Staff Reporter

THE Mayor of Palma, Aina Calvo, yesterday confirmed the “firm commitment” of the council to build the Convention Centre designed by architect Patxi Mangado in Palma.

Work could start at the beginning of 2008 and could be finished in between two and a half to three years, she said, after her meeting with Mangado, who presented his project to the new council.

Also present was the minister of Tourism, Francesc Buils, who said he was “convinced” that the council is pursuing “a project which will be excellent for the city”.

Calvo said that some sectors had accused the council of being slow to get on with the project, but added it was “very important” to study the project to see what the council had to face up to, as it calls for a very large investment of taxpayers' money.

She went on to say that when the council started to make a “detailed analysis” of the project (although it had already been approved by the previous council), it was found that the building contract had been awarded although the site on which it was to be built did not exist in town planning terms. “It is an intolerable way to go about things,” she said, adding that the council would do everything within its power to prepare the site. Reports from various ministries, “which had not even been requested,” were still needed.

Calvo said that the reports were also needed to grant the works licence, which had not been done. The planning agreement with the owner of the second plot where the Convention Centre will be built also has to be signed and sealed, as the previous council had only closed it verbally.

Buils, for his part, said that he was convinced that the project “must be a strategic objective for promoting tourism of congresses and incentive trips in Palma.” He added that the central ministry of tourism has been approached with a view to providing part of the finance.
Mangado said that Palma was a city “of great historical intensity” and pressed for the stretches of the Paseo Maritimo at the entrance to the city to be put underground.