|Monday, April 12, 2021
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Local news, views, gossip and rumours 

The local public relations machine has been at it again. What shall I comment on? So much information has spouted forth recently that I am spoilt for choice.

Where shall I start? I know, the long-awaited new muni-cipal library. Its delay is always worthy of a few lines. Recent announcements have stated it will open. When you ask? Soon but no commitment to a fixed date; a sensible move, I think.

This time, the delay in its opening has been attributed to two reasons. The first and one we have heard before is the building was not complete. Once again, I can only say it looked fairly complete to me and has done since 2012. The second, a new one, but not unsurprising, is problems with suppliers. Always a good excuse to fall back on but from experience I have always found that most suppliers only become a problem when you neglect to pay them. However, I can report that furniture has arrived. I sneaked a peek one day when the door was open and the building has been fitted out, so now perhaps it is just a case of waiting for the arrival of the books.

So no opening date but the report did go on to detail what eventual visitors can expect to find within the doors. Arranged over three floors, there will be a children’s area with an adjacent parents’ chill- out zone, a reading room, a conference room, a student study area and space for exhibitions. Oh, and books, music and DVDs, of course, all of which will be security tagged using the latest technology. All areas will be covered by state-of-the-art security cameras. The library will be, it is stated, one of the most impressive and advanced libraries on the island. A bold statement; have you visited the TEA library in Santa Cruz? It certainly won’t be the largest.

One thing ominously missing from the report is the number of new jobs it will create. The existing library, all on one floor, only ever has one librarian on duty. Surely with three floors, more will be needed, or perhaps this explains the reason for so many security measures.

As one door opens, another one closes, or two actually. The nearby music school is to close imminently through lack of available funds and the Universidad Popular in nearby Calle Mazaroco is fated to follow shortly afterwards.

Some €80,000 has been earmarked for a footbridge across the Tafuriaste barranco. The road which crosses it becomes impassable on a couple of occasions each year when during extreme weather conditions, a raging torrent rushes down the barranco to turn the road into a river.

The work, which will be carried out this year, will be welcomed by local residents although I am sure rather than this temporary solution they would much prefer a per-manent solution, either a road bridge or drainage pipes to take the water beneath it. A not insignificant amount – €80,000 for a bridge which if sited in the most obvious place needs to span less than 8 metres – but I am not naive enough not to realise that many slices of that substantial pie will be eaten before they even consider buying raw materials.

Personally I think the money would be better spent im-proving both the approach and exit roads for the whole area. The narrow road which goes past the hospital, on which pedestrians fear for their lives and the much maligned potholed ‘track’ which is the only exit route, are both much worthier causes. The very presence of the hospital sited in the midst of a residential area only exacerbates the problem. Cars are “parked” everywhere, although “aban-doned” might be a better description. I am sure at the time there was a good ‘Tenerife’ reason for building it there and for not providing appropriate space for parking.

It’s good to hear, as once again the council are blowing their own trumpet. Puerto is winning the battle against car park touts and illegal street traders, it’s official. Is the system of simply issuing the fines really effective? Obviously not as most are to repeat offenders. Has there been a noticeable reduction in the number of handbags, wooden fruit bowls, jewellery and sunglasses being “hawked” around the town? And why has the same man been “parking” cars in the harbour area for years! Remove the opportunity; remove the crime. Hopefully Loro Parque’s decision to extend their car park will effectively resolve the problem of the gang of aggressive parking touts in Punta Brava.

The island’s government has contributed €500,000 to the Playa Martiánez redevelopment fund citing it as an essential project to complete the Puerto coastline once the Paseo San Telmo project, which will hopefully start soon, is finished. A tidy sum but it represents only a tenth of the prospective budget for the ambitious project which has been on the planners’ drawing board since 2006. The Coastal Department from central government who will be tasked with coughing up the bulk of the cash remain resolutely quiet so don’t expect to see much change in the area this year.

I have been eagerly awaiting the start of work on the new bus station. The land is already owned by the municipality and the finance is in place, or at least it was in previous announcements. What can go wrong? I serious thought this one was done and dusted and work would soon commence, so was somewhat saddened to read one of the town’s most prominent citizens as being quoted as saying he hopes the proposed new bus station will advance. Not exactly the news I was expecting to read.

The government’s em-bargo on all hotel develop-ment apart from 5 star es-tablishments has led to reports that a new 5 star hotel is to open in Puerto, but not a new build, better still, a refurbishment of an existing building. Now rumour has it the hotel formerly known as the La Chiripa, situated on the edge of Taoro Parque, could reopen this year under German ownership. Perhaps this will be the one.

More rumour mongering. There is a whisper circulating, suggesting the government’s is considering the return of the casino to its rightful home in the Taoro building. Many thought it should have never moved and see its current home in Lago Martiánez as a poor substitute. It would be good to see the old building put to use again, it has been empty far too long. I wonder if at the same time they are considering a third party company to manage it.