them
supervising bathers and swimmers must wonder what would happen if they
had a call out.
Those out on the beach of Los Náufragos on the 12 th July had a chance to
see. The councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, went to Los Náufragos
beach to watch the second simulation of the lifeguard service. The rehearsal
was intended to check the efficiency of the procedure to be put into place if a
bather needs rescuing.
The lifeguards were called to attend to someone who had suffered a heart
attack whilst in the water, 100 metres from the shore where the rocks are.
This presented as a difficult area to access for the lifeguards and was chosen
to test their ability to retrieve a person. The person was placed on a jet ski
with a built-in stretcher and taken back to the beach.
On arrival back at shore, the lifeguards had to perform resuscitation using a
defibrillator until the ambulance arrived and were able to take over. After the
‘victim’ was stabilised he was taken to hospital in the ambulance.
‘Last year was the first year that there was an official contract with a lifeguard
service,’ explained the councillor. ‘The company Unión Temporal de
Empresas are providing this service which can continue until 2022. One of the
stipulations of the contract was that there should be on going training of the
life savers and others who are responsible for bathers’ safety.
It is important that there are rehearsals which allow a very accurate trial of
what would happen if this situation did take place. We want to be sure that we
can guarantee that the fifty people engaged in this service are as prepared as
they can be to provide assistance across our beaches from La Mata to Punta
Beach access for all
Access to the sea for the disabled
Los Náufragos, Los Locos and El Cura beaches will in future have platforms from which the disabled will be able to enter the water. Torrevieja town hall is keen to make its beaches disabled friendly and now has received the go ahead from the Valencian government to install a platform that will extend into the water and enable people using wheelchairs to enter the water. The new structures will be installed in the coming weeks and will remain in place throughout the year.
Councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, explained that the footbridges will be positioned next to the lifeguard stations on the three beaches. It is anticipated that the new structures will be ready to use by Easter. It was decided to install them now to prevent any difficulties in the assembly task during the run up to the summer season.
The platforms are not permanent structures and can be dismantled, but it is expected that they can continue to be used for the next four years. They have been tested for strength using heavy vehicles to make sure they will not break when cleaning trucks travel over them. Over the first year the company installing them will help to maintain them and later it is expected that whoever is successful in winning the contract to keep the beaches clean will be responsible for their maintenance too.