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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cabo de Gata Walking Trip

Our organised walk through the Cabo de Gata park today was enjoyed by almost 100 people. We filled two coaches an the nationality was about 50% Spanish to English speaking (that include about 6 from other nationalities).

The weather was perfect for walking lovely sunshine about 20 degrees with a gentle breeze.

The guided walk took us from the lighthouse at Cabo de Gata, through the various emblematic areas of the park with explanations by local guides as to the history of the land.

The walk was over 15 kilometres which some us found testing! Below are a few pictures of the day.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Pleno Meeting today

We held a Pleno meeting today which had 3 points on the agenda. All three were applications for pig farms. One past the cemetery, one in Palaces and one between Los Cabreras and Llanos del Peral.

All three were refused as not being of public benefit and we had received complaints against such land use.

Gymnasium & Electric Meter Boxes

The Administration is pleased to announce that the Gymnasium should be opening again on Friday 5th February. It is to open under the name of the new manager ´Sergio Athletic Centre´.

Its is anticipated that the price of membership will be €25 per month but there will be discounts for various groups as part of our fitness and health programme further details to be announced soon.

The hours for the gym will be Monday to Friday 1000 x 21000 and Saturday 1000 x 1700.

This has to be signed off in Pleno and I will confirm when this has happened.

Recently, in Neighourhood Watch, we circulated the fact that some people had had a black cross written on their meter boxes and we were concerned that it was a marking for criminals to target houses. However, it transpires this is not the case but merely a flag for the Endesa workers that they have finished the new meter. Following that message another member reported a fact that I was unaware of and that is, that a house not using electricity, can be easily identified as the meter shows a constant red light whereas a house using even a tiny amount of electricity will show a flashing red light. Given the increasing instances of unoccupied houses being attacked it may be a good idea to leave some small low voltage light on in such houses.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cabo de Gata Walk

Well what an amazing amount of interest in this walk. We have almost 100 persons registered for the trip. So that will be 2 coaches. Almost all the Town Hall admin staff have registered. Please if you have registered an interest and now no longer wish to go let me know.

As Lola is not going on the trip I asked her what to advise people regarding food or drink after the walk. She has informed me that there can be one hour after the walk for people to get tapas or a meal in San Jose. The Spanish may well take their own sandwiches or food. I am also advised that the restaurants available will be able to cope with the numbers.

We will have 4 guides 3 of whom can speak english. So looking forward to a good walk and the forecast is so far good!

Also may I suggest that you take some water.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Zumba & Help

Just a reminder that June Hamilton will be starting her easy Zumba classes this Friday at La Vida. The classes will be for 1 hour starting at 10.0am. I am assured that she will take everyones fitness levels into account (which I guess is why she is calling it ´easy zumba´ and will cost €4.

Secondly I have been advised about a person who was at court in Almeria this Monday or Tuesday,  regarding a property for which she had paid a large deposit but did not get satisfaction in the court. We have some information from her if she could get in touch. All I know is that the property was in Los Llanos del Peral and the deposit was about 6 figures and was paid in roughly 2004. If you are or know of this person ask them to get in touch.

The football match and donations for the Charity Perthes disease (from which one of our Policemans sons suffers) raised over €1300.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Town Hall Notice Boards & Next Pleno

Following requests from you we have obtained 3 notice boards upon which we will display any Town Hall information in english. 

These notice boards will be installed at the following locations, 

1. Opposite La Vida 
I am indebted to my neighbour Steve Dix for fitting this case. Due to the Town Hall workers having a lot on their plates at the moment and to save time I asked Steve and he kindly agreed to fit it for us. 

2. Pool Bar (on the exterior wall) La Alfoquia.

3. Town Hall Building Palaces. 

The other 2 cases will be fitted in the next couple of weeks.

Todays Pleno is to discuss the management of the Tanatorio and to consider a contract for the management of that. 

For your information the detail of what is to be included in the next Pleno is always posted on the wall of the Town Hall for people to appreciate what is to be discussed and to make any representations. The next Pleno (after todays) is to be held on Friday 29th January at 1.0pm.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Delegate for Employment & Coffee Morning

We had a 2 hour meeting with the Delegate for Employment from the Junta yesterday. It did not go particularly well from our perspective as we did not get what we hoped to in the way of grants to help employ the unemployed but he did listen and suggested ways which the Junta want Town Halls to develope different strategic plans.

A date for your diaries! 

There is to be a coffee morning with stalls to be held at Los LLanos del Peral church on Thursday 18th February from 0900 until 1400. The previous events held by the congregation have proved popular and I am sure this one will be also.

Just a point of information regarding the use to Town Hall buildings. From the start of this year anyone who uses these buildings must provide their own 3rd Party insurance. We have just realised that our insurance does not cover events held by members of the public in, for example, the Renfe. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

April Trip

The Town Hall is hoping to organise a trip to one of the so called Centres of Free time in Andalucia. This is under an intiative called ¨Know your land¨. It will be a trip of 4 nights accomodation in a good class hotel in one of the following locations, either La Linea de Concepcion, Punta Umbria, or Malaga. The cost will be subsidised and will include transport and accomodation on half board basis, breakfast and lunch. It is intended to organise this trip for the month of April, actual dates not yet known.

