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Recycled news: those old Puerto chestnuts are still around! 


August is over, not my favourite month! It may be the height of summer and hot, but more often than not Puerto and the whole Orotava valley are shrouded in a blanket of cloud, making it humid and clammy.

The locals have a name for it, Panza de Burro, donkey’s belly, a name that has been around for years and never updated, I guess.

August is also known as the month when nothing happens, a month when everyone and his mother seem to be on holiday, a month when PR departments and news agencies have nothing better to do than recycle old stories, forcing newspapers to do the same or to go in search even more obscure storylines, and of course, my article for this month is no different.

Yes, much like the paper it is printed on, almost everything I am going to write about has been recycled. Not all by choice I hasten to add, for you see I have had an editorial request for my comments on the San Telmo project.

I thought I had commented enough over the last 18 months or so, thought I had made my position quite clear, but perhaps they feel I have been sitting on the fence, or should that be on the railings, although I am not sure that you could, whereas on the wall, of course you could. Or maybe now the project is finished they think my opinion has changed.

It has finished, or near enough, there are still some railings missing, there is not a single rubbish bin along its length, some of the flowerbeds need planting (they are rapidly becoming giant ashtrays) and some seating wouldn’t go amiss. Yes, I am just splitting hairs, all this, will come in its own good time, when funds are available, I am sure of it.

So here they are, for what they are worth, my final comments on the San Telmo project. Firstly I like what they have done to the beach area, though most of it is merely cosmetic, simply putting concrete slabs on top of existing ones.

Traditionalists have claimed the beach to be smaller now, it most probably is, but I am sure everyone will agree the tiered seating/ sunbathing area is a vast improvement, unless of course you have a particular penchant for sitting on cobbles that is.

I like the fact, where previous improvements didn’t, this project has managed to provide wheelchair access along its entire length. It is certainly ‘roomier’; a result of the additional metre of width the new ‘overhang’ has provided. Yet, think back a few years, and you will realise that the fairly recent bottleneck at the top end has been caused by tables and chairs, not by the thickness of the wall they have torn down. It seems to me, and this is just my own opinion, it is a very expensive way to accommodate the rise in alfresco dining brought about in part by the smoking ban.

Crunch time now, the big decision, is it wall or railings, which do I prefer. To be honest, I am not bothered, both are nothing more than barriers. The wall was already there, did it really need knocking down, I don’t think so, and it would almost certainly have outlasted its replacement.

I always viewed it has part of the town’s sea defences, come the winter with the high tides and the crashing waves and let’s see how effective the railings are at holding back the spray. The railings on the other hand are more ‘modern’ and at least they replaced the railings on adjacent Mirador Viento to match. Those railings, only there a relatively short time, were rusting through. Will the stainless steel ones with wooden rail fare any better, only time will tell.

Playa Martianez

Another recycled news item, or at best a slightly different slant on what is a very old story. In the local press recently there was what I term a ‘nothing’ story, I’m sure I don’t need to explain what I mean by it. It stated that the Coastal Department of central government, the department responsible for beach development, has recently released its list of projects to be funded from its 2016 budget, and Playa Martiánez is not on it.

The same old story we have heard for years then, but wait, and here is the twist, it is claimed the list is not exhaustive and the non-appearance does not necessarily mean that there is no funding available. I guess it is a case of believe what you will; my take on it is that the project wasn’t on the last few years budget lists and as a result nothing got done, is next year really going to be any different ,it’s wait and see time again.

Along the same theme, and I can’t remember if it was the same article or a different one, but it reported our Island’s government have carried out a survey of the coastline and in doing so have recognised a number of coastal regions which would benefit from some enhancements. I cannot remember, nor can I find the article, but the number of areas concerned totalled well in excess of 100 (131 springs to mind, but don’t quote me on it) of which Playa Martiánez is of course, the major priority.

A futile exercise if ever there was one, if Martiánez is the first priority, and has been for many years, I don’t hold out much hope for the remaining projects, well not in the short term anyway. Just a footnote to this story, Martiánez is a worthy cause, but as far as priority goes relation to our local coastline, I would have thought that the road that disappeared down the cliff and the houses in danger of doing the same, at Punta Brava must surely take precedent.

No overrun!

I am always guilty of commenting on project ‘overruns’. They put up these boards at the start of a project giving details of the constructors, architects etc. More importantly it also includes the expected completion date and the budgeted cost. Personally I never believe either, the first becomes blatantly obvious and the second, well, we would never get to hear of it.

Surely all projects overrun, time wise, at least. I always thought so, but just recently it has been announced, with the relevant amount of fanfare, a photo opportunity, which goes without saying, and a chance to see that blue jacket again (there must be more than one), that a project has been recently completed early, ahead of time. The sculpture by César Manrique in Lago Martiánez has been restored and the contractors finished ahead of schedule.

Call me a cynic if you like; it’s just the way my mind works, but if someone gave me in excess of €62,000 to rub down, repair and re-paint a lump of concrete, I think I would want to finish it as fast as possible, just in case they changed their mind. The monument was damaged by the sea, given its proximity I am not surprised, and my only hope is that they used waterproof paint.

Another thought, again this is just a product of my slightly warped way of thinking, but given its name Monumento al Mar and its positioning, do you not think that perhaps the sculptor always intended it to become ‘weathered’, then again what do I know about art just a few lines back I called it a lump of concrete.

Flood preventation

To finish, more recycled news, this time my new pet project, and one that will surely over run, if only there was a completion date, no board up for this one and the contractors appear to taking full advantage of the fact. What am I babbling on about? The flood prevention project for the Guacimara Urbanisation, of course, what else could it be?

Less than 100 metres from where I live, I have to drive through the project every day, so it is important to me. The task, a simple one, is to install pipes, under the road to take floodwater from the barranco beneath the road instead of across it. More than six months into the project, it started in February and to date they are only half way across the road, so will they finish before the next heavy rain, normally in November. I know in the grand scheme of things this is not of interest to anyone, other than those of us who live here, but I feel better for mentioning it again and who knows perhaps it will shame them into getting a move on, no, I don’t seriously think so.