“Shambolic” plaza just one example of growing unrest for future look of Los Gigantes
Residents in one of south west Tenerife’s prettiest areas are demanding consultations over the future of their communities.
The move comes after growing frustration surrounding the dowdy, unkempt state of the village square in the heart of Los Gigantes.
Bougainville square is home of the church and the meeting point for locals and tourists who enjoy sharing quality dining and confectionary experiences.
But, despite having more than 300,000 euros being spent on a complete refurbishment, locals say the square’s untidy appearance gives a bad impression of the village to visitors at the start of the tourist season.
I took these pictures on a fact-finding mission to visit the square after UK expats expressed mounting exasperation about its overall appearance.
And, as the pictures show, some of the areas look very untidy and in need of repair and sprucing up, despite the refurb only being a few years old.
Residents claim the square is the catalyst for grievances over what they see as the lack of a strategic plan for Los Gigantes and Puerto Santiago.
One respected long term resident, told me:” Various ad hoc developments are progressing, publicly promoted and privately, without us having had or seen a clear direction or Future Objective Plan we as a community are trying to work towards.”
“Santiago del Teide do have their ideas, but these do not necessarily coincide with the aspirations of local residents and all the businesses in the area. “
” Success in Los Gigantes and Puerto Santiago will only really be achieved when the community itself is fully consulted – not told – about their views as to the perceived future as they see it, and then be fully prepared to support the Ayuntamiento in its efforts to achive that objective.”
He went on:”Los Gigantes currently presents a poor advertisement, with its tatty square and side streets.
“We accept improvements are mooted for traffic restric-tion on these side streets, but to what purpose? “
“The centre or Bougainville Square is an environmental disaster, with its previous ‘character’ far more appro-priate than the present one, as tourist attraction its aimed to provide.
“The Council say they do appreciate the local economy, both directly and indirectly, depend upon tourism.
“And proposed recent development schemes tend to suggest Los Gigantes is seen as a more ‘up-market’ end of the tourist industry on the Island. “
” So what are we going to do to make Santiago del Teide more attractive to the better off and likely older sections of the international community, who can afford a bit of luxury, culture and special treatment?
“Santiago de Teide prides itself on its historic beginnings,”’he declared.
“But it not time that its coastal provisions also reflect this culture, craftsmanship and traditions of the Island?
” We need, after all, to be different and offer something special; the location is ideal, but the architecture-environmental fabric that exists at present falls far short of what is desired.”
And he pointed to the square as “an ideal example of Santiago del Teide’s inability to address its critical nature as central to the village of Los Gigantes, and the tourist perception.”
He declared:”Currently the square is a disaster. This was largely due to the limitation of the last administration and its leadership.
“The village was way down the pecking order, and funds were squeezed.”
And he and others urged the current mayor, Snr Emilio Navarro, to hold a “big conversation” with residents and businesses to determine the whole community’s prio-rities.
“It’s the same old problem, because local politicians think it would show weakness to involve ‘the people’ in the decision making process, consequently no heed is taken of our pleas.
“In fact the complete opposite is true,” he stated.
“The Mayor should now be confident enough in his Mayoral Office to explore ideas amongst everyone.
“If we can find a Future Development Plan everyone can support, that can then be used with full public mandate for funding bids.” Another UK resident said:”We are all very proud of thev village. It has a unique charm. But the square is an embarrassment.
“We appreciate there may be problems with the materials that can’t be altered. But surely it could be smartened up? It just looks so incredibly scruffy …
“It sets the wrong tone for the community,” he added sadly.