Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine
The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 9-11 June 2023
Jun, 2023 |
A delightful second weekend of June ahead with all kinds of events to get involved with on Gran Canaria. The Harvest Fair arrives on the south, in El Tablero, patron saints’ fiestas in honour of San Antonio of Padua and San Pedro are happening around the island, Corpus Christi salt carpets and processions are held this Sunday, markets and music festivals as well as sporting events. Hopefully the weather will sustain all these wonderful festivities and happenings in the glorious outdoors, on which so much depends on this little island.
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.
Cordial director says they will fight “illegal” decision to allow cement factory to continue in Port of Santa Águeda
Jan, 2023 | Business, Government, News, Tourism
The general director of hoteliers, the Cordial group, a member of the Las Palmas tourist association, Nicolás Villalobos, has described as “illegal” the decision taken by the Canarian Regional Government to extend the usage of the deep water port of Santa Águeda so that the cement company CEISA (Cementos Especiales de Las Islas SA) can continue to operate beyond its concession which expired last October. <!–more–>
#VoteLocal: Want to have your say? The deadline to register for next May’s local elections is January 15, 2023
Dec, 2022 | Community, Government, Local Council, News, politics
Across Spain, municipal elections, to vote for your representatives in your local town hall, will be held on May 28, 2023. All EU nationals, legally resident, have the right to stand for election in their local council, and to elect the councillors whose job it will be to serve you and local interests, defend citizen rights and administrate local town hall funds to where they are most needed and useful for the the community.
Free resident travel will be limited to regular and frequent users with monthly bus passes
Nov, 2022 | News
Free public transport in the Canary Islands is to be limited to those people who use bus services on a regular basis, in their day-to-day activities, using one of the usual monthly or annual bus passes already issued by the Gran Canaria Single Transport Authority or similar institutions on the rest of the islands.
Heat Alerts issued for Risk to Health on Gran Canaria and other islands
Jul, 2022 | News
A red notice has been issued for the south eastern municipality of Santa Lucía de Tirajana, on Gran Canaria. With orange notices for La Aldea de San Nicolás, Artenara, Mogán, Tejeda, San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Agüimes, Ingenio, Valsequillo and Vega de San Mateo. And a yellow notice is in force for Santa Brigida. Alerts have also been issued on Tenerife, La Palma and Fuerteventura
The Canary Islands Government’s Ministry of Health, through the General Directorate of Public Health, have announced the activation og health risk warnings between July 19 and 23 in various municipalities around Gran Canaria, as well as on the islands of Tenerife, La Palma and Fuerteventura. Temperatures in the shade are expected to exceed 32ºC daytime and not lower than 24ºC at night, triggering the Preventive Action Plan for the Effects of Excessive Temperatures on Health.
Red notice (high risk) :
Gran Canaria: from July 19 to 23 in Santa Lucía de Tirajana.
Orange Warning (Medium Risk) :
Gran Canaria: from July 20 to 23 in La Aldea de San Nicolás, Artenara, Mogán, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Tejeda. From July 20 to 22 in Agüimes, Ingenio, Valsequillo and Vega de San Mateo.
Tenerife: from July 20 to 22 in Arona, Granadilla de Abona and San Miguel de Abona.
Yellow Notice (Low Risk) :
Gran Canaria: July 20 and 21 in Santa Brígida.
Tenerife: on July 20 and 21 in Adeje. On July 21 and 22 in Fasnia, Güímar and Vilaflor. On July 21 in Arico, La Orotava and Santiago del Teide.
La Palma: on July 21 in Breña Alta, Fuencaliente and Tazacorte.
Fuerteventura: on July 21 in Betancuria, Pájara and Tuineje.
The General Directorate of Public Health has issued reports to the Vice-Ministry of Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands and the municipalities, through the Canarian Federation of Municipalities (FECAM), detailing the areas affected by the forecast of simultaneous high temperatures, and sent reminders of the measures they must take on those days to protect the health of the most fragile members of their communities:
Drink plenty of water or fluids without waiting to feel thirsty, unless there is a medical contraindication. Avoid alcoholic and very sugary drinks.
