Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine
Menas Case: Foundation Siglo XXI directors allegedly filed false invoices, unrealistic expenses and repeatedly drew funds from ATMs, meant for the care of migrant children, even charging botox facial treatments and posh restaurant bills to foundation debit cards
Jun, 2023 |
A comprehensive analysis conducted by Group I of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police yielded scandalous results, writes Spanish language daily Canarias7, regarding the alleged irregular use of the public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied minors, by the suspected to have been perpetrated by centres managed by the Foundation Social Response Siglo XXI on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. In this case, driven by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, investigators discovered that the director of the Guiniguada centre charged the NGO responsible for €1,500 worth of beauty treatments and €1,113 for bills at top restaurants including Vinófilos, El Vasco de Vegueta, and Triciclo.
Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor
Jun, 2023 |
The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.
Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria
Jun, 2023 |
A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.
Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria
Jun, 2023 |
A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain. Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days. It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.
Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors
Jun, 2023 |
The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.
Increased Portuguese Man of War sightings on Gran Canaria’s north east beaches
Spanish language press have reported bathers warning this week of ‘Portuguese man-of-war’ sightings on the north eastern beaches of Gran Canaria, particularly in the municipalities of Telde and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Similar warnings were being issued from Fuerteventura earlier this week, with reported sightings on Monday. A sting from this species of “jellyfish” is known to be one of the most poisonous and painful, they can cause fever, headache, inflammation, nausea, vomiting among other potential symptoms. It is very important to avoid contact with these creatures, and to react urgently should unintentional contact result in a sting.
The sting of a Portuguese man-of-war can be deadly for a child, and for any adult with weakened health. For a person of normal weight and health, it should not be extremely harmful and its effects would wear off in a few hours.
The stings are an automatic defence mechanism when the collective of creatures feels threatened. With more than a million stinging elements on each tentacle, they cause an allergic reaction in the victim, more often a bather.
Stinging and itching in the area of contact is the mildest symptom. The sting can cause severe pain, vomiting and fever, nausea and may even be fatal. Its poison is very dangerous and remains active even when the specimen has been beached. For this reason it is essential never to touch it.
If a sting occurs than the first thing is to do is to neutralise the poison, by removing the remains of the tentacles from the skin. Depending on where you are struck, and depending on the distance to a first-aid post or a pharmacy, you can try to wash the area with alcohol or salt water. Never use fresh water because it intensifies the effects. It is also not recommended to use vinegar, something that can work with common jellyfish. It is not advisable to apply cold water, but preferably hot and then use a cortisone cream.
66 specimens of the Yemen chameleon located on Gran Canaria since 2017
Feb, 2022 | Community, Environment, Natural World, Sunshine
The Canary Islands Ministry of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning, through the Canary Islands Early Warning Network for the Detection and Intervention in cases of Invasive Alien Species (RedEXOS) working the public company Gesplan, have, since 2017, located a total of 66 specimens of Yemen chameleon on Gran Canaria, mainly in the municipality of Arucas.
This invasive species on the islands can pose serious danger to some animals and plants endemic to the Canary Islands and even just possessing them, as with the Californian Kingsnake, among other examples, is illegal throughout the Archipelago, only possible under special license.
These arboreal reptiles being on Gran Canaria is largely due to human actions, and citizen collaboration is essential for their detection and removal from the natural environment. For this reason, RedEXOS has a web portal and a mobile application through which sightings of any species considered invasive can be reported, in addition to calling 646 601 457 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This species is native to southwestern Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where it inhabits plateaus of mountainous regions above 2,800 meters, forests and low-lying agricultural fields. About a third of the specimens located on Gran Canaria were female. Their reproductive capacity allows them to lay from 12 to 80 eggs in each clutch, which can be repeated several times a year.
The Yemen chameleon is included in the list of invasive alien species of concern for the outermost region of the Canary Islands by Royal Decree 216/2019, of March 29.
