During routine investigations for an unrelated article this week, we stumbled across a letter published in the Irish Independent, from July, 2006, where two resident of Torrevieja, Bernie and Bob Cameron, took it upon themselves to defend the Costa Blanca town, and whereas the article the letter references is of some importance, it is interesting to see how the couple viewed Torrevieja at the time, and also gives a little insight into how some things have, and others have not, changed over the last 17 years.
“Sir – I live in Torrevieja, Spain. My husband and I have lived here for several years. He had lived in Birmingham and Coventry while I lived in Dublin’s inner city previously. Therefore, we know what it is like to liv in the midst of everyday crime. Both of us have been victims of personal body attacks in our respective hometowns in the past.”
“With respect to your article identifying criminals and crime committed in Alicante (July 23), we feel that while the story had to be told, it has reported a very bad and uniformed view of Torrevieja. It is not, as your article suggests. “a concrete underfoot everywhere, half-finished, appallingly planned” criminal jungle. Torrevieja is neither twee nor sanitised like other resorts, as it is a working town and port.”
“The town council supports and extensive cultural programme throughout the year in ultra-modern venues. So Irish and English expats don’t just sit in our “urbanisations” (neighbourhoods) in bars pondering the price of beer, as stated in the article. Torrevieja is home to 600,000 summer residents, mainly respectable people.”
“Having read this article, it would indicate that every second person here is a criminal. In fact there are a very small number, who keep a low profile (as reported). We never see junkies or drunks in the town streets. We never feel threatened.”
“We feel it’s a much safer place than our home cities have become.”
In 2006, now convicted criminal Pedro Hernandez Mateo was the mayor, the population stood at 92,034, the church in Plaza Oriente was little more than a hut, the private hospital was called San Jaime, whereas the public hospital opened for the first time, as did the municipal theatre, to be closed down some years later as it lacked the appropriate licences and failed safety standards, and one notable but tragic event in Torrevieja was the Centrocan pet shop fire.
To Bernie and Bob, if by some chance you are still living in Torrevieja, we would be interested in hearing how you reflect on those comments, and how you feel today, so if you read this, please get in touch.