Avoid exposing yourself to the sun during the hours of greatest heat intensity (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.), so preferably before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
In the hottest hours, place yourself in the coolest areas of the houses or residences, or, where appropriate, place ventilation or air conditioning devices, or lastly, use fresh damp cloths or take a shower.
Avoid sports activities, excursions or visits out in the hottest hours. Carry out these activities in the early hours of the day, in the late afternoon or at night; protect yourselves from the sun and drink plenty of drinks that replace fluids and mineral salts (juices, isotonic drinks, water, etc.).
Eat light meals that help replenish the salts lost through sweat (salads, fruits, vegetables, gazpachos or juices).
If you have to go outside, try to be in the shade, wear light and light-coloured clothing, protecting yourself from the sun with approved hats or caps and sunglasses. Wear cool, comfortable, breathable shoes.
Be careful with medications, especially those that must be in the refrigerator for proper storage.
Always maintain the food cold chain.
In the event of presenting any symptomatology associated with heat such as headaches, dizziness, cramps, general malaise, a sensation of suffocation due to heat, fatigue or exhaustion, you must contact 1-1-2.
These actions are intended to increase risk prevention capacity by applying measures that are easy and accessible. The plan is aimed at the entire population, and especially designed for the population groups most vulnerable to intense heat, such as the elderly, children and people with chronic pathologies.
All hospitals and the Canary Islands Emergency Service (SUC) have staff designated and specially trained to deal with and effectively coordinate services in the event of a possible heat wave, as well as the communication channels established for adequate surveillance.
Temperature thresholds and risk levels
In order to establish a heat health risk warning, maximum and minimum temperatures must be reached simultaneously. These are the temperature thresholds, which are set each year by the State Meteorological Agency. For the two Canary Islands provinces the temperature threshold is 32 degrees maximum and 24 minimum.
The Plan for the Prevention of the Effects of High Temperatures on People’s Health establishes four different levels of health risk, depending on the expected temperatures and their duration over time.
????Los próximos días varios municipios estarán en aviso por altas temperaturas ???????? https://t.co/9dtA2TJQMf
— Sanidad Gobcan (@SanidadGobCan) July 18, 2022
Covid-19 infections on the rise as Gran Canaria returns to Alert Level 3
Jul, 2022 | News
Gran Canaria has returned to Alert Level 3 due to rising infections. In reality, for now, that does not mean any serious increase in restrictions, with masks, hand washing and social distancing being our primary tools to combat further increases. Nonetheless most appear to have ditched even those simple measures, and so it may take some serious effort to get people to refocus themselves on breaking the chain of transmission. For now most measures remain suspended, as we detailed back in march here on The Canary News
There has been talk for several weeks of a resurgence in Covid-19 infections, however as the regional government is no longer collecting data on anyone under the age of 60 is has been hard to know what is really happening on the ground. Nonetheless it has been clear that at least two Omicron sub-variants have been driving infections in the UK, and here on the islands a slow increase in the numbers of pensioners infected has now started to materialise into more widespread reports of infections throughout the population of The Canary Islands.
It appears, now, that we are in the grip of a 7th wave of the pandemic, with nearly 20% of available hospital beds currently occupied by coronavirus patients. Despite this early data the regional government have thus far ruled out a 4th round of vaccine jabs for anyone under the age of 60, though that position may change depending on how severe the current wave looks to become, and as we head towards our third winter dealing with a pandemic that seems far from over, no matter how much new normality we have all tried to return to.
Stay safe, be kind, look after yourselves, and each other.