Red de Alerta Temprana/ Early Warning Network
The Network for the Detection and Intervention of Invasive Alien Species in the Canary Islands (RedEXOS) emerged in 2017 as a pilot project of the Government of the Canary Islands with the aim of locating, identifying, analysing, controlling or eradicating new arrivals or populations of invasive alien species (IAS) or with invasive potential, thus preventing their establishment or expansion.
Recently, and as established in art. 14 of Royal Decree 630/2013, of August 2, which regulates the Spanish Catalogue of Invasive Alien Species, officially designates the Canary Islands as the focal point of the State Alert Network, thus creating the Canary Islands Early Alert Network ( Decree 117/2020, of November 19, which deals with the State Alert Network for surveillance of invasive alien species, creates and regulates the Early Warning Network of the Canary Islands for the detection and intervention of invasive alien species).
The management of the platform and interventions by the network’s resources are articulated around citizen participation, encouraging warnings of the presence of any invasive exotic species. Both the web portal and the mobile application use the collaboration of citizens as a key factor to detect any need for action, in such a way that it contributes to raising awareness about the need to preserve our biodiversity. This allows the recording information on the territorial distribution of species and their evolution and monitoring over time.
Gran Canaria Weather: As temperatures rise, Calima departs, and a little rain to follow, particularly on the north, by the weekend
While this winter in Spain has been marked by a drought, with fewer rainstorms than would usually be expected, thanks to an anti-cyclonic weather system over the Iberian peninsula, here in the Canary Islands, following a fairly dry year, even by the standards of the archipelago, significant rains and even snowfalls have occasionally arrived in recent weeks, on a few days combining low pressure with strong winds, Calima followed by warmer than usual days. According to Meteored, this Monday, it was possible that the DANA (high altitude depression, known as a cold drop) affecting the islands over recent days might well have “bounced” towards the Peninsula.
Feature Image: AEMET
Wednesday prediction – Courtesy of Windy
Since the weekend various places around the Archipelago have seen downpours and even some snow on the summits, interrupted by Calim on Tuesday, mainly affecting the eastern islands. Spanish State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) has also predicted a rise in temperatures.
Weather forecast for this Wednesday in the Canary Islands. / Image: AEMET
However, with a cold night on Monday, producing temperatures around freezing point on the summits of Gran Canaria, and daytime temperatures in the shade this Tuesday climbing towards the mid-20s (hotter in direct sunlight), this Wednesday is expected to produce further downpours, particularly on the north of the islands, according to the AEMET prediction, based on probabilistic prediction models from the ECMWF the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
So strong rains are expected on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, as well as the north of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, and Gran Canaria.
Rainfall forecast for this Thursday in the Canary Islands. / Image: AEMET
On Thursday the rainfall will move towards the western islands and Gran Canaria, where rains are expected especially in the northern municipalities.
The south of Gran Canaria however has seen a climb in temperatures this Tuesday, with bright blue cloudless skies across the island, and warmer than average sunshine, which, with luck, could last until at least the end of the week, however, the rains are predicted, starting on Friday, to reach even the usually sunny beaches of Mogán and Maspalomas by the weekend.
There is even some potential for thunderstorms by Monday, however, winds will be generally light, with some stronger gusts up on the northeast, and the majority of any precipitation limited mainly to the north. The dropping temperatures at the weekend, along with cloud and rain, could produce a light dusting of snow on the summits of Gran Canaria, however, the majority of any snow we are likely to see will be from a distance, looking out from Arguineguín, for instance, towards Mount Teide, which has already received a good covering of snow to start the week, with more likely to arrive by the weekend.
There is a lot of uncertainty as we approach this weekend, with meteorologists concluding, in statements published by CanariasAhora, “Today it seems … this pocket of cold air will be forced to head back towards the Canary Islands, where they are having more wintery and variable weather this winter than on the Peninsula itself”.
Work begins on Salto de Chira, the first large energy storage system in the Canary Islands
Third vice-president of the Spanish Government, and minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Victor Torres, the president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, the president of Red Eléctrica de España, Beatriz Corredor and the mayors de Mogán and San Bartolomé participated today in the commemorative act of the start of the works.
