The Mogán town hall has, after several months of local protests, confirmed that they plan to close the camping club at El Pinillo after 20 years of operation. They say that they are being forced to do so by the Cabildo, however local feelings are running high and Moganeros who both support the facility and use it with regularity feel betrayed by their mayor and their town council.
Claims had previously been made that the local council were working with the association, who have run the facility for more than a decade, to try to keep it open. Association members and regular users of the popular camp site have expressed their frustration at having been given a false impression of support from local councillors causing them to “lower their guard” in the days before those affected were due to hold a ‘go-slow’ demonstration using vehicles and motorhomes to travel along the GC -1 which had been scheduled for October 8.
A month ago, the new board of the Camping Club Del Pinillo highlighted the “willingness of the City of Mogán” to accept and new arguments that would strengthen the case to avoid the closure of the camping area.
Several have now come out to say that the clear intention of the mayor, Onalia Bueno, and the department for Town Planning was to close the site.
Most fail to understand why the Mogán town hall does not wish to show flexibility in the situation until at least December, which is when new rules, providing comprehensive solutions for all camping facilities on the island of Gran Canaria, are due to be approved.
On Tuesday 8 November, the order to close the camp site will be proposed to the Mogán Local Government who will be asked to reject arguments presented by the Club de Camping y Caravanning de Gran Canaria and confirm the closure of the establishment located at the Finca El Pinillo, El Sao, in the Barranco de Arguineguín ravine.
Anyone who has travelled north from the coastal town of El Pajar, up the Soria road, in recent months may have noticed the hand made banners demanding help to stop the closure of this popular local facility, it seems for now the town hall are not backing the wishes of the local population, choosing instead to enforce a closure that makes no sense whatsoever to local people, club members or users of the facility.
It is a fairly shocking state of affairs, according to sources close to the case, that has led to this lovely local venue, set in a rural palm grove, being put under threat, forcing an already struggling association and business to fight a legal battle that could well have been avoided, causing serious harm within this little rural community just 8 km inland from the prosperous tourist town of Arguineguín, and threatening one of the very few fully serviced, authentic rural camping facilities on the island, which in its self threatens one of only 3 bar cafe’s along this ancient road connecting the sunny south to the the island’s rural heartlands.
The entire case, say sources, is based on a denuncia from an ousted ex-president of the association, who reported serious infringements of planning laws based on the fact that the terrain is currently only classified as agricultural ground and was never properly re-registered for its current activity. This despite there having been a popular Moroccan dance show at the site for many years before the camping association took over there. Facts of which the complainant is thought to be aware primarily because it is allegedly he who did not make the registrations before falling under suspicion of financial impropriety within the association and subsequently causing him to be replaced against his will, though no criminal proceedings were ever brought say current members who were involved at the time.
This ex-president is said to have then denounced the association for failing to fulfill duties he had allegedly ignored for many years while in the position of responsibility.
The game is not over, say association members, as the popular bar and restaurant El Pinillo is completely legal and should remain open for business, at least for now, however though the camping facility itself must close pending further legal arguments in the hope being able to gain extra time to properly register the rest of the facility in order to allow it to reopen.
Meanwhile the business of the bar restaurant is put under serious threat, and with it the only local meeting point and hospitality establishment serving the local community for miles around.
This news story has been reported on Canarian television and in Spanish language daily newspapers, with much support for the continuance of the association which is made up almost entirely of local people and native Canarians who, for at least two decades, have been able to enjoy the quiet natural surroundings of this tranquil valley, as a cost effective getaway or holiday destination, alternative to other more expensive options which are generally and often well beyond the meager budgets of average native working families.
El Pinillo has for years offered a safe environment in which the whole family could enjoy time away from home, even if just for the day or a weekend, and partake in all the pleasures of the south, without being mobbed or surrounded by foreign tourists. Canny foreign visitors could also be frequently seen enjoying the authentic atmosphere and good quality food and entertainment offered in this rare gem of a setting well outside the usual resort offerings. With its own pool, childrens play facilities, free wifi and great cuisine it would be not just a shame to see this business close, but seen as literally tantamount to a crime against local working people.
It is rare that this publication gets involved in such arguments, but it seems apparent that returning this land to agricultural use serves very little in the way of public interests and so it would be natural for those affected to suspect that either the powers that be do not desire rural canarians to work together as an association to run facilities like this, or that there are unseen hands at work to try to take what they have worked so hard for and put it in to the hands of some other larger businesses at the expense of the local economy. This is not a new story, once again the powerful take the opportunity to remove what they do not control from those who have worked to create from nothing, something for all to enjoy. We hope that the politically minded will start to see the sense of supporting local people, rather than acting against their needs and wishes.
We will be posting more about the subject in days and weeks to come.