You qualify for this trip if you are a resident of Zurgena and fall into one of the qualifying conditions,

1. People receiving non contributory pensions.
2. Retired Persons.
3. Persons over 65 years of age
4. Persons with legally recognised disabilities.
5. Existing member of the Andalucian Community 
6. Female victims of gender violence.

Interested persons should register in the Town Hall with their documentation to prove they are in one of the above qualifying groups.

For those of you who have gone on one of these trips before you will know the exceptional value they can be and how demand for places often is snapped up. So if you are free during April and are interested get along to th Town Hall and register your interest.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Proposed Projects

We are to have a visit from one of the delegates from the Junta this Thursday.This delegate has responsibility for a number of fields and we are proposing to him that the following be approved by his department.

The developement of some buildings in La Alfoquia by the Town Hall workshop for use by local companies, an employment workshop, a cooking course, a reconstruction project for the Virgen Calvario church, the development of the area of the Renfe into a Railway Museum, a plan to ensure accessibility to all parts of the villages for wheelchairs etc., an industrial strategic plan, improvements to electricity supplies in all areas, a digital market where all local companies could be accessed. Finally we hope to get approval for a building for the 3rd Age to be erected behind where the new marble carving is on the entrance to Zurgena.

Within the various areas of the Town Hall the following ideas are being taken forward.

In health we will look to develope either a new Health Centre or make improvements to the existing ones. We will develope a health plan incorporating all the activities beneficial for our citizens. (I am currently working on the nuts and bolts of this and hope to make some announcements soon).

In tourism we have a number of initiatives including Cultural promotions, improvement to the access and area around the clock tower, access to and better presentation of the archealogical site in Palaces, develope and signpost all walking routes in the municipality and a plan to promote urban transport.

In agriculture we have two projects. One to improve the irrigation for crops and to improve the stability of the hills.

For the Youth department we have a number of initiatives including formation of courses, cultural trips and actions for the youth to help improve the countryside.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Budget Meeting

The administering councillors met last night, primarily to agree the budgets for this year, but also to discuss the management of the Town Hall and its employees. This obviously does not include the applications for bigger projects but the costs and ideas for 2016.

The meeting started at 7.0pm and went on until 1030pm!

We discussed each and every item in the budget to ensure we were getting the best value we could from all the arrangements. All the suggestions from the councillors were considered and decisions reached. We should be in a position to present it to Pleno next week. I was pleased that all my suggestions were listened to and included.

We also had a motivational talk from Luis about how we should endeavour to elevate the level of service we give to the community. He encouraged us all to seek out new ways of improving the efficiency of our own areas of responsibility and involving other politicians or Town Halls.

We also discussed how we could start to break down the barriers between the two villages. I think we all feel that there is too strong a divide between the villagers on Zurgena and La Alfoquia and we discussed ways in which we could start to make all feel that they are Zurgeneros. The new road layout, for the area to the front of the old Petrol Station, where a roundabout is to be installed, should be worked on in the early part of this year and this and all main routes into all the area should be signposted as Zurgena. This could be the first physical sign of integrating all the areas under the name of the municipality.

I am to assist with the establishment of a Junta de Seguridad. Basically this is a group made up of all the people responsible for security from the other villages of the valley including the Guardia Civil, Polizia Local, Civil Protection etc to agree policies and procedures for the safety and security of all the residents of the area. I will update the blog with progress on this initiative.

Friday, January 15, 2016

PGOU Update

Our Mayor and Deputy Mayor, together with many others attended a meeting in Almeria yesterday afternoon to discuss progress regarding the PGOUs. I am informed that it went very well. All the relevant main politicians were present and representations were made by all the local politicians. The result of the meeting was very positive and we are optimistic of a beneficial resolution in the near future and that we will have an approved plan, albeit conditional. The conditional part being certain actions which need to be taken, to address Juntas, concerns regarding some areas which they consider near ramblas. These issues are not seen by us major problems.

I was asked if I considered it a good time to convene  a meeting at which the delegates from Almeria could attend and explain the progress but I declined as I felt that we have done this befor and I would rather keep the pressure up by not allowing them more talking time but await their approval before allowing them to address us.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Legg Calve Perthes Disease

The son of one of our Police Officers has been found to suffer from the above disease which can be quite debilitating for children, although the prognosis can be optimistic in 80% of cases.

We are looking for donations which can be made at the Town Hall but additionally they are holding a football match in aid of this charitable work on Friday 22nd January at 8.0pm between Zurgena and Jumilla of the 1st Division at the sports hall in Zurgena.  You are welcome to come along to this game and support this activity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Urgent Help Please Update

Thanks very much contact made and enquiries ongoing. It was Liam and Endesa Bell who are back in Southern Ireland.