Salto de Chira aims to reinforce Gran Canaria’s supply guarantee and will increase the integration of renewable energies into the system, it is estimated that by 2026 it will be able to increase production with this type of resource by 37% and reduce CO2 emissions by 20%.
The works, which will last 70 months, involve an investment of more than €400 million and will generate more than 4,300 jobs, including more than 3,500 on the island of Gran Canaria.
Red Eléctrica de España, who oversee the Spanish grid, have announced construction of the Salto de Chira reversible pumped hydroelectric power plant (CHB) is now to begin on Gran Canaria. This is the first major massive energy storage project in the Canary Islands, for the operation of the electrical system, providing greater security of supply and increasing the island’s integration of renewable energies.
The Government of the Canary Islands, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Red Eléctrica de España and the municipalities of Mogán and San Bartolomé de Tirajana, have all participated today in a commemorative act at the start of the works, which are set to last 70 months. This milestone completes the administrative process that began in October 2016.
The event was held at the headquarters of the Institución Ferial de Canarias and brought together the third vice-president of the Government and minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Victor Torres, the president of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, the president of Red Eléctrica de España (REE), Beatriz Corredor, the mayors of Gran Canaria, national and regional parliamentarians, as well as a broad business and social representation, from the university, civil associations and irrigation communities, and industry representatives from across Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands.
Third Vice President of the Spanish Government, and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, highlighted that “the Salto de Chira project is a great example of the path we must take to continue promoting a clean, cheap and efficient energy model. Storage is going to be one of the key pieces of the energy transition, both for its contribution to electrification and for its ability to provide renewable energies with manageability, something especially important in non-interconnected systems such as the Islands. It is at this point where the Salto Chira will represent a great advance, improving the guarantee of supply, the security of the electrical system and renewable penetration. With projects like this, and the firm commitment to renewables”
????@Teresaribera ha presentado la Estrategia de Energías Sostenibles en Canarias junto con @avtorresp
????️”Las soluciones energéticas bien arraigadas e integradas en el territorio son la receta para ganar la batalla al #CambioClimatico “
Va HILO???????? pic.twitter.com/kUrF0j1Mlw
— Transición Ecológica y Reto Demográfico (@mitecogob) February 16, 2022
Canary Islands President, Ángel Victor Torres, said “this happy day will be remembered as a turning point for the future of Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands as a whole. Because this plant represents progress towards the achievement of many of the fundamental objectives of the Canary Islands Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030. Today, Salto de Chira takes the decisive step to become a reality, after a process that has not been exempt from complexities, due to its scope and its innovative nature. But every effort is worth it if it is to materialise the aspirations of the Agenda, the Declaration of Climate Emergency and the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, which contemplates the decarbonisation of the Islands by the year 2040. That is the way that begins through Salto de Chira”
President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, stressed that “today we celebrate not only the beginning of a great work, but also the beginning of a long-awaited new era: the guarantee that an eco-island model is possible and that we will be able to pass on to future generations a land that we are obliged to protect. Salto de Chira is an essential tool to make possible a model of eco-social progress that guarantees our survival”.
In her speech, the president of REE, Beatriz Corredor, highlighted that “Red Eléctrica will put Salto de Chira into service in compliance with the legal mandate that in 2013 gave the system operator responsibility for these pumping facilities in non-peninsular systems” and has shown that the plant will be “an instrument at the service of Gran Canaria society and a storage tool for everyone and for all”.
The southern Mayors of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Concepción Narváez, and of Mogán, Ms Onalia Bueno, whose municipalities host the future facilities, also participated in the commemorative act. Bueno stressed that the project “will improve the quality of life of the residents of the Barranco de Arguineguín” while, Conchi Narváez emphasised that “changing the current energy model is something urgent, that we cannot postpone to other generations. One of our great challenges must be to generate the instruments for the storage of clean energy that we generate today”.
