It wasn’t the wind. It was a little controversy. An “embellishment” project in the port has been known about since 2017. Finance was made available from the government’s tourist accommodation places fund for work to be carried out on what is basically an extension of the Paseo Marítimo along the final part of the Carretera Arta before it turns into Hostaleria. It is a semi-pedestrianisation scheme which, so says the town hall, involves a widening of pavements, the installation of certain items of urban furniture, a renewed road surface which will improve environmental quality by reducing vehicle noise, LED street lighting and a modification of underground services (aka drainage).
Work started at the beginning of the month. It was then that the problem arose. A dozen trees were taken down (another figure given was eighteen). The town hall explains that the project hadn’t envisaged this. However, municipal technicians established that the trees were “incompatible” with work to be done on the underground services - the roots of the trees were incompatible.
The roots, the town hall then added, had been causing damage for several years and had also been blighted by pest. So, down the trees came, which prompted howls of protest regarding an attack on the environment and also accusations that the town hall wasn’t telling the whole truth. The felling of the trees hadn’t been envisaged? But in the plan for the embellishment there isn’t a single tree. The removal of trees had therefore been envisaged.
New trees will be planted at some point in the future, but some residents are in the meantime indignant. This is understandable, even if one gets a sense that the issue is being overstated somewhat. When the project was first drafted, there must surely have been an appreciation that work to be carried out underground would be affected by the trees. They had, after all, been causing damage, while roots do tend to have a habit of getting in the way when you want to undertake improvements to the likes of the drainage system.
The project was conceived in 2017. Seems to me that there was more than adequate time to have taken the trees into consideration and communicated what needed to happen to them.
On a different matter, the town hall says that this project will last six months. Work partially funded by the tourism ministry will therefore extend well into summer, when - God and vaccines willing - there will be tourists. Why could it not have started well before Christmas? As it is, the port has two no-go areas at present - the Carretera Arta into the Paseo Marítimo and a stretch of Teodor Canet. Good timing.