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The walk to and from the beach along Calle Cabo Creus from Lomas de Cabo Roig is a serious accident waiting to happen

Let us now hope that after all the pomp and ceremony which took place in Orihuela last week, with the swearing in of new Partido Popular mayor Emilio Bascuñana, despite barely a mention of the coast in his speech of acceptance, the new leader, will focus at least some of his attention on the Orihuela Costa, which in recent years has been so sadly neglected by a whole string of previous administrations.

Still employed as the director of Orihuela’s Department of Health and the Vega Baja hospital, a post that he is expected to relinquish, 56 year old Bascuñana, is also the former chairman of the Provincial Red Cross and listening to some of his early speeches, he seems to be a man of principle.

He said that during the next four years he will work with honesty and integrity to improve the situation of all of the residents of Orihuela, so in order to get you off to the easiest possible start, here are just a few areas that you could perhaps consider, all of which would go a long way to endearing you with coastal voters and improving the perception in which Orihuela politicians are held by the general public on the coast.

We really aren’t all that interested in the ‘bigger picture’, the General Urban Plan, the millions of euro’s spent on the city’s cultural heritage, or new roads and tunnels built to accommodate the arrival of the high speed train (AVE) network into Orihuela ten years down the line.

We simply want a town where the streets are regularly swept, where the rubbish and green waste is collected and the bin areas are kept clean, where residents don’t have to walk on the roads because the sinking and broken pavements are too dangerous, where our beaches are manned by lifeguards throughout the whole of the summer so that the safety of the thousands of visitors who descend on the area, visitors on who our businesses so greatly rely, are not completely abandoned during the early and late summer months.

We also want a town where attention is paid to the upkeep of green areas, where we can relax in local parks, where Palm trees are regularly pruned and maintained, where the police actually do their job, rather than continually hassling the small bars and restaurants who are simply trying to make a living. Perhaps a little more attention to illegally parked cars and to unlawful traders might keep them better occupied.

Many rural roads are also in dire need of repair, one example being the Carretera de Villamartin from the AP7 bridge by La Zenia Boulevard, through to Los Dolses, its continuation through Villamartin to Calle R Wagner and beyond.

Albeit rural, this series of minor roads is the main thoroughfare between San Miguel de la Salinas and La Zenia, carrying thousands of vehicles every day, many of which can regularly be seen veering from side to side in order to avoid the many potholes and tree stumps.

And in terms of a serious accident waiting to happen, there is nothing more dangerous than the walk along Calle Cabo Creus from La Regia toward Lomas de Cabo Roig and the Fuente Commercial Centre.

Quite how there aren’t more deaths amongst the many pedestrians that regularly use the road, both adults and children, en route to and from the beach, and the Cabo Roig bars and restaurants, particularly at night, I am absolutely amazed. Ignored by the outgoing administration, this stretch of roadway is in critical need of a pedestrian footpath and lighting.

It was interesting to note ‘like articles’ written in La Verdad and Informacion, two of the more popular Regional Newspapers, last week, where local journalists were demanding similar actions to many of those listed above, but all on behalf of Orihuela City residents. With so little support from the Spanish media it’s perhaps not so surprising, therefore, that the Costa is so regularly ignored.

Perhaps they too ought to remember that it is only from the sale of coastal lands, the payment of coastal taxes, the purchase of coastal properties, that their city and it’s infrastructure has been allowed to flourish in recent years, that local pedenias have seen similar investment; lets not forget La Apericida, where, with a population of less than 3,000 inhabitants, a new civic centre was recently built at a cost of €1.2 million in what was widely thought to be nothing more than an exercise in buying votes.

And just last September “€320,000 was invested in improving eight parks and gardens in Orihuela city and its surrounds”. The move got a great deal of publicity and was well received by the local population. Another vote winner in the build up to the Municipal elections.

The Orihuela Costa, meanwhile, doesn’t have a single park worthy of the name. We have absolutely nothing, scandalous to say the very least. One of the most densely populated parts of Orihuela Costa, La Florida, not only doesn’t have a park, but the waste land which is designated as such is not even maintained. So the new investment for parks and gardens in the city and surrounding villages simply adds insult to injury on the Costa.

What you must remember is that the Orihuela Costa has the same population as Orihuela city but it has no power to look after itself so now, with the onset of the summer months, the busiest trading season of the year, it is even more important that the area is no longer allowed to continue its gradual degeneration into an urban slum because of neglect by Orihuela City based bureaucrats.

With a regular population of 30,000 people, that grows to over 300,000 during the summer months, positive action needs to be taken by the Orihuela town hall now, so that the area can once again look like a decent place in which to live, visit and to invest.
If you want the coast to continue as a successful source of income, to grow and to thrive like we all know that it can, the remedies and the necessary investment needs to be put in place now.

It must be taken care of or it will die and what will happen to your beloved Orihuela city then Mr Mayor. I doubt that it will be all that far behind!

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