My email

My email

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Andalucia Day Zurgena

I believe the fiesta for Andalucia Day has been suspended due to the weather forecast. If I hear differently I will post.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Explanation & Opticians

Firstly I have received quite a few emails questioning why the TH are looking at things such as Bowling Green, street plans, Gymnasium etc when we have such a problem with the roads, sewerage etc. So I feel I need to explain why this is. Firstly there are many different avenues for Finance in this part of Spain for different projects and this is dependant on what the project is.

Secondly, I should explain, to those who may not have read all the previous posts, projects such as the Bowling Green, the resurfacing of Avenida Poetas etc, were approved, following inclusion in manifestos, years ago and submitted to the Diputacion of Almeria for approval and who agreed to fund them. The process then for such projects is out of the hands of the TH and can only be dealt with by the Diputacion who are the responsible authority for issuing the contracts. My experience has been that it takes at least 2 to 3 years for them to issue the contracts and get the projects completed.

Secondly the Bowling Green project is already half completed (the base and surrounding wall is installed) and this project, once complete, should be revenue generating. Which is something we could do with.

Regarding finance we have very little money, which is why we can only look at small projects such as the street plans etc. As an example, the construction companies, who removed the collapsed mountain from Zurgena did so without receiving a cent and will wait until we get the funds to be paid (could take months). This is a process that we cannot have them continually accept. We have submitted almost all our files to help the Diputacion raise IBI bills however, they are so far behind, hardly any got issued at the last round (last October). So no more money coming in from that source yet.

The money required for repairing the roads, sewerage etc from the storms amounts to 6 million euros and we have submitted claims, supported by pictures and other evidence, and we continually press to get this money. Again it is out of the hands of the TH we are waiting for the Diputacion to release the money so that these works can be completed.

I hope this helps then understanding of the difficulties we have.

Lastly and just as a recommendation (something I dont do lightly). My glasses lense fell out the other day and so, whilst shopping in Huercal Overa, I popped into Salas Opticas, near to Mercadona, to ask them to to replace the screw and lense. This they did immediately. I apologised and said I only had notes. She told me there was no charge. I then asked if I could have a new glasses case. She gave me a choice of about 6 I picked one and again she said there would be no charge. Don't think I could have got that in UK. She spoke very good english and I was very impressed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

WiFi, Bowling and Andalucia day

Just a quick update re the above.

1. The WiFi I had another conversation with Candido about the problems with the Wifi and he said that another problem he has discovered and one which he needs to discuss with the technical guy, is the fact that if a individual is receiving the connection through a 2.4 aerial, they are also more likely to be effected by another user whose connection is very slow. The system he explains will concentrate on trying to up the rate of the slowest connection to compensate it. I am going to circulate each who complained and identify how many are connecting using the Airmax 5.0 connection to see. Candido also said he would be happy to test a connection with an Airmax 5 aerial to  the most common complainer to try and prove his point. So I have this in hand.

Re the Bowling Green it transpires that the finance for this has been signed off by the Diputacion and I met with Candido to discuss our desires with regard to how to set the location up and the facilities that we would want at the green. Kiko, Candido, Andreas and I visited the site and agreed what we needed to do. The process from here, is that the Diputacion have to contract the company to do the work. As we want a proper job doing we will put them in contact with the companies we know of who have done good jobs elsewhere in Spain. I have provided details to Kiko for forwarding to the Diputacion in order that they understand the complications are needs for a good green.

It is Andalucia Day this Thursday (bank holiday) and although it has not been completely decided yet it will probably follow the previous years format of a paella, drinks and dancing at the Renfe but when confirmed I will post. The weather forecast is not promising at all but at this stage preparations are still going ahead although nit may be inside at the Renfe building.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday 22nd February Zurgena

As agreed I met with Candido this morning regarding the complaints about the WiFi reception. To ensure his testing was accurate he brought his laptop to my house so that he could use my AirMax aerial. We then spent an hour doing tests.

Once he had connected his computer he logged onto each and every persons account who had complained about the connection speed or the disconnects. He showed me, quite clearly, that the issue was NOT the Zurgena WiFi. Every individual users connection was at the speed contracted. We checked about 12 in number, who were contracted at speeds of 1, 2, 3 and 4 megs and all were actually connecting at that speed. He also was able to show from his software the length of time of uninterrupted connections which ranged from 4 to 18 days for all those connections. These of course do not take account of electrical power cuts.

