|Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Will new council bring teamwork for Puerto de la Cruz? 

We have just finished ‘Fiestas de Julio’ in Puerto de la Cruz , a title with a lot of promise I always think , the reality as al-ways was  slightly lacking  in content, apart from the ‘Embarcación de Virgin del Carmen , of course. It is the highlight of the town’s social calendar, an event that attracted over 20,000 spectators this year, according to the local press, that is. Oh don’t get me wrong there have been other things happening, but they all paled in insignificance, unless you are into processions and parading icons through the streets, there was plenty of that going on. Still what it did offer was a chance for the new team in the town hall to put themselves about a bit and get their faces known.

The last administration placed great store in social media and used it at every opportunity to always be in the public eye, so I was interested to see how the new team would embrace this medium, a useful tool in the right hands I’m sure most people will agree. So far, I have to say their posts have been more informative, part and parcel of their election promise to be more transparent. Early days yet, but I hope it continues. And the posts have been supported with more relevant images. No me, me, me, look at me, I was there, more look at us, we are the team working with you. Sometimes less is more when the alternative is overkill.
Ok, so ‘Fiestas’ got a bit carried away, posted videos at every opportunity throughout some of the recent events , almost a blow by blow account of what  was happening leaving nothing for one’s imagination. I don’t like videos, or far worse, live streaming, the vast majority are so amateur, what with the shaking hands, shouting in the background, the back of someone’s head suddenly filling the screen, very interesting views of the ground or somebody’s feet, or suffering the feeling of sea sickness from the erratic swaying movements of the images. However, this time I will cut him some slack, will chalk it up to new boy enthusiasm,  much as I dislike videos, the majority, and there were many, were quite pro-fessionally done.
I think that first impressions count and are long re-membered, getting it wrong can have a lasting effect, so I was reassured to see that our new mayor had learned from mistakes made by his predecessors and has quite a varied wardrobe.  I have only recently stopped having nightmares about that ‘blue jacket’ from 4 years ago, it was everywhere, in every photo, you couldn’t escape from it, it felt like it was following you around. I know it is not the true meaning of the term ‘wardrobe malfunction’  but somehow it seems appropriate , the malfunction in this case being that the  jacket had far too many outings.
By now of course we know the responsibilities of the new team, their roles are not quite as departmentalised as in previous administrations. There is a lot of overlap with more than one councillor overseeing most areas. For me implies their intention is they will be working as a team. There will be no castles within the town hall, no pulling up the drawbridge to keep others at bay, no bunker mentality. This coalition is making it clear from day one that they intend to be a cohesive unit.
So what have they done?  Is there anything I can have a good old whinge about?  Not really, but then it is early days yet and I’m sure they are still getting the feel for their new roles. On a positive though, one or two issues appear to have been resolved, issues that had been hanging around for a while. For one, Lago Martiánez is now completely open. The previous administration had 6 months to get the storm damage repaired, but ob-viously had other priorities.  Tick that box, one good deed done, credit to the new administration.
Secondly, the stone stack-ing, cairns, standing stones, call it what you will, behind Castillo San Felipe near Playa Jardin. This practise has been a bone of contention for the last few years. Environmentalist have been against it, citing the damage that it causes, tourists, on the whole, have been in favour of it, with Google listing it as one of Puerto de la Cruz’s  tourist attractions. Previous administrations had been sitting on the fence, but now the stones have been dis-mantled. I almost said problem solved, but it is not quite, new stones stacks have since appeared, been removed, and been built again. There could be a running battle for some time yet until one side gets tired of it.
Lastly, or at least my last example, the Iders  building, for those who do not recognise the name, it is an apartment building that was evacuated in the 90’s as it was in danger of collapse.  Needless to say, it is still standing and it is an eyesore. There has been talk of resolving this problem for years, but little has happened.  Our previous Mayor spoke of a meeting with owners, which failed to materialise.  A tough nut to crack this one, yet still the new team think they are up to the challenge, I wish them luck, it is time something was done. I noticed recently that metal props put there to support balconies have rusted right through, they are supporting nothing, certainly makes you wonder just how dangerous the building was all those years ago.
That’s enough about the new town hall team as I wouldn’t want to be accused of hero worship. Still even I wouldn’t be too critical of them this early in their tenure. Unlike members of the opposition party who have already been quite vocal in their con-demnations.  I put that down to either sour grapes or to having too much time on their hands.
I treated the news that the new bus station would not be finished by the end of July as promised with complete indifference. I am not going to moan, we have waited so long now  I am of the opinion of when it’s done it will be finished, hopefully.  The latest delay of a further month is not the developers fault; they are waiting for the electricity company to run a cable across the site that needs to be buried 1.5 metres deep. Until that happens they cannot lay tarmac on the site.  So the new finish date is the 30th August, until then the buses will continue to run and people will still be able to get from A to B.
Another announcement of a completion date, this time the calles San Juan/Iriate make-over which developers say barring any unforeseen pro-blems will be finished by 15th October. A slight delay from the original date but at least it gives business owners and local residents who have had to endure the works a date to look forward to; it most probably can’t come soon enough. I wonder where the next cosmetic makeover will be.
That’s it for now, shorter than usual, when I’m not moaning I have far less to say.  Giving praise and credit doesn’t come easily to me and takes far fewer words. Normal services will resume next time, either that or I will need to increase my vocabulary of words for being nice.