Cala Mosca under threat
Coast's last undeveloped stretch threatened
The launching of a new public consultation procedure by the Orihuela Town Hall on the project to build 1,500 new houses on Cala Mosca, the last strip of unspoilt natural land on the 16 kilometre Orihuela coast with views of the sea, presents a new and serious threat to this emblematic area.
The consultation procedure on the revised project was announced just before Christmas and allows only until the end of January for comments and objections. There is an abundance of detailed material on the Town Hall website but it is badly presented, several of the items are empty of content or difficult to open. All this suggests that the aim is to rush through a procedure which will enable the developer to request the Valencia government for the final go ahead.
At first sight the revised project is not modified in any significant way. It provides additional protection for the two endangered species present on Cala Mosca but it is not reduced in scope or area and remains, as originally proposed, a project to build 1,500 new houses. If it goes forward, not only does this spoil the last green area and open space on Orihuela Costa; it will add significantly to the existing stock of some 50,000 properties and potentially another 5,000 new inhabitants to the Orihuela Costa population of 30,000 on the assumption of an average of three per house. This will significantly increase the income of Orihuela Town Hall with taxes on new built properties and rates but unfortunately local political parties believe that this additional revenue will not be used to provide the extra services and facilities which will be needed to cater for this population increase. They believe that it will be used by the Town Hall to benefit those living in the city and surrounding villages as it is these residents who provide the Orihuela political parties with votes in local elections. Those living on the coast and already experience deficient services and an environment scarred by neglected parks and green areas, and will now bear the brunt of the burden of this extra population.
Coastal political party CLARO, which has campaigned for years to save Cala Mosca, is concerned at this latest development and is joining forces with organisations that are dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of Orihuela Costa, in particular the Federation of Associations of Orihuela Costa and other active federated associations.
The Cambiemos political party in Orihuela, which has actively supported the coast on important issues previously, has taken a lead on this matter spelling out what lies behind the consultation and is joining the fight to save Cala Mosca.
The combined action group will meet soon to consider its strategy in what will be a very important and crucial moment to try and save this emblematic area from the destructive development being planned. The group is calling on members of the local Orihuela Costa community for support and commitment, knowing that they have always rallied to defend this last green, open emblematic space in the past and need to do so again once and for all.
Park volunteers continue conservation
On Thursday 10th November the natural park volunteers were asked if they would like to take part in the release of a number of Fartet (toothcarp) fish that have been bred in the visitors’ centre. This species of fish is in danger of extinction and it is hoped that the introduction of the fish into the Laguna at Torrevieja will help their long term chance of survival.
Those taking part met at 10.30am at the information centre in Parque la Mata where a short explanation of the project was given and the group then set off to the Rambla La Fayona where the release was to take place.
Crystal East, a park volunteer, was impressed by the combination of talk and action. Not only was the event about informing people of the Fartet’s predicament but also raising awareness of what is being done to halt the gradual disappearance of this little fish.
‘It was excellent,’ explains Crystal. ‘After a fascinating presentation about the Fartet and the problems they face we were taken to the Rambla de Fayona which is where the sea goes into the salt lake. This is on private land so we were very privileged to be there.’
The water was tested for salinity before the fish could be introduced. After the saline was reduced, the ten volunteers were each given a bag into which they put one of the Fartets. ‘These were then placed one by one into the Rambla,’ says Crystal. ‘We hope that they will now breed and produce many more.’
The park is very much about regeneration and education. One of the current schemes includes cutting down some overlapping trees to enable regeneration to take place. The volunteers have been making new signs to restrict access to the areas that are out of bounds at present because of this initiative.
This year it is the twentieth anniversary of the natural park of La Mata-Torrevieja and a number of events have been organised to celebrate the fact. The next date that the volunteers would like to draw your attention to is on the 23rd November when nest boxes will be erected in different parts of the Park.
The hope is that the new boxes will attract and help retain the Carbonero (Great Tits) which feed on the processionary caterpillar. This caterpillar is a pest that can prove fatal to dogs and other pets. The nest boxes will be observed closely over the next few years to check on trends and use.
The Park exhibition is an ongoing attraction that it is hoped people will visit. The exhibition is called ‘Natural Architecture’ and includes models of birds nests, the real versions of whichcan be seen in the park. The exhibition is open from November 11th until December 11th.
The volunteers who help in the park are always looking for new members. If you think you might be able to join them and help maintain one of Torrevieja’s most attractive features then please contact the volunteer group on firstname.lastname@example.org