Following at least two rescue bids, and after an investment of over 4 million euros on the project, the Ayuntamiento in Pilar de la Horadada have finally announced that they are to demolish ‘the Dove', the new Cultural Centre and Auditorium, the ugly shell of which has been lying unfinished on the outskirts of the town for very nearly ten years.
In 2001 ‘La Paloma Pilareños', was a dream of the Socialist mayor Ignacio Ramos. He called it the star project of his term, and as he laid the first stone he declared that the building would quickly become a landmark in the area and that it would be a magnificent replacement for the current centre which was built when the town first separated from Orihuela in 1986. However despite a time frame that promised completion a few weeks before the municipal elections of May 2003, the project has been anything but the success he suggested it would be.
Irregularities and increased expenditure have surrounded the project leading to a decision to stop the work in 2006. By that time the anticipated cost of the development had risen to 8.9 million euros.
Two years later, in September 2008, the Popular Party complained to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office. The PP accused the former mayor of hiding behind technical reports to justify his mismanagement of the project which together with ongoing security problems and an accumulation of errors has paralyzed construction for many years.
As a result the former mayor was called to testify before the Court of Instruction No. 1 in Orihuela where he was asked to explain the alleged irregularities which had become a "black hole" for the council, one that was said to be hemorrhaging council funds.
Since the cessation of work eight years ago, and despite the site being fenced off, vandals have caused a great deal of additional damage to both the project and to the equipment located on the plot, as a result of which the need to provide additional security has also added to the spiraling cost.
The spectacular project, which for many years has dominated the pilareño skyline, was launched in 2001 having already achieved number of architectural awards, but it became evident all too quickly that the construction company, a consortium consisting of Intersa and Urdemasa, were going to exceed the 4 million euro budget. The Ayuntamiento were unable to meet the additional cost as a result of which the socialist council decided to stop the work in 2006.
In the intervening years the construction has developed serious structural faults and according to technical reports, there is a possibility that it could fall down at any time so, at the time of writing, cranes and machinery were being moved onto the site in order to begin the demolition process. It is now expected that within a few days the whole project will be just an expensive and painful memory for the town.
However not the whole building will be demolished, just the head and neck of the dove, as it is hoped to save the base building which will be used as new municipal offices for the departments of Culture and Youth.
According to the current mayor, José Fidel Ros, ‘The Dove' has been just one more example of waste and mismanagement by the previous council, the demolition of which will see the removal of the very last symbol of many years of painful PSOE administration of the town and another step which will help to revive the economy of its businesses and residents.Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42631/
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