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Will 2016 bring more of the same for Puerto? 

Where did 2015 go? Or more to the point, what happened? Not globally, I mean locally, right here in Puerto de la Cruz.

This is the time of year I normally offer a brief summary of the past year’s events, happenings, and, of course, a particular favourite of mine, a rundown of the public works operations undertaken. This year is no different; however, the brief summary will be extra brief.

What did happen? The year started with so much promise. The San Telmo project finally managed to drag itself to a successful completion. Is it a success? I’ll not comment, I have probably said enough.

What else? There were a lot of promises, all the old favourites, the Bus Station, Playa Martiánez, and let’s not forget, Puerto’s new port. All this talk and no progress, but then it was election year, so nothing major was ever going to start before May, when we all went to the polls to elect the new team.

How did we fare in Puerto? About as well as could be expected with proportional representation, there were no outright winners. We were left with a coalition. Of the three main parties, ironically, the party with the least votes found itself in the position of power, whilst the party which actually received the most votes found itself in opposition. Makes you wonder why they bother with elections and ask the public who they want, doesn’t it? Still, history now, it seems so long ago, the new team at the town hall were quick to act and fulfil all its pre-election promises, if only.

I was optimistic; I allowed them a bit of slack to get their feet well and truly under the table and was then expecting them to come out all guns blazing. Do you believe me? There were a few announce-ments to test the water and, of course, the obligatory photo opportunities, but then you have to make sure you face becomes known, so everyone recognises you.

Apart from that I have never known a council to be so quiet. Not that quiet is necessarily a bad thing, if there is nothing new to say, then why say anything. So often in the past, previous regimes, have made promises, start dates on projects, which never came to fruition, and still haven’t. Talk for talk sake has left residents of Puerto in a state of apathy and there is a, I’ll believe it when it happens, feeling when it comes to new projects.

What is stalling all these worthy projects? Money, obviously, or the lack of it, a problem not unique to Puerto; the whole island suffers because of it.

Surely something interesting must have happened, apart from the usual festivals which happen year to year that is. I know, extra parking spaces have been created at the old bus station, hardly earth shattering, but more so than you think. Stand there as a couple of cars go through and the earth tremors. I would love to get access to the old underground car park, long condemned, to see just what is holding everything up, but then again perhaps I wouldn’t. Oh, and the new council has continued with the ‘Underground Wheelie Bin’ project, I had expected better of them, but maybe they were already committed.

Enough about 2015, it’s all history now, so let’s look forward to 2016, I’m positive it will be a more progressive year for the town. We know the next project, it has already been announced, the ‘Concrete Slab Makeover’ moves on to Calle Quintana. A pedestrian walkway, so, at least, no loss of parking spaces, just the promise of eight months, which will more than likely be a year, of upheaval to shop owners, residents and tourists alike.

All in the name of technology as fibre optic cables are installed, however, I am sure it will look much better when it’s completed and the grey slabs will blend in with the rest of the town. No firm start date yet, just ‘after Reyes’, though I should think they will wait until after Carnival, the logical thing to do.

Let me quickly mention the ‘big three’ again and then I am signing off on what must be my shortest article, I apologise, but for once I find myself lost for words, or perhaps bereft of anything practical to say, would be a more apt description.

The Bus Station, all the ‘correct’ paperwork has been submitted, simply waiting for the green light from central government, which could be a long time coming given the fiasco of the December general election.

Playa Martiánez is waiting for the Coastal Department to allocate funds to it in its annual budget. Although now it has been announced the project will be completed in phases, the usual ploy if you can’t afford to do it in one go, so maybe we will see some activity during 2016. Puerto’s New Port, still talking to possible private investors was the last I heard.

That’s it, Happy 2016.