Category: News

AECC opens its new premises

On 15th March the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer will open its new headquarters in calle Apolo 55. The opening ceremony for the new premises will take place at 7pm. The association raises money towards research and the provision of facilities and support for those suffering from the disease and members of their family.
The association would also like to thank those involved in raising funds to help finance the charity. The Black Dog in calle Nervion in Torrevieja held a charity night on Saturday 2nd March and a total of €1,325 was raised. A presentation was made to the president of AECC, Manoli Flores, and the treasurer, Maria Jesus Uriarte. The association would like to thank everyone who contributed to this collection for their generosity.

La Bella Lola wants a divorce

They are perhaps the most emblematic statues in Torrevieja and millions of visitors have been photographed with them over the years. La Bella Lola sits on her seat looking out to the sea on the Paseo de las Rocas, Juan Aparicio searching for her sailor husband to return. Meanwhile on the promenade of the dique de Levante her sister statue waves her husband off with her handkerchief.
The two statues have been part of the scenery for around fifteen years and the name Bella Lola has found itself associated with the wife left behind at port waiting for her husband to return. But now, in the year 2019, she wants a divorce. On the day before international women’s day, the Bella Lola statue could be seen on the dock, not waving her handkerchief, but divorce papers.
In a gesture of defiance at this image of a woman waiting forever, someone had placed in her hand a paper that asked for ‘Los papeles del divorcio’. The paper could be clearly seen bound to her metal handkerchief and must have raised a smile from those meeting the new, liberated Lola on 7th March.
Perhaps there is a message here too. In the Spanish online paper ‘Informacion’ it points out that if you look carefully at the statue the evidence of Lola’s vulnerability is evident. The green on her breasts and bottom has been eroded over the years not, they think, by the elements but by groping human hands. It is an interesting observation whatever you make of it.

