Coastel News98 29-02-2008

Concrete jungle doubles up
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a huge mountainside urbanisation have been amended to include DOUBLE the number of properties.
Initial proposals were to build 994 homes on one of the few remaining areas of natural countryside in Pego.
Yet a recent decision by the regional government has increased this to 1,949.
This would effectively turn the rural stretch between the town and the Monte Pego development into a sea of apartments and duplexes.
The Penya Roja estate, which was given the green light by Pego local authorities in 2004, is still under construction.
Trenches for roads were carved out of the mountainside nearly four years ago – but as yet none of the properties are complete.
Only the road surfaces have been laid. Despite this, many have been already purchased off-plan. Local residents, who were against the destruction of their countryside, staged a protest march in the town at the end of 2005 in an attempt to block the plans, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The regional ministry for the environment, which has approved the revised project, says the minimum plot size for blocks of flats on the urbanisation has been increased from 1,000 square metres to 3,500.
Bull-running fiesta nets five-figure fine
A MASSIVE fine could be levied on Dénia’s local authorities for allegedly allowing minors to take part in its controversial bull-running festival.
The annual bous a la mar, during which bulls are released into a ring and participants enter attempting to goad the animal into the sea, is a deep-rooted tradition in the town but has long attracted its opponents.
Last year’s event was more topical than ever, though, when a random police inspection led to under-18s being caught in the ring.
Officers were due to check on the proceedings at 7pm on July 12, 2007.
However, they arrived at 6.15pm and saw that the event had started half an hour early – even though the regional government had not given its authority to do so.
According to police, between 80 and 100 children aged from 12 to 16 were in the ring with loose bulls.
Legal action has been taken against the local council, which could face a fine of up to 90,000 euros.
But the council denies all knowledge of the incident and claims there is ‘no proof’ that an unauthorised fiesta took place or that minors were taking part.

Staff walkouts cause crisis on the wards

DOCTORS walking out of their jobs amid redundancy fears is leading to delays and overcrowding at Dénia hospital.
A spokesperson from the Marina Alta healthcare workers’ committee claims medics are frightened they will lose their employment when the town’s new hospital opens.
Others are leaving because they disagree with the decision that the Beniadlà centre would be privately managed by a profit-making company.
Despite health authorities’ assurance that all existing staff would keep their jobs when Dénia’s new hospital opens its doors, several nurses and specialists have left their posts in the last week.
This has aggravated the problems already suffered by the Marina Alta hospital, which includes long waiting lists and patients sleeping in corridors.
One woman told The Inland Trader that she was contacted in January for an outpatient appointment, which she was told would be at the end of October.
Delays of six or nine months for non-urgent outpatient visits are becoming more common due to lack of staff.
This, coupled with insufficient funding, means the hospital is struggling to deal with its growing number of patients.
Patients usually spend several days sleeping in beds in the corridors when first admitted before a ward-space can be found.
It is hoped that the Beniadlà hospital will take some of the weight off the district health service’s shoulders.
BOND TAXI SERVICE
Gandia social Welfare committee authorized the launch of the bond Taxi service last week. The service will provide those with disabilities a total of twenty trips per month throughout the Borough of Gandia for free or for the price of a bus ticket.  "It's a way to encourage the use of public transport," said the councillor of Social Welfare of Gandia, Liduvina Gil. The service is available to disabled people aged between 16 and 65 years, travelling alone and in need of assistance when travelling.

New York, London, Milan…Ondara

AFTER a two-year wait, shopaholics are in for a treat – the massive Portal de la Marina mall is now open to the public.
More than 150 shops, bars, restaurants and ice-cream parlours as well as an eight-screen cinema, ten-pin bowling alley and Eroski hypermarket make up Ondara’s futuristic centre, which was officially opened on Monday night.
Clowns, stilt-walkers, dancing girls and bands played to the 1,500 lucky attendees who were invited to the event, the day before the doors were opened to the public. 
Ondara’s mayor, Ximo Ferrando, addressing the public, stressed that the centre was “not just for Ondara, but for the whole of the Marina Alta.”
“I want people from Benissa, Jávea, Pego and the Vall de Laguar among other places to feel as though it is theirs, too,” Ferrando announced.
He revealed that El Portal de la Marina has created over 1,000 new jobs and hopes it will put Ondara on the map, attracting more tourists to the northern Costa Blanca. 
 
Support for male domestic violence victims
BATTERED husbands will be able to turn to a new association for support.
Gandia town council is setting up a help group for victims of domestic violence, and hopes to attract male as well as female victims.
A pioneering move in the Comunidad Valenciana, its leader, Pepita Parra, says: “You have to remember that it’s not only men who beat their wives – sometimes it happens the other way around.”
Many male victims of domestic abuse are afraid to speak out for fear of being considered ‘less of a man’, reveals Parra.
Yet a surprising 46 men were killed last year alone by their wives or girlfriends.
Domestic abuse is one of Spain’s most prolific violent crimes, and an average of two women a week die at the hands of their partners.
But figures concerning men murdered or seriously injured by their wives are rarely publicised.
Contact details for the Asociación de Hombres Maltratados por sus Mujeres (Association for Men Abused by their Wives) are not yet available, but all victims – irrespective of gender – are encouraged to approach their local social services at the town hall and the police.

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