Meeting with the mayor of Vera
So this is a them and us story again?
I moved to a seaside town in Devon when I was very young. When we arrived we were the outsiders, looked on with suspicion and mocked by locals. It soon became apparent that this was a rite of passage as we met other ex outsiders who a few years down the line had rode the storm and were now accepted as ?locals?. Of course that was never the end of it as there were still true ?locals?, born and bred in Devon and then at the top of the tree the families that had lived in the actual town since time began. As time went on new levels were added as 2nd homers from London arrived at the weekends, tourists flocked the town in Summer and an international school bought floods of foreign students. Each and every group collectively made my small town in Devon what it was but every group had its own agenda, it?s own idea of what was best for the town.
The point to all of this is that eventually it worked because we all accepted our differences, we happily identified that ?them and us? is not always a bad thing. It isn?t entirely ?politically correct? to do so but even if I lived in Spain for 25 years and spoke fluent Spanish I would still accept that I would never be a true ?local?. Don?t beat yourself up over this, you are still part of the ?community?.
In the situation at Palomares beach there are people who quite rightly class us as the ?outsiders? no matter how long we have lived in Spain and in fact even those amongst us who are Spanish but from another region are also included in this group. These local farmers have watched as their coastal wasteland has been slowly transformed and the barren beach they once drove on to and fished from has been occupied both physically and in essence legally by ?outsiders?. It has brought with it wealth and an improved infrastructure but at the cost of what is quite frankly a form of enforced occupation. So when any changes are discussed even if it is for the general improvement of the area then as in all occupations there will be a local resistance movement. Anything that threatens a right of way always enjoyed or a pastime shared by generations is going to be not only aggressively defended but also in some way supported by law enforcers who are sympathetic to the ?locals? and may even be part of that group themselves.
The key to this is to accept that we all have different agendas, different goals, different enjoyments and different ideas. To suggest that any such discussion regarding ?them and us? is in some way a negative is to suggest that we should ignore those differences and to do so is short sighted. Of course we are all one community but made up of very different components.
Paco from Palomares sees the beach as a place he can drive on to and fish of an evening after work, he will make a fire and BBQ his catch in tin foil. He has done this for 40 years since he was taken there by his father who had done this for 50 years before him. Recently there has been talk that the ?outsiders? want to block off the beach to cars and ban fishing in Summer.
Sandra from Peckham loves nothing more than strolling through clean sand, sun bathing and swimming in the Med. Sandra has been in Vera Playa for 6 months. She loves to stroll through the surf on a balmy Summers evening but cannot do this on the beach because of all the fishing that goes on. She also keeps finding tin foil, fire ash and disused fishing tackle in the sand every morning.
Miguel from Madrid has just paid a small fortune for his beachside villa on Playa Marques, advertised as the Desert Springs beach paradise but he now has a German Camper Van parked in front of his house 24/7 blocking his views. He doesn?t mind the fishing but would like the beach looking cleaner and cars and vans banned from driving on it.
Rolf from Stuttgart drives down from Germany every year and spends 3 months parked up on beaches around Costa Almeria, he has been visiting Palomares Beach since 1986 and loves the remote untouched and local feel of that part of the Costas. More recently he has become disillusioned at Sandra and Miguel and the fact that they are looking to turn this part of Spain into just another Costa Blanca. Over time he is being left with fewer beaches to park up and even though he has been visiting many years before Miguel arrived he feels he is being evicted for the simple reason that Miguel has more money and has the big flashy villa.
Everyone has a valid point but all you can do is support your own opinion and see if compromises can be reached with others. I for instance in this case would support retaining the track at the Cuevas side and create some kind of parking/camping area with BBQ and water facilities and allow fishing on the beach in this area. It would make sense if the Almanzora Group could fund this and as a result give something back to the locals in exchange for being able to really beautify the beach in front of Cala/Playa Marques (especially as they have quite a bit of property left that they need to sell).
A very well made point, Adrian. I think that part of the problem is that the Spanish have not caught up on the 'tidiness' agenda. I personally have no problem with people fishing on the beach after 8pm - I have a big problem with the detritus that some (or even most) leave, some of which represents a severe Health and Safety hazard - same goes for dogs. Nothing nicer than walking a dog on the beach before it's occupied by sun-worshippers - but only if you clean up after them (hopefully dogs, not sun-worshippers!).
Motor homes, we're keen caravanners and have many friends with motor homes - and many of them like to wild camp now and then, and do so very responsibly, cleaning up, not staying anywhere too long, disposing of waste carefully. Many other European countries are actually realising what valuable assets motor homes can be to the winter economy of resorts, providing areas where campers are allowed to stay over, some even sell permits, at reasonable cost, say, 3 to 5 euro a night, and provide waste disposal facilities. I'm sure, since the demise of the camp-site, that many of the businesses on Hotel St would welcome a wild-camp facility within walking distance.