The Salto de Chira plant, declared of being in the general interest by the Government of the Canary Islands, takes advantage of two existing large reservoirs (the Chira and Soria dams) located in the interior of the island, to build between them the 200 MW pumped hydroelectric plant (equivalent to approximately 36% of Gran Canaria’s current peak demand) with up to 3.5GWh of storage capacity. In addition, it includes a seawater desalination station and associated marine works, as well as the necessary facilities for its connection to the hydrological transport network. Water will be an essential element for the operation of the new infrastructure, but it is also a scarce resource in the archipelago. For this reason, the Salto de Chira will guarantee the necessary flow in the reservoirs for the operation of the plant through the water desalination plant that will be installed in Arguineguín, to meet its objective of storing energy. REE say that key infrastructure for the Salto de Chira electricity system in the Canary Islands, has been designed with the utmost respect for the environment, guaranteeing its integration into the environment and minimises the visual impact of the infrastructures, since 91% of them are to be located underground. This infrastructure will reinforce Gran Canaria’s supply guarantee, by increasing the power installed in the system. This is, without a doubt, a fundamental element for an electrical system like the Canary Islands, isolated and, therefore, more vulnerable. Thus, in the event of a supply interruption, the plant will speed up and drastically reduce replacement times. In addition, it will allow increased integration of renewable energies into the system, by taking advantage of the surpluses from this type of source thanks to its storage capacity. In this way, it is estimated that, by 2026, the CHB will be able to increase renewable production by 37%, raising the average annual coverage of demand with this type of generation to 51%, which may be much higher at specific times. Additionally, this will allow a reduction of CO2 emissions by 20%. With an investment of more than €400 million, the facility will generate estimated savings for the electrical system of €122 million per year, by promoting the energy independence of the island and reducing the importation of fossil fuels. In addition, it will generate more than 4,300 jobs, of which more than 3,500 will be on the island of Gran Canaria, contributing to the economic recovery of the Canaries archipelago in a sustainable manner and in line with the principles of the European Green Pact and along the strategic lines and basic principles of the Pact for the Social and Economic Reactivation of the Canary Islands. Aiming to cut fossil fuels in half, in the Canary Islands, by 2030 In recent years, the archipelago has tripled its installed wind power capacity, which, added to photovoltaic, makes a total of 615 MW. This has meant that the coverage of demand with renewables has gone from 7.8% in 2017 to 19.9% in 2021. In this context, the construction of the Chira-Soria pumped-storage hydroelectric plant will be key to promoting the energy transition in the Canary Islands, and moving towards a new energy model that is safer, more efficient, decarbonised and respectful of the environment.
????@Teresaribera ha participado en la presentación del proyecto hidráulico del Salto de Chira en Gran Canaria ????️”Una gran batería que estará en el corazón de Gran Canaria garantizando el recurso cuando se necesita y facilitando la integración de las renovables” pic.twitter.com/XCgVeAlJTZ — Transición Ecológica y Reto Demográfico (@mitecogob) February 17, 2022
More than 3 million square meters of Güi-Güí is now publicly owned by Gran Canaria
Jun, 2021 | Cabildo, Environment, News
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria island government has acquired, through auction from the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT), a total of 2,852,630 square meters, in two plots, at the centre of the Güigüí Grande and Chico ravines, for €2,876,000. These lands join the 225,340 m2 purchased via the same procedure last January, for a total of 3,071,000 square meters, making the land public property.
In the two purchase projects the institution spent a total of €3.1 million, representing just 7.5% of the price requested at the time by the former owners, and one and a half million euros less than the appraisal that was carried out 13 years ago commissioned by the Cabildo. Between the Cabildo owned land and local government municipal property, the majority of the accesible areas of the Güi-Güí Special Natural Reserve now becomes publicly owned, leaving several inaccessible areas and cliffs in private hands.