From Saturday The Canary Islands suspends all restrictions and maintains prevention measures
Article from march on the suspension of covid measures
The Ministry of Health has this Thursday updated the health alert levels following the General Directorate of Public Health’s epidemiological report, carried out in accordance with the latest new Surveillance and Control Strategy critera for Covid-19, following the acute phase of the pandemic, and based on indicators such as use of assistance services.
According to the report, Gran Canaria rises to Alert Level 3 once more and La Palma to Alert Level 2, both based on the evolution of the indicator for the use of conventional beds, which is now at High Risk, while for the moment the use of ICU beds is not has been affected.
The rest of the islands currently remain at the same alert level as they were: Tenerife at Level 2, for Medium Risk, and Lanzarote (where La Graciosa is included epidemiologically), Fuerteventura, La Gomera and El Hierro are all at Level 1, or Low Risk.
The indicators of the use of health services, based on the occupation of hospital beds, are the fundamental markers for the current severity of covid-19, and are taken into consideration to determine the level of health risk. Five alert levels are established (from 0 to 4) that assess whether the situation is one of controlled circulation, which would be the 0, or low (1), medium (2), high (3) or very high risk (4).
Throughout the Canary Islands’ autonomous community as a whole, the daily average for conventional hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients is now at 18.5%. The level of risk remains at Medium for the Canary Islands. Gran Canaria has been consolidated at high risk levels and La Palma also rises to high risk. Tenerife and El Hierro remain at medium risk, Fuerteventura is oscillating between medium and low risk, Lanzarote between the low risk and controlled circulation, and La Gomera remains in controlled circulation.
Stable trend in ICU bed occupancy
The number of ICU beds occupied stands at 25 beds on average over the last week, with an occupancy percentage continuing at 4.6% of those available, meaning that the indicator remains at controlled circulation throughout the Autonomous Community as a whole, and on all the islands individually, except for on Tenerife and Gran Canaria, which have now risen to the Low Risk marker.
ICU beds occupation per 100,000 inhabitants remains at 1.06 and on most of the islands this marker is still in controlled circulation, except for Gran Canaria and Tenerife, which are now at a Low Risk levels, and on La Palma, which has been oscillating between low risk and controlled circulation.
Incidence in people older than 60 years
Throughout the Autonomous Community as a whole, the Accumulated Incidence rate at seven days (AI7) for people over 60 years of age has risen by five percent compared to the week previous. Most of the islands are now at high risk levels, with the exception of La Palma, which has remained at medium risk, and La Gomera, which drops to medium risk this week.
The newly green-lighted Cañadas de Gatos tunnel could reopen Playa de Mogán road within the next two years
May, 2022 | Cabildo, Editor's Thoughts, Mogán, News
The project to reopen the old national road between the resort of Taurito and the tourist-cum-fishing port town of Playa de Mogán has finally emerged almost five years after a landslide that forced the Mogán coastal road to be closed to traffic on the southwest of the island, although it could still take another two years or more before vehicles and cyclists will be able to travel the less than two kilometres between the tiny tourist enclave and the ancient coastal settlement without having to detour via Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria along the GC-1 motorway.
Imagined route of the new Cañadas de Gatos tunnel to Playa de Mogán
The Island Commission for Cultural Heritage, part of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, last Thursday May 5, reported favourably on the plan to construct a tunnel through the Cañada de Los Gatos, an area of significant archaeological importance, finally allowing the project to move forward, with the support of Mogán Town Hall and the tourist industry, to return the link between Taurito and Playa de Mogán along the original southern highway, the GC-500, avoiding the cliffs which even before the collapse in 2017 had been a point of serious concern due to their instability and the constant danger of landslides.
Mogán’s still incumbent mayoress, O Bueno, has grandly announced that she now plans to address the President of the Canary Islands Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, in her words, to ensure he “fulfils his commitment” to build the tunnel using Regional Autonomous Community funds, presumably rather than municipal or State funds, on the basis that this work has not been included in the road construction or maintenance agreements with the State. The construction cost of this 260+ meter tunnel has been calculated at about €12 million.
