Articulo en el diario britanico Independent

Ayer lei este articulo en el diario britanico el Independent y escribi una carta al editor felicitandole por su decision editorial de informar el publico de habla ingles de la situacion. Para los que pueden leer ingles envio el texto del articulo y de mi carta.

Fecha: 2005-11-19

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

Published: 17 November 2005

Greenpeace activists have seized a vast hotel under construction on a protected shoreline near Almeria in southern Spain, saying the project was illegal and should be demolished.

The occupation, mounted before dawn yesterday by about 30 activists, was the most dramatic action so far in a fierce campaign to halt urbanisation along one of Spain's few remaining stretches of untouched Mediterranean coastline.

"This is one of the worst urbanistic scandals of the Spanish shoreline," a Greenpeace spokesman said. He accused Spanish authorities of conniving to allow illegal building work. "The project is made possible by the connivance of all the relevant authorities: the town hall, the Andalusian regional government and the environment ministry."

The skeleton of the hotel reaches down bare volcanic rock to a beach of spectacular beauty in the protected area of Cabo de Gata. The 20-storey building, when complete, is planned to have 411 rooms, and will form the nucleus of a tourist complex of eight hotels, 1,500 apartments and a golf course.

Renowned for the savage magnificence of its terrain and for its aridity, the region provided a plausible alternative to the Arizona desert for "spaghetti westerns" during the 1960s.

Long shunned for its bleakness, and protected for its unique and fragile desert ecosystem, this inhospitable area has finally fallen prey to property developers devouring the Spanish costas.

"This is the symbol of the destruction of our coasts. None of the authorities involved has responded to criticisms by Greenpeace and other groups that the project is illegal," said Maria Jose Caballero, the group's Oceans spokeswoman, on Algarrobico beach at Carboneras, the site of the hotel.

Campaigners want the Andalusian regional authorities to start measures to demolish the building. But the regional government doesn't accept that the site should not be built on. It says the building company obtained a licence to build before the area was declared a natural park. In addition, the environment ministry in Madrid has yet to delineate the park area in accordance with the Coasts Law of 1988 that declares beach areas to be "public domain".

"This is a clear example of the free-for-all that operates on the coast, where norms of environmental protection are torn up in favour of big speculative interests," Ms Caballero said. "We must stop this trend before there is no beach left."

The building company Azata said the hotel was on municipal land near, but not in, the national park. Halting work "would have very negative consequences for the socio-economic development of Carboneras", Antonio Baena, a spokesman, said. "Abandoning work for a year or two, which is how long the judicial procedure would last, would turn it into a hotbed of risk, marginalisation and delinquency." He promised the hotel would be "very pretty".

Greenpeace activists have seized a vast hotel under construction on a protected shoreline near Almeria in southern Spain, saying the project was illegal and should be demolished.

The occupation, mounted before dawn yesterday by about 30 activists, was the most dramatic action so far in a fierce campaign to halt urbanisation along one of Spain's few remaining stretches of untouched Mediterranean coastline.

"This is one of the worst urbanistic scandals of the Spanish shoreline," a Greenpeace spokesman said. He accused Spanish authorities of conniving to allow illegal building work. "The project is made possible by the connivance of all the relevant authorities: the town hall, the Andalusian regional government and the environment ministry."

The skeleton of the hotel reaches down bare volcanic rock to a beach of spectacular beauty in the protected area of Cabo de Gata. The 20-storey building, when complete, is planned to have 411 rooms, and will form the nucleus of a tourist complex of eight hotels, 1,500 apartments and a golf course.

Renowned for the savage magnificence of its terrain and for its aridity, the region provided a plausible alternative to the Arizona desert for "spaghetti westerns" during the 1960s.

Long shunned for its bleakness, and protected for its unique and fragile desert ecosystem, this inhospitable area has finally fallen prey to property developers devouring the Spanish costas.

"This is the symbol of the destruction of our coasts. None of the authorities involved has responded to criticisms by Greenpeace and other groups that the project is illegal," said Maria Jose Caballero, the group's Oceans spokeswoman, on Algarrobico beach at Carboneras, the site of the hotel.

Campaigners want the Andalusian regional authorities to start measures to demolish the building. But the regional government doesn't accept that the site should not be built on. It says the building company obtained a licence to build before the area was declared a natural park. In addition, the environment ministry in Madrid has yet to delineate the park area in accordance with the Coasts Law of 1988 that declares beach areas to be "public domain".

"This is a clear example of the free-for-all that operates on the coast, where norms of environmental protection are torn up in favour of big speculative interests," Ms Caballero said. "We must stop this trend before there is no beach left."

The building company Azata said the hotel was on municipal land near, but not in, the national park. Halting work "would have very negative consequences for the socio-economic development of Carboneras", Antonio Baena, a spokesman, said. "Abandoning work for a year or two, which is how long the judicial procedure would last, would turn it into a hotbed of risk, marginalisation and delinquency." He promised the hotel would be "very pretty".

Dear Sirs:

I would like to thank the Independent for publishing Elizabeth Nash’s November 15th article concerning Greenpeace´s occupation of a partially built hotel on Algarrobico beach in Carboneras, Almeria, Spain. The illegal construction, in an area officially protected by the “Ley de Costas” and encroaching upon the legally stipulated non-development zone between an officially protected natural area and any potential construction, is yet another doleful example of a lack of local and regional government stewardship in the face of powerful interests.

The property in question is critically near the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, a recognised international biosphere reserve, and borders on another 282 hectare parcel purchased this fall by the Environmental Ministry of the Junta de Andalusia for 728,000 euros in a belated effort to create a buffer zone between the development site and the park. The park and the surrounding area constitute the habitat of a number of protected species including the Peregrine Falcon, and is an ecologically fragile breeding ground for a protected species of tortoise. Spanish speakers can find more details of the legal and ecological controversy in the park’s website www.parquenatural.com .

Nash’s well-researched article states, “The 20-storey building, when complete, is planned to have 411 rooms, and will form the nucleus of a tourist complex of eight hotels, 1,500 apartments and a golf course.” The project is not only an example of civic irresponsibility, but also of the outdated, 1960´s vision of cheap, over-massified, “sun and beach” tourism schemes that Spanish government officials and tourism and real estate professionals profess to want to change. As Cabo de Gata lies in the region where most UK citizens buy property in Spain, her article should of interest to the British overseas homebuyer and real estate investor as well as the warm-hearted ecologist. If the present and future ex-patriot community in the south of Spain wishes to assure their property investment over the long haul, they will support organisations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund who have made a stand against real estate speculators. The Independent deserves credit for informing its readers of an issue that could, for lack of English-language coverage, go unnoticed by the interested British public.

Sincerely,

Jenni Lukac

Barcelona

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