A recent court case has ruled in favour of the Town Hall regarding 5 houses built in the Cuesta de los Pinos area. They are the 5 at the top of Calle Malta. I am trying to reestablish contact with a gentleman who purchased (or part purchased) a property among these 5. From memory he had paid most of the money for his house and was due to move into it (it is pretty well complete) in a matter of days when the Police taped off the building and he could not then take possession of the house. I think he then ended up renting in Albox before probably moving back to the UK.

The reason I want to contact him is due to the above court ruling and the fact that he may be entitled to take possession of the property. The developer is working on the property now and I am concerned that if I cannot contact the man he may lose out.

If you have any information which however remote may help me locate this chap please let me know.

Avenida Europa, Calle Escocia and Calle Irlanda

I together with another councillor attended at Calle Irlanda this morning to examine the damage done to the road from a huge water leak some 2 months ago. The ground is drying out and once it has settled we will look at repairing the road surface. No point until it has dried out completely.

Whilst there we looked at the further deterioration of the slope at the bottom of Calle Escocia and we are compiling a budget for a project to remedy and secure this piece of land but it will not be cheap.

We also looked at the deterioration of the side of Avenida Europa between La Vida and the rambla. We have a project for this and it should be completed by May of this year. The project is to complete a paved way from Los Llanos all the way to the rambla below La Vida.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Flu Vaccination Programme & Walking Football

The Junta de AndalucĂ­a has initiated its Flu vaccination programme for all those over 65. You only have to ask your doctor. Last year i the Uk due, they think to a slow take up of the vaccine there was a spike in deaths.

Ian Hamilton has asked that I remind people of the walking football he runs. This takes place at the all weather football pitch by the swimming pool in La Alfoquia. He holds the sessions each Tuesday at 11.0am. Ia am advised that it is an excellent form of gentle exercise .

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Another Walk, Zumba at La Vida, Los Carasoles Street Plan & Panic Alarms

Sorry just been told we need to be at Cabo de Gata for 10.0am so we are Leaving Petrol Station at 8.30am.

Following the success of our previous walks the Town Hall has organised another and this time through the beautiful Cabo de Gata aided by english speaking guides. The coach will leave the Petrol Station in La Alfoquia at 10.0am Sunday 31st January. Our coach (Pikiautobus) will drop us at the starting point for us to meet our guides. We will walk about 14 kilometres at a gentle pace ending at the lovely fishing village of San Jose where food and drink will be available (and will be well earned!). The coach will then return us to La Alfoquia at approximately 5.0pm. The cost of the coach will be €4. If you wish to join this walk please let me know as soon as possible so that we can manage the numbers. Either call me on 610194260 or drop me an email to reserve your place.

June Hamilton is to start her Zumba classes at La Vida in Cucador with the first class on Friday 29th January at 10am until 11.0am. The classes will be for anyone and will be tailored to your age and abilities. The cost will be €4 and so if you fancy shaking off the Xmas and New Year excesses go along and join in.

The next street plan should be installed in the next week for Los Carasoles and will be in front of Kalevala restaurant. We will commission the one for Palaces in the next week or two.

I was asked today about female panic alarms and I think, given what happened in Cologne on New Years eve, it is probably timely to mention that personal alarms are an excellent way to protect yourselves. They are available online through Amazon and Ali Express from just a few euros. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year but Old Problems! & Library & 3 Kings

Back in the office to resume work today and its seems little has occurred during my 2 weeks off! No surprise there though.

One problem which I have had referred to me, which is a perennial one, is the electricity outages affecting various areas but particularly Los Llanos del Peral. I have discussed this with two other councillors and am informed that we are, and have been, working with the other communities within the Mancommunidad de Almanzora to apply pressure on the supplying company, Sevillana Endesa for some years. But that it requires an upgrade of the infrastructure which Endesa say is too expensive. I asked if a blanket refusal to pay the bills would help. I was told that that would not work.

In order to apply pressure on the company, the advice I was given was that on each and every occasion when the supply is cut off (this is usually due to strong wind making 2 cables touch and thereby shorting out) we should notify the company´s Averias department on the following number 900 850 840. The more complaints they get the better. So if you are affected by these outages please register your report. I also ask that you inform me and I will keep a record to assist us when we discuss the issue with Endesa.

Additionally I am told that should any food be spoilt, or appliances damaged, as a result of outages these can and should be claimed back from Endesa. I appreciate that many will not feel comfortable in doing this but if you require any help then just let me know and we will provide any help can. If you feel comfortable talking to the company then a phrase, such as that below, together with your Endesa reference and address would initiate action.

¨tenemos muchos cortes de luz, estamos sin luz ahora.¨

We will continue to press the company for action to resolve this situation and we will be contacting the person who is ultimately responsible next Monday, as he is on holiday this week. He is the person who can initiate action in relation to specific problems (or at least that is what I am told)

The Library is opening again from this Friday and Anthonia has confirmed that if for any reason she is unable to open she will advise us and post a notice and/or contact Pam to open for her.

Also we have the procession of the Three Kings this evening. They will set off from the Town Square in Zurgena at 5.30pm and process to La Alfoquia and Barrio de Chicago before ending their journey in the Theatre in Zurgena.