Connections from the heart

Hello, my name is Jane Troubridge. I have been living in Spain for 11 years and feel very lucky that my three children and two grandchildren all live close to me in Spain. My husband has a successful business here and we feel truly blessed. However, life has not always been so good, in fact,for many years my life was pretty horrendous. The positive I take from surviving those dark days is the experience and empathy that I am able to share with others.
I am proud to be a volunteer of Help Vega Baja and privileged to be the Co-ordinator of a very special team of compassionate Help Vega Baja volunteers called “The Connections Team.” My family is the most precious thing in my life, closely followed by The Connections Team, whichI consider, my second family.
I was honored to work with the Help Vega Baja committee to introduce a new service to the charity. This wonderful new service aims to provide 24-hour emotional support and guidance to the practical support that Help Vega Baja are, and have been providing to so many peoplefor many years. This service has proven to be immensely successful in helping people take positive steps forward in a times of need, by combining emotional and practical support in a professional and supportive manner. The team currently has 12 carefully trained listeners. Emotional support is available by calling 965021552, 24-hours a day, everyday of the year, or by email at support@helpvegabaja.com. We also welcome people to pop in our meeting places for a cuppa and a chat, these are open Monday- Friday.Times and places advertised on our website.
So, what do we mean by emotional support and how does “Connections” help? We listen to anybody about anything that is troubling them in complete confidence and without judgement. It maybe relationship problems, financial issues, health concerns, anxiety, depression, bereavement, loneliness, abuse, addictions and many more. Actively listening to someone is a very special gift to give someone. If you think about it in today’s society, how often do we truly listen? I admit that, like most of us, when listening to friends and family I often peek at my mobile or load the dishwasher or perhaps think about what to cook for dinner. However, when on a Connections duty, a listener is carefully trained to be totally focused on actively listening to our callers, for those minutes the listener will shut the world out and give 100% commitment to every word spoken. By doing this we are able to give our callers time and space to gently explore their feelings in a safe and supportive environment, enabling them to offload difficult and sometimes overwhelming emotions. Of course, byhaving no emotional connection to our callers, they will feel comfortable to voice any feelings without fear of hurting our feelings. We continue to provide this emotional support for as long as our caller feels they need us to, and where necessary we can give guidance to practical support with our Help Vega Baja Welfare Officer, Help Vega Baja Committee, social workers, British Consulate, charities, organisations and counsellors.
Over the coming months we are going to be discussing specific issues within the community that we feel the Help Vega Baja Connection volunteerscan help with. The first being loneliness, which is an increasing concern for the expat community. Many people find themselves alone in Spain due to bereavement of a loved one, often with all their other family members and friends in the UK. Sometimes their carefully chosen home in asemi-rural situation enjoyed with a loved one, can leave them feeling isolated, trapped and lonelywhen their loved one has gone.Not wishing to burden their families living so many miles away, these feelings can become despairing.People caring for a loved one 24 hours a day can feel alone with little, if anytime, to socialise with friends or offload the difficulties they face every day.
Some people may feel alone with a problem, they may have many people around them but unable to share their difficult feelings with these people and therefore also feel isolated with distressing emotions. Couples can also feel isolated and lonely perhaps on urbanisations that feel empty in the winter months or unable to get out and about due to physical difficulties, not able to join in activities or socialise. Added to this, is the language barrier.Imagine for a moment someone living alone and not even being able to talk to someone at their local shops, pharmacy, perhaps not voicing anything or understanding any conversation for days on end, not being able to share even the smallest of worries which is a natural thing for us all to do.Connections listeners alsoprovide emotional support with the “Keep in Touch Scheme”.We will telephone people on the scheme who sometimes feel lonely or isolated,on agreed days for a chat. This is a very important part of our service, providing our community with a friendly voice and listening ear as this may be the onlytime they have had an opportunity to chat in days. Chatting through day to day worries can prevent these feelings from escalating and building layer upon layer of distress, which may lead to overwhelming emotions of despair or suicidal thoughts.
In addition to Connections and the Keep in Touch Scheme, Help Vega Baja are proud to announce their new Befriending Service. This new service provides a volunteer to go along and sit with someone, have a chat over a cup of teaand maybe more importantly, provide a carer with a few hours to themselves whilst their loved one has someone to keep them company. Our volunteers also visit people who are lonely and perhaps unable to leave their home through physical disability and therefore have little, if any, interaction with others. We are also happy to visit people who are residing in a nursing home. Many elderly people have limited Spanish, and nursing homes which are predominantly Spanish, can at times be quite isolating. The new Befriending Service and the Welfare team,, which also provide visits and offer advice, work well with the Connections Team and provides well rounded support for people in our community.
Being a listener is one of the best skills I have learnt, I am blessed to be volunteering with such kind and wonderfully warm people and to becontributing to the amazing work of such a successful charity.I find my role immensely rewarding, I often hear the words“thank you for listening”.
If you would like to find out more about HELP Vega Baja, visit their webpage at www.helpvegabaja.com or their active Facebook page. Anyone interested in learning how to become a listener can contact Jane via the HELP Vega Baja San Miguel Centre on 966 723 733 or 865 661 497

Local government takes on Emergency Centre

The City of Orihuela will assume the responsibility for the long awaited work to complete the Orihuela Costa Centre for Emergencies, following the rejection of the regional government, Generalitat Valenciana, to deal with the project tenders.
The Mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, announced that he has called a meeting for today, Tuesday 12th March at 10am, in order to approve the delegation of powers to the City of Orihuela for the completion of the works of the Centre.
After more than a year without response from the Generalitat Valenciana, “we can carry out the works through the City Council, in the absence of commitment and management by the regional government,” he said in a statement.
The Local Department of Emergencies already presented the modified version of the project to the general director of Emergencies, José María Ángel Batalla, back in December 2017 and “it has not been until now when we have had a firm answer on the matter, an answer that arrives very late”.
Now though, both the Mayor and the council insist that “the Generalitat Valenciana has had more than enough time to have tendered and executed these important works for our city, because it was their responsibility, and now we should be talking about opening the finished facilities, since it was in February 2018 when the regional administration gave its approval to the project presented by the City of Orihuela.
The abandoned project has been the cause of much controversy since its scheduled development ten years ago. The Orihuela Costa – the coastal stretch governed by the city of Orihuela covering the likes of Playa Flamenca, La Zenia and Cabo Roig, is home to tens of thousands of residents, including many foreigners. The population can multiply fivefold in high season and coupled with an ageing population of expat retirees, the current provision of very basic emergency services has long been deemed inadequate.

