Government says “no impediment whatsoever” to Siam Park Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Water Council diagram overlayed on satellite image of El Veril site, with mock up logo for Siam Park Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands Government’s Department of Cultural Heritage yesterday gave the ultimate green light to the town hall of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, on the south of Gran Canaria, to grant the Kiessling group their long awaited outstanding license for canalisation work in the El Veril ravine to begin, where they plan to build Europe’s biggest water park, beside Playa del Inglés at the main entry point to the Maspalomas Costa Canaria tourist resort.

The Executive’s report concludes once and for all that “there is no archaeological impediment” to carrying out the work of clearing the land, so long as the pre-Hispanic remains found in the area, made up primarily of fragments of pottery, winkle shells and limpets, are recovered, with the presence of an archaeologist at the plot and that the remaining caves, of some limited historical interest, be protected with fencing.

The latest obstacle and debate on Tourism and Heritage, which exploded a month ago in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, due to a report sent to the town hall by the Cabildo describing the casual discovery of archaeological remains at the plot intended for Siam Park Maspalomas, has had a “happy ending.”

Diagram of El Veril Archaeological site zone and canalisation channel awaiting final permit from town council, with mock up logo for Siam Park Gran Canaria

This director general of the regional Heritage Service, Miguel Angel Clavijo, who mediated between the governing Cabildo de Gran Canaria and the Town Council to resolve a conflict, said that in addition to political criticism the fracas has sparked real concern among the island’s businessmen “for the future of a more than 60 million euro investment”.

The Canary Islands’ Government report, prepared by the company Arqueocanaria, is clear and concise: there is no archaeological risk from the canalisation work planned for the urbanization of El Veril.

After thorough fieldwork, experts discovered that “the presence of archaeological materials in the canalisation field is almost nil, being limited to two ceramic items, a circular mill fragment and some winkle-shells located in a profile at the edge of the ravine “.

Archaeologists say that the proximity to the ravine, where rainwater has run for hundreds of years, “minimizes and hampers” the likely presence of historical vestiges in the area.

These materials, which appear “loose and decontextualized”, probably come from two caves located at the top of the slope. For centuries the stone structures located in this area were inhabited by aboriginal natives, who threw their waste down the slope outside.

However, along with these prehispanic remains “modern” materials (glass, tiles and cement fragments) have also been found that attest to the “abundant reuse” that this space has experienced over time.

As for the “malacofauna” found in the area (winkles and limpets), the experts do not rule out that these remains belonged to both pre-Hispanic and more recent time periods, before the original tourism boom of the 1960s when “sharecropping” had long been the main use for these lands. Only a few decades ago this area was used solely in the production of tomatoes and many of the harvest workers lived in “huts or caves installed in the environs”. The “effect of gravity”, coupled with the “paths” of rainwater, displaced much of this sedimentary material to be deposited at the bottom of the slope, which ends in the “road parallel to the ravine”.

In addition to the extensive surveys conducted in the area of ​​the channel, where the traces were detected, Arqueocanaria also chose to inspect those surrounding areas that apparently had “anthropic signs on the ground”, meaning possible evidence of human activity.  Not much of anything was found.

Suggestions

After certifying this space as having “no impediment whatsoever for the city council to grant the license for the canalisation works of the ravine”, the report culminates with several recommendations.

First of all, before the start of the works, all archaeological material detected in the area that coincides with the clearing area of ​​the ravine canalisation must be “excavated and recovered”.

Secondly, the Executive proposes that “during the days when earthworks are to be carried out with heavy machinery” an archaeologist should be present at the work site in case any new vestige or evidence appears.

And, third, it recommends the delimitation of the rest of the archaeological zones with plastic fences “to avoid damage to the heritage [site] being caused through negligence”.

Clavijo has today sent the results of the report to both the Cabildo and the Town Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. After three months further delay, the local administration can now, at last, grant the final necessary permissions to start work.

Source: – La Provincia

Editor’s additional note:
However local Mayor Marco Aurelio Pérez Sanchez-Alcalde de SBT has rather blasély stated today (Friday 3.2.17) at the local council meeting that although he can grant permission for the channelling work, and the fence around the site and some other minor details, that he has not actually received any formal request for construction work of the park… the obtuse suggestion is that his town hall can’t let any construction happen until they get a formal request to build the park itself… farcical incompetence just does not cover it! We’ll see…!

Anyone taking bets?

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