The president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, explained in a visit this week, accompanied by technicians, representatives of the Tax Agency and journalists, just off shore from this spectacular wild part of Gran Canaria’s West Coast, that “Güi-Güí is part of our identity, as a landscape, as a symbol of the island, as [our] cultural and natural heritage” and the purchase of these plots is now a historical fact that brings to a close “a long struggle to guarantee protection for one of the places with the greatest natural and historical wealth on the island, which becomes everyone’s on Gran Canaria”.
The purchase was part of a strategic policy from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria to acquire land of special ecological and patrimonial value as a way to guarantee its conservation and protection. This operation will allow the organising of how the areas is used within the reserve, since the farmlands are located in the ‘heart’ of Güi-Güí, and used often by the Canarian population, in the surroundings of the natural beaches and old farming areas.
Güi-Güí, has three ecosystems in the same area, from pine forest, to thermophilic forest to the south and one of the most important cardonal-tabaibal enclaves in the world. Its environmental value exceeds the other national parks around the islands in the number of endemic species of flora, insects, reptiles, birds and marine fauna.
The “Montaña de los Cedros” is home to the only wild specimens of Canarian cedar on Gran Canaria, a population that has gone from just about 50 known specimens in 2003 to around 1,000 today, thanks to the Life Güi-Güí program that the Cabildo has been running since 2013, with funding from the European Union. The cedars are the last of the original forests that once populated this area, which were depleted by logging, and can now be regenerated in a natural way.
For all these reasons, Güi-Güí is a Special Natural Reserve, one of the largest existing protection categories, as well as a Special Conservation Area within the Natura 2000 network. It is also part of the nucleus of the Bisofera Reserve of Gran Canaria and its coast conserves one of Gran Canaria’s two major sebadales, natural seagrass meadows, declared a Marine Reserve and Natural Eco System of National Interest.
Archaeological Teams have cataloged 18 sites within the Güi-Güí massif, including mines (one of them the largest obsidian quarry on the island) and/or sanctuaries like the Hogarzales mountain and Los Cedros. In addition, the area, due to its isolation, has meant little of the land has been in use and few people have settled there. Güi-Güí is inaccessible to road traffic, which is unusual on an island so densely populated, offering a landscape very similar to how the island would have looked several centuries ago.
Coastal Authority postpones Anfi signing the nullified concession on Tauro beach, awaiting TSJC High Court conclusions
The “Costas”, Coastal Authority, Demarcation of Coasts Las Palmas, have postponed their planned final act in the recovery to the Spanish State of the controversial Tauro beach, which was scheduled for today with the planned signing over of the land, and the nullification of the concession awarded to Anfi Tauro, following an order from the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC – Canary Islands High Court) who are looking into precautionary measures requested by Anfi Tauro, the company responsible for the artificial beach since 2015. The operation was to be a formal act between the Costas and Anfi Tauro, initially scheduled for May 12, in order to comply with the final 2020 cancellation of the concession and to sign the deed of reversion and delivery of the concession for the maritime public domain lands. The Costas will now wait for the Canary Islands high court to study and resolve the precautionary measures requested by the timeshare company, as they attempt to recover the beach, and for the exploitation of the cove to return to the State once the matter has been resolved.
Rafael Lopez Orive head of the Costas Image: ALEJANDRO RAMOS
Head of the Las Palmas Coastal Demarcation, Rafael López Orive, said on Tuesday that he would not be attending this event today, while waiting to hear the decisions of the TSJC. As the regional representative of this state institution, he had postponed the signing of the reversion of the concession until today, while awaiting the results of a detailed report on the condition of the sea floor, after Anfi and Santana Cazorla deposited 70,000 cubic meters of sand brought from the disputed territory of Western Sahara back in 2016. Anfi Tauro declined yesterday to make any further statements, referring only to the precautionary measures they have requested from the Regional High Courts.
