Would paying for the cabling to be re-routed from the tourist tax be an appropriate use of the revenue?

25-02-2015Elena Ballestero

Everyone seems to want a piece of the tourist tax pie, and it's not even been implemented yet. Various town halls across the island have been pitching for ways in which it should be spent, and while nothing concrete in terms of proposals has emerged from the local councils, there is an inkling as to where preferences might lie.

In Pollensa, with an administration heavily inclined towards the environmentalist lobby, it seems more than likely that any claims on the tax would be for the environment. Mayor March, the former spokesperson for the environmentalist group GOB, will doubtless favour such an emphasis, and it is one that has been expressed by certain groups, such as the Alternativa. GOB wants the tax to go towards the environment and the environment alone, thus making it more of an eco-tax in the style of the old one.

In Alcudia, there is the prospect of reviving the old project for creating a nature park in the Maristany area, i.e. the remaining wetlands of Albufera near to the port in the area of the Horse Roundabout. The old eco-tax was going to go to this project, but it never did of course. The cost then was put at some nine million euros, most of it for expropriation apparently.

There is a further possibility, and this has to do with the high-voltage electricity cabling. Re-routing it and so taking it out of the port and along the bypass road to Alcanada will cost 3.5 million euros, and this will have to be paid in the form of compensation to Red Electrica as it changes the project, for which work has already commenced in the port. Alcudia town hall says it is willing to provide one million for this, if the rest comes from the Council of Majorca and the regional government. All three institutions, it is being proposed, would be recompensed from tourist-tax revenue.

As to the re-starting of work on the cabling, at present this looks as though it may be on 3 November (the second, a Monday, being a public holiday), and as there is no agreement as to any change of route, this may well mean that the work recommences in the port. It had been stopped in March and suspended because of protests arising from health risks posed by the cabling and then suspended again because of the noise. Red Electrica say that it has taken measures to reduce the noise levels.

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