The works for channeling southern Gran Canaria’s El Veril ravine, the large area of waste ground between the GC500 old national road at Playa del Inglés and the main GC1 motorway, in preparation for the long awaited Siam Park water park project, is to begin “immediately” said chief executive Kristhoff Kiessling last week, confirming initiation of work on the hotly contested and widely anticipated new tourist attraction.  This initial part of the preparatory construction work will last four months. The construction company Satocan were awarded the project with a budget of just over two million euros, to execute the work, according to sources close to the Loro Parque group.

The canalisation of the ravine is set to begin this week and is the first step to seeing the new Siam Park Gran Canaria finally realised, after the Kiessling family, last June, obtained territorial qualification from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria as well as licenses from the Town Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, nearly four years after the final land deal was completed with the aristocratic Del Castillo family, on whose ancestral lands so much of the south’s tourism infrastructure has been developed. The work now enjoys all the corresponding favourable reports issued by the Island´s Insular Water Council and the Department of Roads Service of the Gran Canaria Corporation.  All that remains to happen is the final project presentation and permissions to actually build the park.

The project consists of works, seen as a pre-requisite to the €100million project, needed to channel waterways through the valley basin affecting the stretch of land where the plot of the future water park is to be located, eventually to occupy 174,000 square meters of hitherto unused land. The section between the old canódromo (dog track) and the existing channelling that crosses the zone of San Agustín that empties down to the coast, are to be worked and connected to ensure the unhindered movement of storm waters and create a safe foundational environment on which to construct the main project. For the time being Satocan has only begun with topographical and implementation works, such as observing and conditioning access to the site, preparing the work plan, documentation, mobilising machinery and other resources necessary for the development of the project as well as hiring of workers, said the Loro Parque Group in a statement last week.

With this advance, the most important step so far to seeing the Siam Park project completed, the next step will be for the developers to agree how the benefits will be distributed, and to develop the urbanization project – in which a family hotel is foreseen – and the subsequent delivery of the construction project for the water park to the town council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, so that they can obtain the final authorisation for the actual construction of the facilities. Kristhoff Kiessling says that he does not yet know the date that they will present the final project because his priority is “to work on the completion of Poema del Mar”, the aquarium attraction currently under construction in the capital Las Palmas. However, sources close to the town hall have confirmed to local journalists that Loro Parque already have the project “on the table”.

Christoph and Wolfgang Kiessling

Although he thinks that it is still hasty to speak of dates, Kristhoff Kiessling, whose father Wolfgang founded the original Siam Park and Grupo Loro Parque, says he hopes that Siam Park Gran Canaria will open its doors to the public two years after the El Veril ravine works begin. Kiessling reports being “very happy” with the start of the canalisation of the ravine, which coincides with the final stretch of the Poema del Mar aquarium, which will open its doors in mid-2018 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The project for the canalisation of the El Veril ravine begins after a nearly three year bureaucratic limbo on account of the concession of the licenses. During this time the President of the Gran Canaria Cabildo, Antonio Morales, and the Mayor of San Bartolomé Town Council, Marco Aurelio Pérez, have repeatedly clashed, each accusing the other of slowing down the start of construction and of jeopardizing a major investment for the island.

Three years on, the Loro Parque Group will start building what it has announced as “the best water park in the world” having already generated huge expectations among Gran Canaria society, not only due to the size of the project, but also the large number of jobs that it will mean for the island, as the company plans to hire about 600 people.

This Kiessling family project on Gran Canaria, is being painted as an opportunity to expand and boost the tourist and leisure sector the Archipelago in order to increase the number of national and international visitors who each year choose the Canary Islands as their holiday destination. One of the most frequent demands of tourists visiting Gran Canaria, say Spanish daily La Provincia, is the need to expand the leisure offer.

Source: La Provincia among others