STAFF REPORTER PALMA

A vote was passed at a meeting of Palma City Council yesterday to ensure that prior to the Bay of Palma tram project being built, that local residents, traders, and other political parties would be consulted and a consensus reached.

The opposition Partido Popular (PP) said that this was not the first time that the Council had been reminded that it needed to seek out the views of those who would be affected. The new tram line is scheduled to run from the Avenidas out to the airport, on to El Arenal and in the opposite direction out to Calvia.

The PP were highly critical of the fact that the proposal on reaching consensus had been put forward at the last Council plenary session but the ruling Socialist party had failed to fulfill their obligations. Apparently, just a few days after the previous Council meeting and having agreed to seek agreement from all parties on the issue of the tram, the City Council and the Balearic government released a joint statement on the project without having sought the views and opinions of any opposition members or local residents and businesses.

The PP further expressed “surprise” that the Balearic government, in the absence of any form of consultation had boldly declared that Central Government had agreed to finance the project that it had in mind.

In response to the PP criticism, Transport Councillor, Jose Hila, argued in favour of the tram project saying that because of the huge population growth in Palma and the demand for public transport, the city needed a tram system to complement the bus, metro and cycle infrastructure already in place.

Separately, yesterday's Council meeting unanimously approved a motion withdrawing the City Council's previously established responsibility for providing all basic food and clothing requirements for families who have been affected by the recession.

Instead agreement was reached on coordinating already-existing social organisations to tap into all available subsidies and sources of emergency provision, such as the Balearic Food Bank, thereby avoiding duplication of government aid.