He then explained that that was the reason he wanted to show me, through my aerial, that he was correct when he told me, that he thought, there was no problem with the connection speed. He further explained that if anyone is using one of the smaller square aerials, these only connect at a radio frequency (or some such measure) of 2.4 whereas the Airmax aerials connect at 5.0 and do not suffer from interference. So if you are paying for 3 meg and not getting that or having disconnections then the probable cause is interference from things such as microwaves, mobiles or other electrical equipment which is on the same frequency as 2.4. The TH does still have a few of the Airmax aerials but Greg can also get hold of them if anyone needs one. I believe they are about 40 or 45 euros. He is aware that there is, an occasional, external issue which causes drop out outside of this scenario, and he is trying to get the leading local technical chap, from Huercal Overa to check that out asap. In relation to the small increase in the price this is due to the TH having to levy IVA on the monthly charge.

Following the raid by the Guardia Civil on the bingo at La Vida, and my question regarding how charity events can raise money through similar events, I asked Manolo the secretary how they could go about such things without falling foul of the law. Manolo stated that no one needs permission to hold such an event for a charitable purpose, if they were properly registered as a charity, but they should inform their local TH a day or two in advance and have documentary proof to show that no personal profit was being made.

I also asked about a situation that an expat had found himself in at Palaces regarding a fire. This individual had witnessed a fire on land close to his property. A neighbour had called the Fire Services who attended and extinguished the fire. He then received a bill for 102 euros for the Fire service although the fire had  not been on his land or been called for by him.  I was told that this commonly happened in Spain and if it happens to you then you should ask an abogado or similar to respond explaining the situation and that you do not see why you should have any responsibility for the cost.

I also asked about the waste land between Calle Sierra de Hornachuelos and Cazorla (Pool Bar area), where the TH staff have been clearing this past week, and told Candido that the residents would even be willing to pay to get some membrane down to stop the weeds etc continually growing. He said that it was his intention to get that done this time and done by the TH.

We also amended the street plans to show the locations for the siting of these to be opposite La Vida for Cuesta de los Pinos, by the Bar Camioneros for Los Carasoles and by the fork in the road at the top of the hill when driving up to the Pool bar area for that map.

Kiko told me that the contract for the operation of the gym at la Alfoquia should be awarded by the 5th March. They have had 3 offers and this will be decided before then.

There is to be another organised walk (by the Diputacion) which will be held from Zurgena on the 17th March. I will publish more details as soon as I can get them.

I have also been asked by Kiko to supply the details fo the companies who were interested in quoting for the Bowling Green, so we are obviously still considering including that in our budgetary plans!

As usual any questions or issue arising from this blog just email me at the above address.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday 20th February

Called in this morning, although I did not expect to see Candido due to the trial, however discovered that the case was adjourned AGAIN. This time until June due to one of the solicitors having chemo therapy treatment. I hope to speak with him Friday re some issues.

The street plans are coming on well and we may be able to take them to the printers this week.

In light of the Guardia's raid on La Vida Bingo event I asked whether there was scope for dispensation when such an event is held for charity with no personal profit. The consensus was that there is a way by which the TH can issue authority for such an event if the monies raised can be accounted for but we need to discuss with the secretary Manolo and he was in today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Los Higuerales to Zurgena Road

Sorry for late notification just been told that the men working on a part of the road between Los Higuerales and Zurgena is to be closed from 0800 today until tomorrow morning.

If there is to be any other road closure I am told I will be informed so that I can notify people through the blog. The Polizia Local have notified most of those residents to whom it will have most effect.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday 13th Feb Zurgena

At last I managed to sit down with Candido today for over an hour to go through things. I have listed below the issues that have been raised by you and the answers/situation regarding these below.

1. WiFi. I know many of you have contacted me regarding the connection dropping and less speed than paid for, however, when I raised this with Candido he said he thought all the issues except for some 10 to 15 individuals had been sorted. He said that as far as he knew as long as a good aerial was being used and the 3 meg package being paid for there should be no problem. I told him that I was not getting my 3 megs and was using the recommended aerial. he said that it would be best if he could test my signal through his email so we will try and do that next week and see what that throws up.

UPDATE, Due to the many emails and contacts I have had re this point it is obvious that the problem is more widespread than even I thought. I will try and get hold of Candido on Monday before he goes to court but if that fails we will have to fall back to the Friday thing, but I will make sure he knows the situation tomorrow in case there is anything he can do in the meantime, though I doubt it.

2. Result of Coiurt Case against Candido and others last month. I had been told by the TH that this case had been adjourned but others had told me that the technico had done a deal. I asked for clarification. It transpires that the case was adjourned as one of the defendants had turned up without a solicitor and that was why it was adjourned, however, the fiscal had started to address the court and explained that the technico (architect named as a defendant) had agreed to take some responsibility. Candido  does not think this is a good sign. In return for agreeing to plead guilty he will only get a fine. We have reasons which we think caused him to take this course of action but cannot publish.
Candido will be in court again regarding this case next week Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. Then again with a case from Carasoles first week in March and then again mid march for a case from la Alfoquia.

3. The green area between Calle Sierra de Cardena and Sierra Hornachuelos which has a pile of Dizus rubbish. Candido informed me that that area will be tackled in the next few weeks they are working their way around La Alfoquia (pool bar area) and that area is next in line for cleaning. Certainly within the next month.

4. Two people have been asked by agents acting for them in their efforts to sell their houses to obtain an Expediente de Fuera de Ordenacion. I told Candido that I thought this seemed a stupid thing to be asking for and he agreed. Why would we, as a TH be issuing certificates to say that a property was outside of the area which we intended to include in our plans!!

5. Avenida Poetas. I asked what the situation was regarding this project as a number of people from the area had emailed asking why it had not yet been done. Candido confirmed that we had been succesfukl in getting it in the 2010/2011 budget for projects but that we are still awaiting the diputacion (who have the respoinsibility) to issue the contract. I asked if we could put any pressure on to speed it up and as old that the TH does every so often but the issue of the contract for this work is entirely down to the Diputacion we have done all we can and just have to wait.

6. Bowling Green. This will have to be argued for in the forthcoming budget negotiations which Candido thinks may be difficult with our coalition partners. This budget should be agreed and put before Pleno in the next month. He envisages difficult negotiations.

7. Some people have asked about kennels and whether they are licensed. If anyone is operating a kennels for profit, they need to have all sorts of official approval and tax accounts. The THs advice is if anyone considers such a business to be operating then they need to record their suspicions at the Town Hall in Spanish and he Policia Local will enquire.

8. The discussions that took place at the last meeting I was at where I lost the plot were clarified to me as a discussion about payment for the solicitors services and they have now been paid up to the end of December last year. We need to keep them onside to ensure representation for all of us during the ongoing cases.

9. The problems with the electricity and street lights. The TH electrician has been on holiday and this combined with the severe winds have led to a number of connections breaking and needing attention. He is  ow working his way around the area repairing these points.

10. Road to Ballabona from Palaces. The Diputacion have responsibility for this road and have a budget for both the temporary maintenance and the repair of this road but again that is in their hands.

11. There is no progress re the PGOU to report other than the Hydrological report is being completed.(I thought it had already been done) and will be submitted soon.

12. Sewerage plant at Cuesta de los Pinos. Again we are waiting for the funds to repair this. We have submitted an estimate of nearly €400,000 to repair the pipework and the plant. The TH at Antas and Pulpi together with all the villages of the valley are applying pressure to get these funds released as it is now accumulating waste in other areas. Candido said we needed also to argue for funds to cover this in case we do not get the funds from regional government and have to do something ourselves. Again will be subject to discussions in budget negotiations.

13. Track between Palaces and Solas. This track has had no attention since the floods and affects a few residents who used to use it. I told Candido about it previously but with all the more important routes it was overlooked. He promised to try and get someone to see to it even though there is no money we may be able to impose on a local builder. The road leveller machine has been taken away by the Diputacion and is no longer available to us.

