Staff Reporter
THE Torre den Pau fortress in Coll den Rebassa has been ceded by the city council to the National Parks department, and it will be used as a visitors centre for Cabrera and will be open to the public. The agreement was signed yesterday by Environment Secretary General Juan del Álamo, who is also head of the National Parks department, and the mayor of Palma, Catalina Cirer. However, it is not only a visitors' centre that will be developed at Torre den Pau, it will also be the headquarters of the National Parks Management Board and other administrative installations. Altogether it will mean an investment of not less than eight million euros, which will come from the budget of the National Parks department, a body dependent on the central government Environment ministry. The selection of this space in Palma was motivated by a desire to bring the Cabrera National land and sea park closer to all those people who are not able to visit it directly. Although Cabrera, a national maritime-land park, is off the coast of Ses Salines, for administration purposes it belongs to the municipality of Palma. The construction of this complex in Torre den Pau is being complemented with development of a visitors' centre in Ses Salines which is already being built in Colonia de San Jordi. Both installations will help to support alternative concepts of tourism which are linked to awareness and understanding, the protection of natural resources and sustainable development. The Torre den Pau is an ancient fortification which, following the expansion of Palma, has remained on the outskirts.
The project includes the rehabilitation of the tower, conserving its existing features, the revitalisation of the gardens and the construction of a new building in the form of a dice where glass and steel will predominate in the design. The new building will occupy an area of more than 3'000 square metres and the ground allocated to gardens will cover more than 20'000 square metres.
The establishment of Torre den Pau as a visitors centre will focus on historical aspects associated with Majorca with particular reference to the unique peculiarities of the fort itself. The idea is to put the monument into a wider historical context, providing interpretation on its origin and the purpose it served and a vision of how life at that time might have been lived in Majorca. The Cabrera National Park is considered to be the finest example of undisturbed island eco-systems in the Spanish Mediterranean.
Important colonies of sea birds are sheltered within its parameters, as are more than 200 species of fish and invertebrates.
For scientific researchers, Cabrera is a true natural laboratory in which it is possible to acquire knowlede of island eco-systems, especially of the Western Mediterranean. Facilities at the visitors centre in the Torre den Pau will include a reception area providing information on Cabrera, and several rooms dedicated to interpretation of the environment. There will also be an area for screening audiovisuals with a capacity of more than 150 persons, as well as areas dedicated to temporary exhibitions and an exhibition on the importance of the landscape.Under the terms of the agreement, the Palma council will take on management, running and maintenance costs.
The Mayor described it as a major project for Palma and Coll den Rebassa.
Del Alamo pointed out that the project will bring the natural park nearer to the people of Palma and does away with the need to build on Cabrera itself.

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