Gran Canaria backs Siam Park leaving southern town hall no excuses

President Antonio Morales and Cabildo back Siam Park promoters Christoph and Wolfgang Kiessling

The president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, last week recommended that Siam Park promoter, Wolfgang Kiessling, request the Territorial Qualification, “spontaneously” asked for by the town hall governing Maspalomas, the main tourist zone in the south, to end the newly arisen “doubt” from within the local council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, some eight months after they received application for the final required license to start work and channel the El Veril ravine. The Cabildo have today announced that the qualification has been granted, so that there can be no further justification for the municipality not granting the required permit.

Wolfgang Kiessling, founder of Grupo Loro Parque, has expressed his gratitude and satisfaction with this unexpectedly requested document having been processed and granted in just a week: “There is now no obstacle from the Cabildo to starting the work, it depends only on the Town Council”, he said, while adding his hopes that they do not delay further, although what possible reasons there could be for continued delay is an unknown. “I wish the deadlines of the Town Council were those of the Cabildo,” added the company’s legal representative, Jaime Rodriguez Cie.

Morales explained to the Kiessling family that the island corporation, in this and previous terms, has worked to ensure that this long planned facility in San Bartolomé de Tirajana goes ahead because it will generate at least 600 jobs, diversify the tourist offering and provide Gran Canaria with an installation of the highest quality, comparing the expected level of infrastructure with Siam Park Tenerife, which has obtained awards for being the best theme park in the world four years running. The Kiessling family being behind the project will help ensure that the planned development on Gran Canaria is to be even better, than their first, because it includes the newest technology and new ideas, putting the island firmly on the world map in this field of leisure.

The president explained, in a joint press conference, that at the beginning of the governing Cabildo’s mandate, back in 2015, he resumed the work on this project, unblocking two major obstacles, the easement of road infrastructure and the necessary occupation of the channel, which crosses a strip of publicly owned land. In addition, his administration have taken part in all legal proceedings that have arisen from those trying to stop the project, always, he said, at the hands of private companies, naming Lebensraum Wasser and Inode Cor for having accused the project of various alleged breaches which have, at every turn, been given fair hearing and, with considered judgement and expert testimony, so far been overturned and thrown out, every one, by the judiciary – as well as, he added, action from the Brothers Santana Cazorla over matters related to land ownership.

In short, summarised President Morales, eight months ago the Cabildo de Gran Canaria untied and resolved all obstacles, and gave the project a final green light, which then finally allowed the promoter to request the Town Council to license works to channel the ravine, which in principle should have been granted within one month, as a mere formality.

Two months later, the mayor of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Marco Aurelio Pérez, unexpectedly summoned the press to an appearance just after New Years Day, on the eve of a seasonal holiday, Reyes, to shockingly denounce the island government and institutions for what he described as hampering the project after reporting the appearance of archaeological remains which, from the first inspection, the Cabildo made clear, in their considered estimation, would not nor should not obstruct the project at all, despite the southern mayor persisting in involving the regional Canarian Government, which in turn sent a team of specialists who, following expert archaeological advice, confirmed that there was “no impediment whatsoever” to work going ahead.

However, another six months have passed without the Town Council having granted the license to channel the ravine, work similar, says Morales, to that carried out at the airport, and at various other locations, meant to ensure that rain and storm waters reach the sea. The southern municipal administration followed this extended delay by suddenly expressing  “doubt” as to whether or not the site would require a further report on territorial qualification, despite two technical reports from departments within their own town council concluding that it was not necessary.

In view of this situation, the president said that he considers it preferable for the promoter to request the territorial qualification in question, so that the Cabildo could grant it, so as avoid those entities so clearly interested in halting this project going to court and trying to claim that it was necessary after all. A delaying technique that could have further held up execution of the project for years to come, before in all likelihood coming to the same conclusion as the island government, and relevant technical advisers that the report is and was indeed unnecessary. The prudent view taken was that it is better to have the properly issued, if irrelevant, report rather than risk the whole project over proving whether or not it was really needed.

“I recommended that they ask for it,” states President Morales “they considered it, they asked for it and we gave it to them today, within a week”, which means that there is now no justification for the license not being granted, except surprises, added the legal representative for the company, since this latest delay was also not foreseeable, and although the promoter requested it for “administrative prudence,” he predicts that there will be further denunciations from those who seek to obstruct the project.

Grupo Loro Parque’s legal representative, Jaime Rodriguez Cie, pointed out that this infrastructure project having been declared of general interest is not a mere declaration of intentions, but is supposed to have administrative consequences such as the shortening of deadlines and preferential processing of red tape.

He also explained that a declaration of this calibre is based on the expected generation of employment – in this case jobs for at least 600 people, 600 families that can count on this income -, as well as the administration’s savings in welfare expenses by removing them from Paro Unemployment benefits, adding extra social security contributions and taxes. Just by the license of this work, the town council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana stands to gain a further two million euros for the municipality.

When asked if the Town Council could have been coerced by private companies, Morales replied that legally that should not be the case and that the general interest must always prevail.

The Kiessling family are said to have already invested 10 million euros and the total investment will amount to more than 100 million euros to build on land, hitherto disused and deteriorating, even given over to fly tipping and landfill, in a “resort” that will now include instead what is expected will be the best theme park in the World and a brand new four star family hotel.

As soon as the license is granted to channel the ravine, work that should only take three months, the company is then to present the basic project requesting the license for the park itself, the construction of which is expected to take two and a half years, said Christoph Kiessling.

“There is [surely] no corner of this land in which a private investor has planned an investment of this size and [encountered so many] stumbling blocks as these,” said Morales, pointing out that the presentations for the Kiesslings’ newly constructed Poema del Mar aquarium, in Las Palmas, at the tourist fairs of London, Madrid and Berlin were a great success and their forecast is to now be able to present in the upcoming next round of industry events the new Siam Park, which ahead of a dozen or so prospective sites around the world, the entrepreneurial family decided to install on Gran Canaria.

Our mockup of what the new Siam Park Gran Canaria logo might look like .:.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *