GOB matters. August 2015

Visits: 141

GOB matters is a section of Roqueta, a monthly magazine in English, written by Chita Laurie.

The Works to the Main Road

Naturally, everyone is hoping that the newly elected Council will be able to redirect the works to the main road between Mahon and Ciutadella and not go ahead with unnecessary and inappropriate macroroundabouts. At the time of writing the Council has agreed to halt the building of the roundabouts for the summer.

According to the Menorca Es Diari the Council is immersed in secret negotiations with the union of construction companies concerning the modification of the plans for the most controversial roundabouts on the first section of the main road – that between Mahon and Alaior. The intention is not to impede the works nor to take measures which would significantly alter the costs to the public purse. However, the Council, under the presidency of Maite Salord, requires time during the summer to study proposed changes and evaluate the legal consequences of its decisions.

The implication is that some works will continue along some parts of the road but not those in the contentious areas around La Argentina, Rafal Rubi or Biniai. In any case, Biniai had been postponed until September by the previous government. Negotiations must also be made with Madrid to extend the deadline for works to be finished from the end of December to the Spring.

On 21 July 2015, the new President, Maite Salord, of the Consell Insular (the Island Council) had a meeting with members of the pressure group, known as the Plataforma de Ciudadanos, who represent all those who oppose the project of the main road as started by the last local government, the Partido Popular (PP) and who seek greater transparency in governmental actions. At this meeting, Maite Salord explained what they were doing to try to modify the project which she assured them has been her priority since the first day of her mandate. Extremely detailed research was being carried out on the very restrictive legal regulations of the contract with especial reference to the contentious intersections of Biniai, La Argentina and Rafal Rubi. The results will be made known in a few weeks. In addition, the willingness of the constructors to apply modifications must be agreed. This Council has also called for a meeting with the Ministerio de Fomento (Ministry of Public Works) in Madrid to consider and analyse the state of the works, and to postpone the completion date.

Everyone at the meeting agreed on the unnecessary consumption of land as well as the cost of millions of euros of the current project which is incomprehensible in these economic times and the importance of finding new solutions to reflect these considerations.

Green Water Filters

The problem of water shortage is ever present in Menorca. Aquifers cannot forever sustain the need for domestic or farm use as the water table gets lower and becomes contaminated by sea water. The cost of the desalination plant in Ciutadella and not connecting it to supply the island is an outstanding scandal.

Old cisterns and water collection areas which make use of rain water have been restored in the Alaior and Mercadal regions some specially designed with ramps for wild animals to drink from them without the risk of drowning.

GOB is involved in installing green filtres for purifying residual domestic water from houses, rural tourist establishments and farms by making use of Menorca’s indigenous aquatic plants. These remove the nitrates and leave the water purified so it can then be stored or used for watering and outside cleaning. It is without smells since the water being purified is in continuous movement becoming oxygenated within the gravel bed, and as it never comes to the surface mosquitoes cannot breed. Not only useful, saving money, reducing nitrate pollution and benefiting the environment, they are also very attractive with their tall bullrushes and yellow flowers. GOB has developed the special techniques for constructing the filtre beds in Menorca with NATURALEA, a company in Barcelona with enormous experience in natural systems for purifying water and also the recovery and conservation of natural open spaces. Email Es Viver, the GOB nursery garden for installation advice and tailoring them to your requirements. esviver@gobmenorca.com

The Wildlife Recuperation Centre

A visit to the Lithica Quarries near Ciutadella is fascinating but now, open to the public, is the Wildlife Recuperation Centre run by GOB which is in one of the quarries owned by Lithica and can be entered from the main Quarries. It is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 6 pm to 9 pm. The entrance cost which includes the visit to the Lithica Quarries is 7 euros for adults, 3.50 euros for over 65s, free for children up to 10 years old and 4.50 euros each for groups of 12 or more. The visit to the Recuperation Centre is guided and visitors will be shown birds and animals being cared for until they can be released back into the wild. Some never recover and live in special cages or even with volunteers in their homes.

The Centre is run by volunteers and professional vets give their advice free – surgical equipment has to be paid for. Since it opened in 1988 it has cared for over 14,000 animals. The Centre is always in need of money and you can help by paying for a square metre of the area for 50 euros or by making a donation.

If you find an injured wild animal then you can telephone 971 35 07 62 or 619 834 597 for help and advice on where to take the animal.

The Centre is used for environmental education and school children are welcomed. By being in touch with the animals they develop an awareness of wildlife the philosophy being “to know is to love”.

As usual, more information can be found on the GOB website, www.gobmenorca.com