The Pollentia Roman site. | LAURA BECERRA¶


Some three years ago, the tourist tax was going to be used to purchase it. The finca Sa Tanca de Domenech was to be publicly owned. The tourist tax funding had looked assured when President Armengol turned up at the Pollentia Roman site one day. And it was. Not long afterwards, the committee for the sustainable tourism tax, the one which decides how to spend the revenue and is well loaded in the government’s favour, listed the finca as a project for funding. The president’s visit had all but guaranteed this.

However, and despite the purchase having been down as a tourist tax project before the pandemic, the funding disappeared because of the pandemic. Where were the 1.2 million euros to come from? Never fear, as the government, the Council of Majorca and Alcudia town hall agreed to paying a third each. And what was more, the owner of Sa Tanca, hotelier Miquel Ramis, was prepared to accept 100,000 euros less. The deed has now been done - 1.1 million it is.

The Pollentia Consortium, comprising the three above-named institutions, will be the titleholder of the land once the Council of Majorca has sorted out the transfer details (some time later this summer), and then ... . Ah yes, then.

The purchase of Sa Tanca means that the Pollentia site has expanded, albeit there is a road in the way. But geophysical surveys suggest that, for example, there was a Roman residential area; the excavation zone will thus be increased. There are also some buildings that need restoring, while there is the grand scheme to construct the Subaquatic Archaeological Research Centre and a new Pollentia Museum on the finca. The only drawback is that the cost for the research centre and the new museum is alone put at three million euros.

When an Alcudia council meeting last November approved the spending of a third of the purchase price, the opposition Partido Popular argued that the timing might not be the best. The PP agreed that bringing the finca into public ownership was a good idea, but they didn’t agree with the town hall handing over a third of 1.1 million euros. Alcudia shouldn’t be contributing “a single euro”. After all, it had been a government tourist tax project.

I support the acquisition of the land. Further knowledge of the Pollentia Roman town will be a good thing, and despite the PP’s objections, it’s not as if the town hall is short of cash; there are all those millions from several years’ budget surpluses going unused in a bank vault. But buying the land is only the start of it. Where will the three million for the development be coming from? And when, given how problematic other construction in the vicinity of Pollentia has been, might it become a reality?

Years of waiting beckon, and eventually there will no doubt be a new project for tourist tax revenue - three million euros’ worth.