Local residents and business owners from Orihuela Costa met on Friday to protest over the
neglect of the Costa by the municipal government in favour of Orihuela City and parishes.
The main bones of contention were the disproportionate allocation of budgets, particularly
the funds raised from the sale of land on the coast, the majority of which will not be spent
here. The on-going issues with rubbish and garden waste collection were also high on the list.
As was lack of maintenance and cleaning of parks and green areas, replacing of the bus stop
removed from La Zenia, completion of the Emergency Centre in Orihuela Costa, suppression
of the AP7 toll and more parking areas to replace the ones ‘stolen’ from residents from the
Villamartin road.
The demonstration was organised by Movimiento Cuidadano La Zenia (La Zenia Citizens
Movement) and was attended by around 100 people and called for a ‘A Fair Budget for
Orihuela’.
Association President Félix Arenas addressed the crowd and claimed that the Town Hall
collects more than it invests in the coast. He noted that on the group's Facebook page they
have more than 2,000 followers and most send photos of the deplorable state of the area.
The residents are sick of hearing the same promises, some even repeated word for word by
politicians in response to their complaints, he added.
Cuidadano claims the Coast receives an unfair, almost nonexistent share of the budget and
there is no transparency when it comes to replying to letters and complaints from individuals.
After the speech outside, the crowd moved inside the Town Hall and continued the
discussion.
The protest came hot on the heels of the reaction from The Federation of Orihuela Costa
Associations (FAOC), which has called the 2017 budget produced by Orihuela Town Hall “a
fiasco for the way it fails to respond to residents’ needs”.
They criticise that the coast continues “to suffer an important lack of police officers and street
vendors continue to run rampant, which offers a deplorable image”.
The Federation said they were “really disappointed” that services like rubbish collection and
street cleaning “will keep going from bad to worse because they have been assigned so little
money”, and said the budget for beaches is “totally insufficient”.
They also complained that there was nothing in the budget for the Multi Cultural centre,
“which has been announced so many times”, and nor is there anything to reinforce the staff at
the Centro de Participación Ciudadana (Citizens Participation Centre).
The FAOC concluded by reminding that “all these deficiencies, which have not been resolved
since so long ago that we cannot even remember, were presented to the mayor in September
last year during the Participative Budget campaign. Now it is clear that was all merely just a
marketing campaign”.