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July 17th 2008

Budget airline Ryanair has announced six new routes from Stansted to winter sun destinations including: Fuerteventura (Canaries), Ibiza, Tenerife, Malaga, as well as Katowice (Poland) and Basel in Switzerland from December 21st. However, it also revealed details of its planned reduction in flights this winter. Stansted Airport's largest airline today (Thursday) announced that it will have 28 aircraft operating over the winter, compared with 36 aircraft last year. This 25 per cent reduction will mean an approximate 14 per cent reduction in the number of weekly flights from more than 1850 per week last year to just under 1600 this year. Ryanair blamed the cut back on Stansted being the most expensive of the airline's 28 bases and the fact that oil prices have risen to $140 a barrel.

The vote of censure against the mayoress of La Oliva, Claudina Morales, was passed last week. She has been replaced by Rosa Fenrandez of the Socialist party in an unlikely coalition with the PP (similar to the Conservative) party. This has caused a political uproar, with resignations from many  CC members in other political posts. Some believe that this is just the start and that it will lead to similar actions against the national Canarias Consortium throughout the Canaries.
The first activity of the new mayoress  was to sign the decrees of the composition of the new government and the delegation of power. The newly appointed Governing Board is composed of the first deputy mayor, Domingo Gonzalez Arroyo (PP), who will also will take over the councils of Agriculture, Animals and Fisheries Industries, Surveillance of the Beaches, Civil Protection and Fire Fighting. His companion Vila Luis Rodriguez will be the second deputy mayor and councilman of Urbana, Housing, Culture and Heritage. Maximino Mendez (PSO) will be the third deputy mayor and occupy the councillorships of Works and Services, Parks, Municipal Machinery and cleaning beaches, while Nereida Rodriguez Mendez (PP) will be the fourth deputy mayor and councillor of Finance, Revenue Management, Recruitment, supplies and Heritage. The popular Evelin Gomez will be responsible for Sports, Trade and Markets, and Local Development, while Public Health will be chaired by Hanna Souweileh (PP). The areas of Fiestas and Youth fall into the hands of Margarita Santana (PP) and Transport, Technology and Environment to Lazaro Reyes (PP). Rosa Fernandez will assume, apart from the responsibilities of the council, the powers of the areas of Equality and Social Welfare, New Technologies and Administration.

Carlinhos Brown did not disappoint the 9,000 spectators who attended the first evening of the festival Fuerte En Music, sponsored by La Caja de Canarias, which took place last weekend on the beach at La Concha, in El Cotillo. The artist, one of the greatest exponents of the Brazilian music scene is widely known for his social work against poverty. Brown captivated the thousands of spectators accompanied by 14 other musicians on stage. Other acts included Buche de Guirre and Galician Mercedes Peon, in addition to click Ragnar DJ and DJ Telephunken, all of them introduced by the presenter of the event, actress Maria Hernandez. The interpretation of classic swing by Buche of Guirre, in the style of the legendary Gypsy jazz artist Diango Reinhardt, impressed the audience which was still in the process of arriving during the his, the first performance.

A tourist on Fuerteventura who was locked out on his hotel balcony with his wife plunged to his death after climbing over the railings to get help. John Williams, 58, of Govilon, South Wales, lost his footing as he walked along a ledge in the dark. His wife Gaynor, 57, was freed by hotel staff after she called her son in the UK who raised the alarm. John's body was found on a stairwell at the hotel an inquest heard. The BT engineer had shut the balcony door to keep out mosquitoes. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

We may soon be able to order our groceries online in Fuerteventura. HiperDino have announced that they are planning to take advantage of the internet market and produce a website which will be available in both Spanish and English.

Parents of schoolchildren on the island are concerned that the start of the next school year in September will be problematic. A survey of the sites allocated for school buildings has revealed that many are well behind schedule for completion and will not be ready to house the new intake. The main problems are in the Puerto del Rosario, Pajara and Antigua municipalities. A demonstration is planned for the 10th September to highlight the issue.