Alzheimer’s charity event

The 6th walk in aid of AFA (Asociación de Alzhéimer de Familiares y Amigos de Torrevieja) will be held on Sunday 7th April. The walk or run will begin at 10am and Councillor Carmen Morate hopes that as many people as possible will join in. ‘It has been extraordinary how many businesses have given their support to the event. We expect the public will do the same,’ she said at the press conference.
The walk is being coordinated by Trudy Páez and one of the main sponsors this year is Torrevieja hospital. Because of this, the title of the event has changed a little. This year it will be known as ‘VI Carrera/Marcha Solidaria AFA Torrevieja Salud’ to acknowledge the support being provided.
‘Throughout the six years of the event we are always looking to make improvements,’ explained the councillor. ‘The majority of the money collected will go this year to the centre itself. Every day those working there support the rehabilitation and stimulation of those suffering from Alzheimers.’
In spite of some changes, many aspects of the walk/ run will be the same as in previous years. It is a 4km route for those who wish to walk or, alternatively, you can complete a four or eight km run. The start and finish line is outside the Casino in Torrevieja and it costs 10 euros to take part. You can register at the association headquarters in la Avenida de la Estación 1, in the charity shop in calle Maestro Francisco Vallejos or on their web page: http://www.asuspuestos.com/evento/vi-carreramarcha-solidaria-afa-torrevieja
Every participant will receive a bag of goodies including a t-shirt, a bum bag, a hat, nuts and a ticket that entitles you to a drink and something to eat after the event. This year there will also be a new wardrobe service which previous years’ participants have asked for.
AFA would like to thank all those who are collaborating in this event and those who are contributing to a raffle linked to the numbers each participant is given. There will be a number of prizes including restaurant meals, Spa and physiotherapy vouchers. Every winner will receive a trophy and a ham.
You can collect your participants’ number and bib from 6th April in the Decathlon sports shop in Zenia Boulevard. Decathlon are also sponsoring the event. You can also collect your number on the day. There is more information available from the association’s web page on www.afatorrevieja.es

Caterpillars appear earlier each year

A number of sightings of processionary caterpillars have now been reported in the Torrevieja area. This pest creates great concern amongst pet owners as the hairs from the caterpillar can cause a severe allergic reaction. In order to reduce the possibility of pets being affected, the council treats public areas where they have been seen.
One of these recently has been adjacent to Calle Mozart, the street running alongside the natural park in La Siesta. The council placed a warning notice on the gates to the park following treatment in this area to kill the caterpillars. The sign warned people usually using the park that they should not enter for the three days following the treatment taking place.
Costa Blanca People received a request for information from a concerned dog owner living on the street. Her question was why had it taken the council so long to deal with the problem when the first caterpillars had been spotted three weeks previously on the ground in the area across from the Sol Apartments.
The answer appears to be linked to the earlier appearance each year of the caterpillars. In reply, Councillor Carmen Morate explained that the caterpillars are traditionally seen in the spring time but their appearance seems to be brought forward each year. Now, January and February are frequently the months when they are first being spotted.
Although apologising for the lateness she says, ‘It’s difficult to tell when the caterpillars will suddenly appear. It can also be difficult for the company used to exterminate them to react immediately when sightings are passed on. We would like to thank people, however, for the information they send us about where these creatures are so that we can inform the right department and take measures as soon as possible.’