14. The street plans are coming on well and I hope we can take them to the printers in the next week or so.

That was all from tday. As usual if you have any queries or comments please email them to the above email address.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Street Plans

Well, at least I am getting responses from Luis re the street plans. He has been working on them and has produced for me a draft for Cuesta de los Pinos. I have had problems circulating the draft or publishing it on the blog so I have listed below the street names on the plan. Please check that your street is shown, as I will go back to him next week and we should have a final copy for the printers to consider. I have asked that it be black and white with bolder contrast than the draft version.
The next area he is working on is the area around the pool bar and that should be ready in a week or two and I will similarly check with that one before we go to the printers.
The next area I have asked to be covered is Los Carasoles but, as there are a lot of streets in that area which are not, or ever likely to be streets, I will walk the area and ensure we delete those which don't exist to ensure people are not confused.
Following that we will do Los Llanos, Palaces, Los Menchones and Cucador.
I also left for Candido (I could not see him for the 2nd week of trying) a list of the streets, where you have reported lights out or in need of cleaning. I felt it was better to leave him a list rather than do nothing but I will chase this up again next week.
I still have my ever growing list of other issues for Candido and will just keep trying to see him.

List of streets on Cuesta de los Pinos street plan
Calle Albania, Alemania, Andorra, Austria, Belgica, Bielirusia, Bulgaria, Chipre, Croacia, Dinamarca, Escocia, Eslovenia, Eslovaquia, Estonia, Finlandia, Francia, Grecia, Holanda, Hungria, Irlanda, Islandia, Italia, Letonia, Liechenstein, Lituania, Luxemburgo, Macedonia, Malta, Moldavia, Avda Naciones de Europa, Calles Noruego, Polonia, Portugal, Republic Checa, Servia, Ucrania.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meeting of Councillors

We had a meeting this evening to discuss some of the ruling councillors plans. These included the Civil protection unit (to be agreed in Pleno), Policia Local hours of work and coverage (to be considered by the councillors), and the decision to advance our plans for security cameras in certain locations of the municipality (again a matter for all ruling councillors to consider).  It was a general discussion mainly of similar security issues which Kiko was keen to made progress on. He was kind to me and allowed me bit of time to consider the issues and have input on them. There were a lot of other issues we touched upon but this was primarily a meeting to ensure agreement about the way forward and see that we agreed with these plans.

After this meeting there was another in the secretary (Manolos) office with Candido, the TH solicitors, Kiko and myself but his meeting became quite intense and I started losing the plot. It was obvious that it was discussion about the legal issues of licences etc but was too deep for me so I made my excuses and left. If there was anything which I missed I will clarify later this week.

It was not a meeting where the bits, I am trying to get answers to, could be discussed, that will (hopefully) be later this week. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cuesta de los Pinos Post box C2-B49-69

Unfortunately the front panel of the above post box has been blown off in the wind overnight. I have recovered all the post, to prevent it blowing away, and I have listed below those persons whose post I am in possession of. If you can contact me to arrange collection as and when. I will also try and contact you by email this is just to make sure all channels are tried.

I am trying to get hold of Metal Matt or another metal worker to repair the box. Once I know how much it will be to repair I will let those of you with boxes in this caseta know. If it isn't too much I will just pay it. I would be grateful if as people pass they keep an eye open for any further deliveries before we can get it repaired.

David Burns, G. Clough, Micheal Jones, D Jones, Brian Cynthia Tipper (including a notification of a letter to sign for), Colin Smith, Ian Johnson, Ken Willingale.

DOES anyone know of a good metalworker who we can get to repair it. It seems Metal Matt is not returning my calls. Whoever we get I would also ask to quote for the manufacture of 7 metal outdoor metal display cases (as this is something else I cannot get Matt to quote for) for our street plans. If no response I will speak with a local Spanish metalworker. Just thought there may be someone out there who wanted the work. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Another Week another blank!

Been trying to speak with Candido since Wednesday, as he was at court Tuesday, but failed. Got close today he was standing next to me speaking to another chap for 30 minutes but then got a call from the Diputacion, who needed to meet with him, and so he was off. So sorry folks failed again! Will keep trying again next week. My list gets longer.

I did manage to speak with Luis, the tecnico regarding my request for street plans that we could take to the printers for housing in display cabinets in all areas. He has managed to complete the work on the first one (Cuesta de los Pinos) but there is more work involved than he first thought so we will try and progress them one at a time.