The Mountain of Monteagudo, in the town of Antigua, could host the first road tunnel on the island with a length of two kilometers. The Government is studying the possibility of using  this type of infrastructure for the north-south autovia, in the stretch between the airport and Pozo Negro. This is because the proposed route of the road will go through a Special Protection Area Bird ( Zep) which is home to the Hubero and other steppe birds. The north-south autovia is included within the plan signed between the Government of the Canary Islands and the Ministry of Public Works in January 2006 and provides an important link that will connect Corralejo with Morro Jable with a dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction. Currently only the first phase of the project has been completed, a 9 mile stretch in the south of the island.

The mayor of Puerto del Rosario, Marcial Morales, has condemned  the long queues that occur each morning at the premises of Commissioner of the National Police Corps (NPC) for the processing of national identity documents. He has called for immediate action to improve the situation as it reflects badly on the services of the island.

Work has restarted on the new cruise pier in Puerto del Rosario. The construction was halted for 7 months due to disagreements between the developers and the port authorities. It is now expected to be completed in six weeks, in time for new cruise ships to stop here in October.

July 3rd 2008

In times of economic crisis old bugbears raise their heads. The oil company, Repsol are seeking government permission to explore for oil in  a zone located some 60 kilometres to the east of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. A dispute has arisen because these waters are being claimed by Morocco which questions Spain’s jurisdiction over the area. Regional governments are concerned that the majority of the revenues will be snatched away by Madrid and Repsol, leaving the Canaries with nothing little except the mess.
Last week the regional minister for trade and industry, Jorge Rodríguez, stated that the islands “have the right to receive part of the benefits if there is treasure buried beneath their waters.”
The Canarias government is concerned about three issues; the impact on the environment, on tourism and its anticipated share of the proceeds.
“We want to know what guarantees there would be for the protection of our environment we are going to demand the utmost on that score,” he said and added that before any drilling gets underway the regional government wants to know about it and to be able to evaluate the possible impact any eventual offshore oil industry would have on tourism. “Everyone in this region gains their livelihood directly or indirectly from tourism,”

The island of Fuerteventura is aiming to attract elite sports tourism. A private initiative has taken the first steps to building an Olympic pool at the Playitas Grand Resort. The new pool, opened last Thursday, hosted some illustrious visitors: the German team that will participate in the Olympic Games. The pool is 50 meters long, and has eight lanes, an underground gallery for observing swimming technique and seats for about 300 people.

Fuerteventura is undergoing an energy crisis. Ramon Rodriguez, director of Unelco-Endesa said "There is clearly an inadequate network that will not last the year." Santiago Marin, head of electricity networks in the Canary Islands said "The relationship between installed power and peak power demand expected this year is about 1.2, well below the value of 1.7 in Planning and which is considered reasonable." Population growth that outstrips provision has been blamed for this. This on an island that probably has one of the best sources of renewable energy in the world, is a ridiculous situation. New houses are being built with electric water heaters that rot after eighteen months because of the acidity of the water, instead of solar systems that will not drain the power supply and that are built from more resistant materials. Duh, give out some grants for people to transfer and see how that affects the situation!

The mayor of Tuineje has backed down to the wishes of the people and has stated the council will oppose strongly any proposals for a new power plant in the municipality.

If the wind is in the right direction, most of the north of the island will be able to hear the music of the festival in El Cotillo this weekend, Apparently Carlinhos Brown, Amparanoia, Cheikh, Oojami and Mercedes Laborer, will be outputting more than 75,000 watts of sound power. For those of you that attend this free festival, there will be two giant screens either side of the stage. Forty chemical toilets will be provided for the event.

One, perhaps unintended, effect of the actions of La Oliva Council, is the decrease in students needing education in the municipality. Research suggests that the number of children requiring education will fall by around 100 next year. The same research suggests that although many people have moved off the island due to the economic crisis, there has also been a move of families from La Oliva to Puerto del Rosario municipality. Which probably means that the new schools that have been built without the foresight to actually provide teaching staff for them will go the way of the social club on Tamaragua and be left to rot and ruin.

The APMUN has initiated a sanctioning process against “a serious” breach of the Law of Residues of the Canary Islands, for the dissemination of dangerous chemicals and non dangerous items of industrial character like scrap iron. The violator now has a term of fifteen days to argue against the allegations or they will be fined over 750,000e.

The government of the Canary Islands has published new regulations allowing for the introduction of up to seven new racetrack gambling facilities at the islands’ popular tourist resorts. This includes Fuerteventura.


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