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Changing times for the weather and changes soon for Puerto? 

The arrival of the first snow on Teide last week, early this year I think, was the first indication of the impending winter with its promise of cooler nights, if not yet cooler days.

It is time to think twice about venturing out after dark, in shorts and tee-shirt, time to delve deep into the dark recesses of the wardrobe to seek out the jeans and trousers that have been languishing there for months.

Tourists may flock to the island during the winter months for a bit of sun and respite from the harsh weather conditions they have left behind; residents of the islands, however, are often heard, be thankful for the arrival of the more temperate weather the coming months have to offer.

Of course, the change in seasons brings with it more chance of rain and we have already experienced the first storm of the year.

Puerto, I have to say, seemed to have escaped the worst of it and the rain, the first real rain we have had for months was very welcome, much more welcome than in other parts of the island as social media sites were full of videos of raging torrents and flooded streets and don’t forget the images of the floating cars. they are always quite amusing, unless they are yours, of course. Exceptional rainfall is being blamed and Santa Cruz seems to have suffered more than most, but I often think that this island love affair with concrete should shoulder some of the blame. Create your concrete jungles by all means, but don’t expect rainwater to soak away through it.

Take the roads as an example. To me, they don’t appear to have enough camber to take the rainfall to the sides and once there, there are insufficient soak-a- ways to clear the water. The consequence is that the roads, in time of torrential rain, become rivers and in the case of the TF5 a conduit for the water right into the centre of Santa Cruz and that is only one route, no wonder there was wide scale flooding. There have been cries of a national disaster and pleas for millions of euros’s in emer-gency funding, but I wonder how much was spent pre-viously on prevention and on cleaning out the drains. We do get rain from time to time and when we do it is invariably heavy, it should come as no surprise.

There are the barrancos, natural routes to take rainwater from higher altitudes and they work well, that much was evident throughout the storm but, have you noticed how many of them open out onto popular beaches? It has always amazed me.

So when, as recently, we have torrential rain, assorted debris, including in extreme cases the aforementioned floating cars, is dumped unceremoniously on the shore. If this alone is bad enough, a great swath of the sand is washed away. Not such a problem for the black sands of the north, but a costly exercise to replace it on the beaches further south where for some reason they like their sand to be of softer hues.

To me the answer is simple, where the barranco ends; you build a culvert, yes, a concrete one, across the beach to the waterline. Unfortunately though, practical is not always pretty, so my idea, I think, is a no goer, although you could always photo-shop the offending feature out of your holiday snaps. Besides, unsightly structures are used in many countries to retain the sand, take ‘groynes’, for instance (I think that is the right spelling).

Enough said on the subject, so a change of direction and something Puerto based, which is always good as it is ‘really’ this column’s remit, hence the title.

Botanical Gardens

I read a lengthy article in the Spanish press concerning the extension to the town’s Botanical Gardens. When I say I read, I really meant I got the overall gist, my Spanish is not that good, so I relied on google translate, for some, well most of it.

The article was typical I have to say of many I have read, 20 words are used where one or two would do and the main points are repeated four or five times throughout. Either the writer is either paid by the word or was struggling to find something interesting to fill the space. A bit like me at times, not that I am paid by the word, or at all, I am happy to contribute, I enjoy writing this and I live in the hope that a few of you enjoy reading it.

So here is a condensed version, just the relevant facts, The extension to the gardens has been a concept since 1991 when the land was acquired, building work inside com-menced in 2007 and is now finished apart the last phase, which I will come back to in a moment. The site includes a building, which will house a restaurant/bar as you would expect, exhibition space, conference areas and ,of course ,a souvenir shop (Whoopie- Doo). There is a substantial lake, which, the article claims, they are not quite sure what they are going to do with and are open to suggestions, carp fishing, or a boating lake perhaps, just a couple of ideas. The main feature is to be a waterfall, one which, the article again claims, you will be able to walk behind to see how it works, although I would have thought that fairly obvious, the clue surely is in the name, water-falls.

Now I am in danger of dragging this out as much as the original article, so I will cut to the chase. The garden, which previous reports said would open in November, will now open ‘in a few months’, so in time for the May elections, no doubt. Briefly, to the final phase, the plants, no there aren’t any yet. The time to complete this phase, which they describe as the most important, now there is a surprise, is ‘envisaged’ to take two years, but they haven’t got a budget for it yet.

So, in summary, the extension to the Botanical Gardens will open sometime next year without any plants or, at least, that is how I understand it.

 

San Telmo

San Telmo next, the scaffolding walkway, the access to the sea, has gone and along with it the access. It is now closed. Did they finally see sense, see how potentially dangerous it was? No, it was removed because the end of September effectively marks the end of the Spanish holiday season. No provision then for the other nationalities that fill the town for the winter months.

Still as the work started in February with a build time of ten months, as clearly stated on the sign, so by mid December it will be all over, job done. Hang on, it depends on which sign you read, there are now two, the second one gives a build time of fourteen months, so not to be finished until April next year then, after Carnival. The budget figure for the project has also increased; I won’t bore you with the details as it surely won’t be the eventual cost.

A sad farewell

I can’t finish without mention the sad death of the town’s long serving mayor, Marcos Brito, who died recently. My condolences go without saying to the family of a man who put so much time and energy into the role for many years. He will most certainly be missed.

However, I have made it fairly obvious in previous columns that I was not his greatest fan, or that of the ayuntamiento in general, so an interesting time ahead with the local elections next year. A new face at the helm, but will the outcome be any different? Will it be a time for change or just more of the same? We will just have to wait and see, although I already have my suspicions.