STAFF REPORTER

TRADERS in Soller met up with hoteliers and representatives of the local town council yesterday to voice concerns over a reported “change of plan” on the seafront works.

Central Government's Coastal department, which has been responsible for the improvements in the Port and the rerouting of the tram track, has said that it wants to stop the works prior to Easter so as not to adversely affect the tourist season, and then restart the project in October.

But bars, cafeterias, restaurants and other hostelry businesses fear that if the seafront is left in its present state of upheaval, the Port is going to provide a very poor image to visitors.

Antonio Ruz, the President of the Port of Soller's Business Association said yesterday: “We are hoping that there will be considerable advances in the works programme prior to the end of March.” “In any event,” Ruz furthered, “we are going to ask the Coastal department and the building company acting on their behalf some guarantee that the seafront area has at least been resurfaced with some public lighting up and running prior to the end of spring.” Soller hoteliers President, Antoni Montis added that his members wanted the works to go on through Easter week because the pace was such that the seafront area could be “pretty well finished” prior to the onset of the main tourist summer season. Works on the seafront have now reportedly reached their height and it is impossible to walk in the area. The only alternative is to walk along the tram track itself but the trams which are already running as far as the entrance to the bay will soon be travelling along the newly rerouted rails along the seafont.

But the Coastal department isn't going to make its decision about the continuance of the works until next month. Department sources said yesterday that the more services - such as drainage, electricity and telephone cabling - which can be installed in a month and a half, the more surface area can be completed.

Meanwhile there is a delay in expanding and upgrading the Playa del Traves in the Port of Soller, with bars, cafés and restaurants by the beach facing a loss of income this summer. The public works will conceivably not finish until the spring of next year.