Happy owners and winter residents at Vera Playa, our piece of Naturist Paradise.
Adrian your description is somewhat historic, social cultural, how people have different needs, norms and values.
Still you cannot ignore that Spain itself has now reached a level of development and understanding that a beach is considered especially a natural zone where people can enjoy the sun, sand and sea and which should be kept clean.
It is not considered a parking place or a place to camp. Spain has also a legislation to support this point of view (as any other modern country), the problem is just the execution and control of these rules, as not everyone want to live up to them. And that is just what's going wrong, because the police does not intervene.
For example two days ago a parked motorhome emptied its chemical toilet on the beach and drove off. And now already three days and nights there is white van ('home made motorhome') parked on the beach which starts its engine every 4 hours propably to recharge its weak battery.
I am in favour of a special area for motorhomes to camp 'wild' but not on the beach.
I hear what you are saying Erikk and I fully agree with you. At the end of the day though I do not feel you will resolve this issue by trying to get the Guardia/Policia to enforce the laws, they are far too lazy to do that (unless it is just before the Xmas party and there are on the spot fines involved). Take it from me it goes a lot deeper than ?Costa Laws?, the Spanish often don?t feel it is their place to interfere in the rights of the person. It is very much a cultural issue. In Northern Europe the laws are followed to the letter, in Southern Europe it is the luck of the draw.
All it would take is literally one lorry with huge rocks to just plonk them down strategically and then you have your solution. Get the go ahead to get this done and hey presto all problems solved, no fishermen, no campervans, less litter etc. One could even suggest that ?500 collected by residents could get this done without permission (let?s face it who is going to move the rocks once they have been dropped off the back of a crane truck?).
It wasn?t that long ago that we were told by 4 or 5 different local Spanish people that the promenade was running all the way down to Cala Marques from Garrucha, I always believed the flattened sand/track was being left as it is so that this work could take place. I?m assuming that went the same way as ?Little Venice?.
In terms of compromise why not build a camping/fishing area the other side of the trees towards Villaricos. Surely the fishing is as good there and the campers would feel more comfortable getting their tables and chairs out etc. This is all extra cost, although this EU coastal improvements grant seems to be free flowing at the moment.
I do not agree insulting the police - once again - especially not by tourist laying in their sunbeds or frequenting the local bars. Unless you are specialized in local politics, I suggest you will be a little more careful in your opinions to avoid the "them and us" story. We foreigners are guests in this country and please behave like that. Buying an expensive villa on the beach without the protection of a gated community or guard is bound to give trouble by criminal activities - both in this country or anywhere else in the world. The criminals to not discriminate: they also rob the locals.
I think it was three years ago that the neighbours of the Malibu villas (with the woorden porches) had put a number of big rocks at the entrance of the beach at the palomares/cuevas end, but one day later they were removed again with a shovel by the townhall.
So I hope that this solution of putting up rocks as a barrier comes up again, but this time as an initiative from the townhall as a result of the meetings with the mayor.
And Cornelia, the topic is not so much preventing criminal activities on properties, but to improve the beach area (beside that, Cala Marques is a gated community and the Malibu villas form indeed an open community), but as this an open forum I have to be a little bit carefull not to sound too restrictive with respect to the course of this discussion.....
I am merely stating that we all bought in a country with certain cultural perspectives, which obviously comes as a shock to a number of foreign owners. Forget the idea of changing a country overnight by a bunch of foreigners. Spain has changed a lot over the past 20 years and will continue to do so. On the bright side: where in the world can you live naturist in a fantastic climate? Living here for at least 15 years and still enjoying it, I can see a lot of positive changes. The rocks are not a bad idea, those in favor should go through legal channels.
Has there been any meetings with the Mayor as none seem to have been repotedand does anyone know when the next residents meeting will take place to discuss progress Thanks
Apartments Jasmine - www.vera-natura.co.uk
Virtually nothing happens in Spain during July and August due to ?holidays?and we?ve been unhable to get anything organised in the last few weeks. Luis is working full time +++++ at the moment, we back in the UK for nearly a month so nothing much is happening. If you want an update - pop into Puntonat during the evening when Luis is there, remember to take your Spanish speaking head with you as Luis?s english is virtually non existant
Any update on this after one and half year have passed?
yulia & sergey
Luis has been away for a few months. He is now back, so we?ll see if we can get something organised.