The TSJC’s order comes after Anfi Tauro filed a contentious-administrative appeal against the office of the Demarcation of the Coasts in Las Palmas, on April 12, 2021, in which the Costas summoned the company to sign the act of reversal, to formally recognise the return of 11,200 square meters of maritime domain public land to the Spanish State. The concession was originally granted by Ministerial Order on October 1, 2015 to “regenerate Tauro beach and exploit seasonal services, hammocks and umbrellas”. However controversy soon followed with the beach having been officially closed to the public since February 2016.
On appeal, Anfi Tauro claimed the necessity for an “urgent precautionary suspension” of the execution of the Costas intentions, but the TSJC has denied that request as it did not appreciate any reasons for such urgency. “Although it is intended to protect the same in the peremptory nature of the period indicated for the act of reversion to take place – set for May 12, 2021 -, the truth is that the interested party was notified of said act on April 12, 2021″ pointing out that the urgency was not claimed by the company until after they were summoned to the signing, though the order was well known prior to that.
Consequently, the court will process precautionary measures by ordinary means and based on article 131 of the Law of Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction and the interested parties may not request any further measure again under the that article of law. Anfi are either seeking a reversal of the decision or some form of compensation, as they claim to have already spent €2m on the unfinished reconditioning and “improvement” of the beach.
Once the reversion act has been signed, the right to exploitation on Tauro beach will return to the State, and its reopening to the public, after more than five years closed, will then be the responsibility of Mogán Town Council, who had previously requested the concession for seasonal services from the Costas. Mogán will then need to initiate the procedures to put into operation life guard surveillance and first aid services. Something the local mayor has since suggested may need to wait until the removal of a breakwater illegally placed on the shoreline, despite not being included in the Anfi license.
Until 2016 the beach was a pebbled cove, and a partially protected environment, onto which the Anfi Tauro group, working with Grupo Santana Cazorla, deposited 70,000 cubic meters of sand, extracted from the disputed territory of Western Sahara (in contravention of UN guidance on disputed territories) placing it onto the beach in preparation for exploitation and operation of seasonal services and other businesses that were to be installed at the site as part of a much bigger project. The sand was recently discovered to be covering an outlet pipe from Anfi Tauro’s desalination plant which has been spilling brine under the sand the whole time.
Brine outlet from desalination plant on Tauro Beach, Gran Canaria
Shifting Sandcastles in the Sky: Spanish Supreme Court upholds the cancellation of the Tauro Beach coastal territorial plan on Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria Cabildo to plant 8000 trees across several zones, recovering forest, and creating green fire-resistant areas
Apr, 2021 | Cabildo, Environment, Fire
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria are allocating more than €400,000 to plant 8,000 laurel trees, and thermophilic forest containing species resistant to fire, at the eight of the largest island farmlands on the north of Gran Canaria.
Each year, 2000 specimens are to be planted at these Farms; Osorio located in Teror, La Cazuela in Firgas, El Brezal in Santa Maria de Guía, Los Chorros, Los Tilos and Peñón in the municipality of Moya, and San José del Álamo and Montaña de San Gregorio in the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
These farmlands are within Forest Fire High Risk Areas (Known in Spanish as ZARI – Zonas de Alto Riesgo de Incendios), so the project also includes the clearing of 25 hectares of bush and brambles, each year, to clear away the potential vegetative fuel that accumulates in these areas.
The repopulation will fundamentally extend the laurel populations with fayas, paloblancos, laurels, aceviños and viñátigos, as well as thermophilic (fire-resistant) species including the endemic dragon trees, wild olive trees, junipers and palm trees, in San José del Álamo and Montaña de San Gregorio.
The project will include the technical environmental management to establish the annual schedule of clearing, which will be carried out before summer, which is, the time of greatest risk, and repopulation, which is carried out after the summer period to take advantage of the rains, as well as well as the monitoring of what has been planted, always in coordination with the Cabildo’s Environmental team.
The expense is to be distributed with the first €50,000 for 2021, slightly more than €100,000 for the annual budgets from 2022 to 2024, and another 50,000 for the first half of 2025.
