The 40 million euro Musical Auditorium is shrouded in controversy over licensing and use

It is reported that 30% of the entire budget of the municipality of Torrevieja goes on salaries of town hall staff and councillors, who, incidentally, also get free healthcare, glasses and dentistry, all paid for by the residents of course.

But, having become synonymous with waste in the past, throwing copious amounts of money at major projects, yet another such development has now been abandoned in Torrevieja.

In recent years, under the management of former Mayor, Pedro Hernández Mateo, we saw the infamous “cigar” project shelved, which was set to become a health spa on the natural salt lakes of the city, at a cost of 1.5 million euro, only one of the three buildings ever materialised, and even that was never completed, before the project was halted in the middle of the decade.

The Pascual Flores ship replica, nicknamed “Pedro´s Boat” by many, as he was seemingly the only person allowed to use it, with an original cost of 180,000 euro to buy the wreck, the ship now has an approximate value of 2 million euro, but she is falling into decay, due to lack of maintenance, as she has never moved since 2008, despite the 3,000 euro bill for maintaining the engines this year and the electricity supply for the other two boats in the floating museum costing 700 euro per month, which may have been acceptable for the residents to be paying, before the admission fee to visit the boats was added on top, meaning a double fee from the tax payers, unless you go when it´s quiet and free.

There have also been many other reports of smaller waste on a grand scale, which everybody knows all adds up. Paying 422 euro for a door handle to the gateway of the Eras del la Sal might be a questionable expense, but not so much as the tax payers of the city paid over 100 euro on heart shaped lollipops to give away at Valentine´s day. More than 2,000 euro on makeup for the Three Kings could have no doubt been cheaper, as could the 2,800 euro bill for a tent to cover them and their pages for two nights. Quite how just short of 3,000 euro can be spent on carnival confetti might be a surprise for some, especially considering there must be reams of paper that administrators would sooner shred which could have been used.

We mustn´t forget the musical auditorium, a 40 million euro “state of the art” development, with classrooms for the best musical students, conference rooms, offices and purpose designed performance areas that could hold almost 2,000 people, shrouded in controversy over licensing and use, only really being used as a rather grand estate agent, for an occasional information seminar and little more, apart from the occasional concert, as musical events are held on the beach, on the historic Eras de la Sal and in the empty land situated near what was to become a new attraction for the city, with the market and fun fair all being relocated, revitalising an area that is one of the few to have suffered from the Zenia Boulevard development, after the casino moved from its home to the bordering municipality, waving Torrevieja goodbye, and taking the people who would visit along too.

It is that development which has now seen a u-turn, albeit finally suggesting making the decision for which no action was seemingly being taken, with the Government having spent another 1.7 million euro to relocate the funfair to the 23,000 square meter plot that opened last summer next to Avenida de Delfina Viudes, that space will no longer be intended to be used for the reason the money was spent, leaving the funfair in the current location within the city centre. The mayor has still not ruled out a move in the future though.

Despite the waste, the reason for the decision is that plans abandoned in 2010 to regenerate the portside area of the city, have been given a new lease of life. The plans would see the development of sports facilities, leisure and shopping outlets, large open areas, including a “green lung” retreat within the hustle and bustle, all in an area that has already seen some minor developments such as the opening of a roadway through the port, and the removal of fences and walls making the harbour area already more attractive, after they were installed in the 1960´s.

The original 80 million euro project was halted due to lack of liquidity and investment, and the town hall will still be looking for funding for this latest proposal, but rather than a major development as before, they now see the plan coming to fruition in stages, with some of the larger elements, such as commercial centres planned by the previous mayor, being dropped. The tender process could potentially open later in the year, although that has also been said before and the current mayor, Eduardo Dolón, still wanting to outline the plans from the city´s point of view.

So it would seem that despite the waste of previous and current administrations, money which could have been so easily invested in other areas for improvement, both in Torrevieja or even beyond their boundaries but still within the jurisdiction of Valencia, the plans for the future are still continuing.

Torrevieja is clearly still able to gain funding for schools, has first class medical facilities, entertainment and leisure attractions, but the support of local traders and businesses has been lacking of late, so it remains to be seen how much support another major development will bring, when the plight of those already in the city is ignored, with street after street filled with the remnants of a bustling city that Torrevieja once was, now just a skeleton of the once prosperous hub.

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