DISTRIBUTION OUTLETS PLEASE NOTE

Next Tuesday 19th March is a bank holiday here as Spain celebrates the feast day of San Jose, Father’s Day. The Costa Blanca People will be printed and distributed as usual on the Tuesday. However, if any of our outlets will be closed on Tuesday and would prefer not to receive their usual delivery of papers, please let us know by 12 noon on Friday 15th March. You can let us know by phone on 966 70 10 60 or email to office@costablancapeople.com

Beach for dogs will continue

A court has endorsed the town hall’s decision to designate la Cala del Moro-Cala del Mal Paso as a beach where dogs and their owners can bathe together. The court in Elche has agreed with Torrevieja town hall about the choice and the way in which the town hall went about it.
The court case was filed by a community of owners with property in Cala del Moro. They argued that the town hall should have consulted them before taking the decision to allow dogs to bathe there too. However, the judge ruled that the town hall’s consultation with officials was sufficient for the project to go ahead.Reports were received from the local police and a town biologist.
This area was recommended as being the most suitable for the purpose. As well as this stretch of coastline, part of the Punta Margalla beach was put forward as being suitable too. The court found that the town hall had made sufficient enquiries to reach their decision and that they did not need to extend the process to include a wider perspective.
Those living nearby have been very vocal in their opposition. They have staged several protests and there have been clashes with supporters of the new designation and with bathers themselves. Prior to the town hall’s decision, the Cala del Moro was hardly known or visited. It is located in an area where the cliffs begin between La Mata and Torrevieja. There is a small, sandy cove and the rest is low cliff with rock. A wooden ramp has been installed to improve access.
Councillor Carmen Morate was pleased to hear the outcome of the case. She has campaigned for a beach where dog owners could take their pets and was clear that the town hall had followed the proper procedures. However, she also indicated that the process wasn’t perfect and there is the intention of a wider consultation which is expected to take place around election time.

Renewed concern over burning waste tip in Campoamor

The illegal waste tip in Campoamor, which was burning for close to 15 years and was a danger to the health of those living nearby, was sealed in 2016, after a neighbourhood campaign led by CLARO.
Thereafter, an action plan was imposed on the owner of the site by the Valencian authorities. This included covering the area of exposed waste with topsoil, planting of vegetation and landscaping the entire surface of the landfill. The plan was based on a report indicating that the area was of special environmental interest since it is located within the Site of Community Interest (LIC) and the Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) of the Sierra Escalona and the Dehesa de Campoamor.
CLARO made a visit this week to the landfill with presidents and representatives of the nearby affected urbanizations confirming that although the burning had stopped, the regeneration plan was not being executed. The second phase of re-vegetation has not been started, and there is also serious neighbourhood concern that the support of the cone of more than 15 meters high was deteriorating due to erosion, rainfall and lack of maintenance and that the thousands of tons of buried waste of all kinds were beginning to emerge again in many points.
The concern is that toxic pockets of combustion will reappear which would again affect the health of those living in nearby urbanisations, in particular Las Ramblas, as well as the two golf courses that are about 500 metres away.
In agreement with the presidents and representatives of Las Ramblas and nearby urbanisations, CLARO will inform the relevant Valencian authorities of what is happening and demand that the company which owns the site ensures adequate maintenance and resumption of the plan for the re-vegetation and restoration of the environment of the landfill.