This initiative is a further aspect of the Cabildo’s continued work in favour of biodiversity, that includes action such as the pioneering Life Nieblas Project (testing technology like innovative fog collectors, aiming to mitigate various impacts and effects caused by climate change in areas of southern Europe and outermost regions, through mimicking natural water collection systems), to repopulate more than 30 hectares, that were burned and are now at a high risk of desertification, with 20,000 laurel trees by 2024, in the Barranco de la Virgen and also contribute to the regeneration of aquifers, to recovery of the Doramas Forest, to produce a great green, humid fire-fighting shield for Gran Canaria.
Mogán to control Tauro Beach, but it is not likely to open any time soon, despite Anfi being summoned to sign the public declaration cancelling their concession
Apr, 2021 | Mogán
The current Mogán mayor, Bueno, and the timeshare operator, Anfi, are in a bit of a pickle, and are no longer, it appears, feeling bullish about the battle to control Tauro Beach. This mayor, who so very publicly stood in the spotlight to support Anfi’s project, dumping 70,000 tons of sand, illegally extracted from the disputed and occupied territory of Western Sahara, onto the Mogán coastline, using the now partially bankrupt Santana Cazorla Brothers to move it, as one of the first major developments of her administration, which began in 2015, following her CIUCA party’s controversial election to local government, currently under judicial investigation.
Once it started to become apparent that the necessary reports, legally required, had not been properly in place, and that there were serious deficiencies over property ownerships, and in planning, and with the manner and speed with which the start of the project had been green-lighted, resulting in homes being flooded, protests, accusations, and the removal, then arrest, of the regional head of the coastal authority, Mogán town hall quickly distanced themselves from the affair, publicly declaring it to be solely Anfi’s responsibility. Then, shaven-headed thugs, with a JCB digger, tore down 13 beach huts at Tauro, some of which were the sole dwellings of citizen’s unable to afford any type of alternative, and the Mogán mayor again claimed to have no knowledge or involvement, because “we weren’t there”, despite the fact that any such action would require the express permission of her town hall, to be carried out at all. Subsequently, with all work halted, and the public beach fenced off for now nearly six years, these Mogán public servants, already engaged in the process of trying to assume control of the municipality’s most lucrative artificial beaches, Amadores and Puerto Rico, also threw their hat in the ring to take over, from Anfi, the exploitation license of the newly reconditioned Taruo beach. Now the coastal authority have ordered the town council of Mogán to do just that, and take responsibility for reopening Tauro beach, but instead of rushing to seize her prize, the mayor appears to be dragging her feet. Whether it be due to the irreparable environmental damage, or suspected pollutants in the sand, or the legal uncertainty caused by the residents who remain where they have dwelled for decades, or simply a diligence in not becoming further embroiled, it is a little surprising that a mayor, who so prides herself on creatively overcoming legal necessities, has suggested to has decided to patiently wait for Anfi’s supposed financial and legal actions to play out in the courts, before seizing the opportunity to control Tauro Beach. It’s a bit of a mystery, and no good for Mogán.
Reporting: Timon .:. (various sources including La Provincia) – Images: Bård Ove Myhr & LoveGranCanaria
The Directorate for the Demarcation of Coasts (Costas) has summoned the company, Anfi Tauro SA, to sign, on 12 May, the act of reversal regarding their concession for the exploitation of Tauro beach. The exploitation of the cove will thereby return to the Spanish State, requiring Mogán Town Council to take responsibility for reopening the beach to bathers. The Ayuntamiento de Mogán have previously requested, in place of Anfi, the concession to control Tauro Beach seasonal services, (ie: hammocks and parasols), and to take appropriate steps to install a lifeguard service and surveillance on what will become, once more, a public beach.
The signing itself may well occur actually on Tauro beach, officially transferring responsibility to the Mogán Town Council, with a formal act, established by law, cancelling Anfi’s concession to use and exploit this section of coast, like all Spanish coasts, in the public domain. Rafael López Orive, head of the Las Palmas Costas, said on Thursday that he had postponed the signing to ensure that all the pending technical reports have been delivered; commissioned to fully understand the the entire situation on the seabed, following Anfi’s placing of imported aggregates, extracted from Western Sahara, which now cover the original pebble beach and shoreline.
