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Are we going to San Francisco or not? Concert venue stalemate 

It was in 2011 when the idea to redevelop Parque San Francisco into an all singing, all dancing concert venue was launched with all the usual fanfare.

About time, Puerto really needed such a venue, as indeed it still does five years on. You see, not everyone wishes to sit outside, especially in the winter months, besides which, the crashing waves can play havoc with what are so often pretty poor acoustics. Though the locals do have a solution, they simply turn up the volume.

Two years on, the project has gone through the tender process and the contract has been awarded. The plan was to raise the roof and to build a concert hall to seat upwards to 900 people, and the funding was in place, or so we were told at time. I was excited, the thought that Puerto was soon to have its own venue, a venue to rival those in each of the surrounding towns.

I must have been naive, or at the very least my judgement had been clouded by the prospect of a venue with a roof, which would surely be a more attractive proposition for some, (how should I say this politely) acts and artists with a better pedigree. If I am honest I have probably heard enough Latin music in recent years to last me a lifetime. And by heard, I mean from afar, often there is no need to be in the audience, anywhere in the town should suffice.

Alas it was not to be, the project was cast adrift and there it has remained caught in the doldrums ever since. I really should have known better, after all this was around the time when we were first told work was going to start on the new bus station. Is it true, do you think that all the pigs in the Puerto area really can fly?

Fast forward again, three more years to 2016 and the town of Puerto is busy trying to reinvent itself, to rebrand its image, to turn the town into a ‘yes we can’, 21st century, blue chip, holiday resort.

No mean feat and they are making inroads, but surely a bus station and a concert venue are prerequisites, without them it becomes a bit of a hard sell.

Note, I don’t bracket the new port project with the other two; yes it will be a worthwhile addition to the town, but it is not, in my opinion, crucial to its resurgence. Besides, any ‘usefulness’ from the port is a minimum of ten years away. Another project yet to get off the ground, having briefly resurfaced in recent years it has returned to the hidden depths and will most probably remain there only to come up for air again in time for the next local elections. Another case of airborne jamon serrano , I fear.

Of course, some of the blame for our project delays, in fact much of it must be levied at Madrid. They are ultimately at the top of the food chain, the decision makers, the holders of, with a tight grip on, the purse strings.

So whilst they continue to bicker over who is going to be the next head honcho, the rest of the country is forced to play wait and see. I read recently that 40 per cent less has been spent on capital projects since the government unravelled than in previous years, who knows some of that under spend may have otherwise winged its way here. While the fiasco continues Spain has what the British press like to call a ‘caretaker’ government, if that’s the case perhaps it’s time for a new broom, one that sweeps clean.

I am raking over old ground again! Is there any point to it? I am beginning to wonder myself. I started writing this because the Parque San Francisco project has recently reared its head again, but I seem to have strayed and gone off the rails a bit. Never mind let me get back on track.

The story was in one of the local Spanish news-papers, one of those long drawn out, repeat everything two or three times, reports they are quite well known for. As I said, it was about Parque San Francisco, a building which coincidently I had been thinking about recently as I have noticed it is back in use.

No, not for cultural events, those days are long gone; currently it is being used as a builder’s yard, site office and mess room for the builders laying more grey slabs in calle Quintana. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain, as not only will it delay their work, they could end up with soggy sandwiches as the roof leaks like a sieve.

The story, once I’d translated it and cut out the dead wood wasn’t exactly ground breaking or even that interesting. The gist of it was that there was to be a local meeting to discuss if the San Francisco project should form part of the agenda for discussion at a forthcoming meeting of some quango or another relating to culture. If so, it was reported, if it was discussed this in turn would mean there would need to be further meetings. That’s it, is it newsworthy, or not, you decide?

However, I sympathise with the writer of said article, I suspect he is their local correspondent who has been scratching about searching for anything to write about Puerto. I know the feeling, I am in exactly the same boat, and each month I sit at this keyboard wondering what on earth there is to say. I can’t keep churning out stories about the town’s love affair with the concrete slab, as like the slabs themselves the subject has become dull and boring. The same goes for the town’ continuing battles with the nonconforming litter louts or fly trippers, a storyline which at the end of the day is just a load of rubbish. Although, after all is said and done that is exactly what I am about to do.

I have this thing, a fad, at the moment, about recycling, a passing phase, maybe, who knows. So, where once I was quite content just to throw my plastic bag of household waste into the nearest green wheelie bin, I now sort it and it is deposited in the relevant recycling bin. Don’t think for one moment that I have suddenly become a, save the planet, tree hugger. Nor to be honest am I totally convinced that all my carefully sorted rubbish doesn’t end up in a hole in the ground. No, the reason for my recycled enthusiasm is simply explained, as having recently moved the recycling bins are much closer.

Now I have become one of those most annoying of people, a reformer (smokers who have quit are by far the worst) I notice things around the town which I think are wrong. This town has committed to recycling more, to do so they rely on the help of both residents and tourist alike. If they want help then the best way, in my opinion is to keep things simple and make them obvious

Last time I wrote favourably about the new beachside recycling bins, but since then I have had time to reflect. Don’t get me wrong, they are still a great idea and there should be far more of them dotted around the town, but have you really looked at them. I have and have compared them to those in other towns. Don’t you think that rather than making it obvious what goes in each bin they say more about the sponsor? If you have to read the small print then it is less likely to happen, make the message big and bold.