Saint Patrick’s Day on the Costa Blanca

Summer is on its way, but in Cabo Roig, the first sign of summer is not the swallows returning from their winter migration but the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. In addition to the parade this year there will be a craft market both Saturday and Sunday in the car park beside the Medical Centre. Those who arrive early will probably get parking around La Regia park opposite El Gato, on the side streets of La Regia and in old Cabo Roig near the beaches.
The festivities will begin at 1pm with a big shoot out at the Depot although some will forgo the wild west show to get themselves seated by 2pm on the terraces of the bars and restaurants around the two-kilometre parade route. The best spots are usually found on the medical centre end of the “strip”.
As Saint Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year there will be free face painting for children aged between 0 to 100. You can have shamrocks or tricolours painted on your face or forehead but don’t leave it too late, all the best face painting will start at 1pm in three different locations between Milo’s and Peter Pan’s, near Banco Sabadell and over the road at the Depot. It is reported that Anna and Elsa from Frozen will be doing some of the face painting in person.
This Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is the ninth to be held in Cabo Roig and it has become world famous, so famous in fact that it is the best in Spain and mainland Europe and the ninth best in the world according to Google. The 2019 parade will be bigger and more spectacular than ever before.
Some think that the parade “just happens,” but it doesn’t. Local businesses contribute their time, talents, efforts and €15,000 to make this fun event happen each year. They run fundraising events all year around to build up the kitty so as this happy day is a reality. Each year, Sofia Alvarez (councillor for Tourism and foreign residents in the Orihuela town hall) organizes the necessary permissions, police assistance, barriers, stage and more. Her help and support of the event is vital to its success.
This year’s Grand Marshall is world-famous Irish Boxer and film star, Big Joe Egan, originally from Ringsend in Dublin.

No sunbeds this Easter

The company that usually provides the service of renting out sunbeds and also manages the water attractions such as the jet skis will not be on the beach this Easter. The company responsible, Recreativos Horadada, has done the job for the past six years but their last contract ran out in September and has not yet been renewed. The contracts for the chiringuitos and lifeguard service will not be affected however as these services are part of a different contract.
There is concern that it is not only the Easter season that could be affected but also that of the summer. One of the difficulties is the length of the normal contracting process. It is now too late to have something in place for the Easter period as it requires months of preparation, advertising and finally making a decision.
It is possible for a minor contract to be awarded that takes less time to pass through the administrative processes. However, there are further complications because this service straddles different departments including the national coastline department, which makes contracting even more problematic. Because it is not an essential service it cannot operate without a contract.
It is hoped that the lack of sunbed hire provision does not put injeopardy the blue flag status of Torrevieja’s beaches.

Motorhomes are back

They are a familiar sight along some of Torrevieja’s coastline. The motorhomes that are parked up, sometimes for weeks on end, are back ready for the spring and summer season. Three years ago it was recommended in a report that signs might be placed in their favourite spots to warn them they could not park in these areas. However, this has not taken place.
The motorhomes do not come cheap. They can be valued at anything up to €200,000 and are often extended out with awnings and gazebos. Favourite spots to park include the area between Los Locos beach and Torre del Moro. Another favourite is la cala de Los Trabajos next to Los Locos beach and along the avenida de Soria, next to the Molino del Agua. The car park in front of La Mata cemetery and by the Albentosapark is another spot that the campervans and motorhomes are drawn to.
Their presence can cause bad feeling as there are concerns about environmental damage, local residents can find their views blocked and they can be using local services but without paying any taxes. Local residents argue that little is done to move the motorhome owners on. There is only one inspector in charge of a wide area of coastline in the Vega Baja.
The tourists using this type of accommodation are largely from Central Europe and, to their credit, are usually environmentally aware. They do tend to leave the area tidy and use it responsibly. They like these areas because there is some lighting, they are relatively close to amenities and residential areas and they feel safe.
Their owners can be very responsible in the way they look after the environment and are legitimately staying for short periods of time in each location. Those who are a fan of this kind of lifestyle point out that Spain has few authorised places where they can carry out their types of tourism and this is the only option if they do not want to pay out the significant amounts demanded by some private sites.
Some aspects of their stay are legal. They can park but should not camp and they should not set out tables, chairs and other furniture. However, as things stand they will remain a presence on Torrevieja’s coastline.

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