López Orive says that he must simply comply with an order, in 2020, from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, through the resolution of July 27, requesting ratification of the declaration of expiration, for the concession granted in 2015 to the entity Anfi Tauro SA, which orders the Canary Islands Directorate of Demarcation of The Coasts to carry out the act of reversion to the state.
Following the bathymetric (hydrographic) study commissioned by Costas, a pipe leading from the Anfi Tauro desalination plant was discovered, buried three meters under the sand, about which they say they are more than concerned, adding that what is most disturbing is that not only was this pipe well known about, but there is a serious danger of contamination that could be caused by this spill of brine (highly concentrated salt water) under the beach, which is not only a pollutant, but has also physically caused the sands to shift, opening a hole and posing a potential threat to beach users safety.
“The danger posed, by this hole, for bathers can be resolved temporarily by placing a fence, but what you do have to watch out for is this spill,” said the head of the Costas. The overall competence and responsibility for this, he pointed out, is the Canary Islands Agency for the Protection of the Natural Environment.
Sources from the Department of the Natural Environment made clear yesterday that, precisely as a result of the complaint issued from the Demarcation of Coasts, a sanctioning file has been opened and is being processed against Anfi, and they indicated that this company has already had to pay one large fine, for the same outlet, years ago. Likewise, the Agency have urged the company that operates the desalination plant to cease all discharges on Tauro beach.
The previous complaint was processed with accusations of criminality, and this second sanction order is now with the Prosecutor’s Office, with which, according to the Protection Agency, if the company do not comply, stopping all discharges, this new case would likely follow the same judicial procedure, and a further, much greater, fine could be issued.
Although Anfi Tauro continues to deny that the desalination plant is in fact its property, pleading that the facilities really belong to a third party, with whom they have a water supply contract, in the official reports from the Consejo Insular de Aguas (Island Water Board), made available to the Costas, they state clearly that this plant is owned by Anfi Tauro SA.
Added to this, the fact, that Anfi, presenting themselves as the owners of the desalination plant, have been applying to the Consejo de Aguas, for many years, to request the expansion of the facility. The water board clarified yesterday that when an application is processed for a desalination plant, if the discharges are going to be carried out on land, they can grant the authorisations, but, if they are directly or indirectly to be pumped into the sea, then a separate authorisation for it must be sought from the Canary Islands Regional Government.
For her part, sill Mogán mayor, Bueno, said yesterday that the ayuntamiento (town council) do hope to control Tauro Beach, and take over the services, which has been closed for almost six years, and in order that citizens can enjoy it safely, they must resolve security on the beach with an aid station, and take over the work of surveillance. She added, however, that before they can do that, the Costas will have to remove the entire embankment and breakwater, that Anfi illegally placed in front of the old warehouses, primarily because this addition was not included in the development plans originally authorised by the Costas. Anfi have refused to remove the breakwater, alleging their ongoing legal conflict with the Ministry of Ecological Transition, the ministry in charge of the Costas, due to their concession having now been cancelled. Anfi claim that their investment, estimated at €6 million, was made to improve the beach.
This saga looks set to carry on for quite some time. But if we are lucky the battle to control Tauro Beach will conclude on May 12, the responsibility will be returned to the public domain, and the public servants elected to protect the environment and the rights of Mogán’s more than 20,000 residents and the more than 1 million annual visitors who, it is hoped, will begin to return from this summer, with high hopes for the winter season ahead, and bumper years for 2022 and 2023, all things being well.
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Shifting Sandcastles in the Sky: Spanish Supreme Court upholds the cancellation of the Tauro Beach coastal territorial plan on Gran Canaria
The ex-chief of Costas being prosecuted for Tauro Beach claims he is the victim of “a trap”
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