Concern about state of the once beautiful resort from residents and tourists.

20-08-2013
Last September, in response to numerous requests, I wrote an article in the Bulletin highlighting complaints made about the deterioration of Port de Pollensa. Specific criticism was levelled at the barren earth that now constitutes the town's main square, infrequent or inadequate rubbish collection with roadside ditches full of litter, and the large amount of dog excrement on pavements. Since then we have had a severe storm and a winter (and spring) of extensive road works. Last November's storm, of course, cannot be blamed on mere mortals, but the tardiness of local council clearing-up operations caused further discontent in the area. The road works to replace antiquated drainage and sewage pipes was much-needed, though eyebrows were raised when some sections of road were dug up more than once, and the signposting of diversions left a lot to be desired. Those two factors, however, have very little to do with the basic complaints made about the port last year; complaints that are still being made and, I found, made with justification. Most residents I spoke to put the blame for dirt, noise and disruption in Puerto Pollensa squarely at the feet of the local council. “They (the local authorities) display a total lack of interest in the port,” says estate agent Rob McCallum. “The place is a mess, the pavements are filthy, and the square, the centrepiece of the town, is a disaster.” A sprinkler system installed in the square has not been used for several years. Drought was given as a reason for not watering the grass and children playing on the surface blamed for its further deterioration. The heavy rains experienced earlier this year, however, showed what could be achieved with regular irrigation. Nature did its best and for a few weeks the square was green again (patchy green, maybe, but still green). If the sprinklers had been brought into use then (no drought this year, not that that ever stopped Pollensa old town watering its roundabouts and other grassy areas) it would have stayed that way. Instead, diners at restaurants around the square now find dust blown on to their dinner plates at the slightest breeze, Rob McCallum suggests stone paving as an alternative to the current ugliness, and restaurant owner Geoff Thomas agrees. “Pollensa council has spent a lot of money on the old town, prettying up their square and streets,” he says. “Most of that money was made by the port from tourism. More of it should be spent here.” He considers the square dirty and ugly. Another local businessman, Pedro Creixell, concedes that vandalism was a problem in the square, with the council perhaps feeling it was a waste of time making repairs, though he adds that both the council and the local neighbourhood association should do more. “Everyone who lives here should take some responsibility for their surroundings,” he says. “But it is the council and the neighbourhood association who should take the initiative.” He points out that the council collects a lot of money from fees charged to restaurants for tables and chairs placed in the square, yet nothing is spent on the square itself. Rob McCallum believes the council should take themselves off to Soller or Fornalutx to see how well those towns are being cared for. Geoff Thomas put forward somewhere closer to home. “Puerto Alcudia has really got its act together with huge, bright floral tubs decorating the place and fountains on the lake. It makes us look shabby. Puerto Pollensa has lost the plot.”
Ann MacDonald

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