That stretch of road has been closed to vehicles since July 2017, when the first of two rockfalls occurred, along a section of about 650 meters. Although an attempt was made to reopen it to traffic with some emergency works, a new landslide in September of that same year meant the indefinite closure of the GC-500, for motor traffic, cyclists and pedestrians, where walls and barriers were erected across the carriageway to prevent access.
The Island government reported yesterday that the Historical Heritage Commission last Thursday, chaired by the insular advisor to the Presidency, Teodoro Sosa, “gave the go-ahead with conditions for this project, which will be carried out at kilometre point 44.7 on the GC-500, the route of which affects the Archaeological Zone of Cañada de Los Gatos, which has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC), due to its scientific importance within the chrono-cultural framework of historical indigenous populations of the Island and its state of conservation.
The project plan from the Government of the Canary Islands will therefore include “measures that guarantee the conservation and protection of the BIC ensuring that none of the archaeological remains that make up [the site] will have their integrity compromised, neither during the course of the work nor during subsequent use of the new road infrastructure.”
To minimise “the significant visual impact” that the exit of the tunnel will likely cause above the archaeological zone, environmental recovery actions must also be carried out. Specifically, on the 650 meters of road that border the Cañada de Los Gatos, which will not be open for public use, the asphalt will be removed and, as much as possible, the original topography of the enclave will be recovered, guard rails, barriers and signage will be removed, and native vegetation encouraged to return.
The rest of the road not closed will be modified so that the the existing guard rails will blend in better with the surroundings or will be replaced by others more integrated into the landscape, and the same stone from the surroundings will be used in the construction of the tunnel’s mouth. Lastly, those responsible for the project must also remove the large build up of rubble that was dumped there when the GC-500 national road was built, which was deposited inside the BIC zone. All these actions will be overseen with archaeological controls and include archaeological excavations, consolidation and restoration works will also be carried out on some of the structures present within the BIC demarcated area.
MOGAN RESIDENTS COLLECT SIGNATURES DEMANDING A SOLUTION TO THE CLOSURE OF THE GC500
Mogán tunnel project to re-establish links with Taurito and Playa de Mogán
A wall is suddenly built to prevent usage along road closed 18 months ago.
Mogán and the Government of the Canary Islands discuss Pueblo de Mogán bypass and the planned Taurito tunnel
Mogán is broke
Keen observers over Mogán’s municipal finances might well have noticed that funding such a project would be simply impossible from town hall coffers anyway, regardless of whether or not the Regional Government had already agreed to foot the bill.
The local town hall administration, led by O Bueno’s CIUCA party’s much questioned absolute majority, has found itself on the verge of bankruptcy, according to reports and critics, due to serious “financial mismanagement” as well as a series of ill advised administrative and legal decisions that have left this town hall’s once brimming coffers somewhat lacking.
Having started the year 2021 with more than €20 million available to it, it is thought this town council had depleted that to around just €300,000 by October of last year, say their opposition, and have had to request millions of euros worth of loans just to stay operational with its current liabilities, something that voters will surely remember at the ballot boxes next year. A number of longstanding urban projects also remain unfinished, despite outside assistance, and so it will likely be the next administration that will have to pick up the bill for their final completion, late and overbudget.
The financing of the current administration’s various actions, it is thought, will take many years more of tax payers’ money to address. Though Bueno defends the dire financial situation by claiming it was down extra spending due to the pandemic, the fact is no other town council in the Canary Islands has claimed such a change of fortunes in the time of Covid. A series of legal misadventures, including ill advised appeals against already existing court judgements, various fines and compensations ordered against the town hall, have apparently cleared out the municipal accounts, which now, according to many observers, hang by a tenuous thread.
Of course, O Bueno will be speaking to the regional president, cap in hand, what else could they do?! The only way this long overdue tunnel gets built, and the road reopened, is with the support of the Regional Government, unless other state funds were to become available. Mogán is, it seems, broke, although it is not thought that, in itself, is what has held things up for this long. The fact is, this tunnel was put forward by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, and it will be funded by the Canary Islands people. Any suggestion whatsoever that Bueno has any real influence over that is fanciful at best, but more likely simple political point scoring, in an attempt to take credit for what other larger institutions have already taken responsibility. As the 2023 local election season gears up, we can expect plenty more of this posturing, claiming kudos or credit for the ongoing work of more serious actors and institutions.
The good news is that there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.
Masks indoors in Spain will no long be mandatory from next Wednesday in most settings
Apr, 2022 | News
Masks indoors will no long be mandatory from next Wednesday. Spain’s Ministry of Health will continue to monitor epidemic indicators with the utmost attention, as an increase in infections could also lead to an increase in hospitalisations and serious cases of covid, said Spain’s Health Minister, Carolina Darias, this Saturday in statements made during her visit to the island, from our provincial capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
“We are in a different phase, the current situation has nothing to do with the previous situation. We have seen autonomous communities that, after a specific period and a specific holiday, display an increase in the accumulated incidence but not in hospital occupancy both in conventional beds and in the ICU”, she stressed this while here to preside over the accession act of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to the “Fast-Track Cities Strategy” combatting HIV and stigma of that virus through awareness campaigns.
“We continue to monitor covid, we follow all the indicators that speak of risk with the utmost attention, especially the percentages of hospital beds that are [now] at their lowest in the entire pandemic,” Darias stressed.
Regarding regulation of the use of masks in the workplace, the minister reiterated that it will be the occupational risk prevention services of each company that determine in which areas the use of masks will still be mandatory, and in which they will not. In any case, she pointed out that the indications to these professional service providers will be specified in the royal decree on the regulation of masks indoors, that will come into force on April 20, coinciding with its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE).
The Minister indicated that the abolition of the mask in certain interior spaces has been decided following instructions from experts in the Ministry and from the Autonomous Communities, and she appealed to individual responsibility from each member of the population. In this sense, she expressed her wish that citizens “continue to make responsible use of masks. A culture of care is fundamental and the exemplary nature of this country has been demonstrated and I think it will continue to be so.”
Travellers entering Spain will no longer be required to fill in the SpTH control forms if they have an accepted Digital Covid Certificate
Apr, 2022 | News
British travellers are being advised to continue using the Spain Travel Health forms until definitively told they will not need them. There are still complications between the British system and the EU, so for the sake of 15 minutes of form filling the safest course of action is to fill in the form prior to travel, though the requirement is expected to be fully relaxed.
Spain have announced further relaxation of the rules for passengers entering Spain, though clarifications are being sought as to the exact practical changes expected for those coming from third countries, outside the EU, such as UK travellers, in general requirements continue to be gradually reduced, with current travel advice being that regardless of the country of origin, one of these documents must be shown on entry:
An EU DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE OR EU EQUIVALENT proving COVID-19 vaccination or a certificate showing negative results for active infection, via a diagnostic test or certificate of recovery, having had the disease.or
The SpTH QR code for anyone who does not have an EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent, who must complete the SpTH Health Control Form, manually entering any details of vaccination, recovery or diagnostic test certificate.
EXCEPTION: There is currently no list of risk countries/territories or areas. In the event that the epidemiological situation in any country/territory or zone worsens, in a manner that is concerning, they may be declared HIGH RISK. In this case, exceptional health control measures may be applied for passengers coming from these countries and, in order to pass the health controls upon arrival in Spain, it will be mandatory that they show their SpTH QR code together with a vaccination or recovery certificate and, in addition, a SARS-CoV-2 active infection diagnostic test certificate proving a negative result.
You can consult the list of high-risk countries/areas in this link RISK/HIGH RISK COUNTRIES/AREAS.
For more information on the entry requirements for Spain, from third countries, please visit this link.