Let’s think now - the Gelats Valls ice-cream kiosk and its threatened removal (eventually realised), the semi-pedestrianisation scheme (full stop) and then its half-finished state before being finished (and looking quite nice), the protest of 2010 against the town hall’s apparent neglect of the ‘Moll’. Only the latter really amounted to anything approximating a major demonstration. And thankfully no one came along armed with the contents of their kitchen cupboards.
There always seems to be something to get people agitated in Puerto Pollensa -The Costas Authority and environment ministry and their ridiculous targeting of kiddies’ playgrounds on the beach (ultimately and quietly forgotten about). The beach itself because of, yes, those spillages which have usually, where the town hall has been concerned, not been contaminating.
Always something, and now we have the saga of the new kiosks. They are not for the selling of ice-cream but for the vending of tickets - charter hire, watersports activities. They are not wooden, unlike the ones that used to be there and had got a bit tatty. Were these new booths wooden, would there be the same fuss? Maybe not. But fuss there is and now with added noise.
Do the decibels generated by a so-called cacerolada exceed noise regulations and thus represent noise pollution? Are some of those who complain, rightly so, about sea pollution also registering their objections to the brick kiosks by exceeding acoustic contamination limits? The banging of pots and pans, a cacerolada, will shatter the tranquility of the Moll at midday today.
The regional government’s Ports IB ports authority is responsible for these small buildings. Ports IB stands accused of threatening Puerto Pollensa’s “traditional and historical charm”, the authority saying (not in so many words) that some of this charm will be retained because the former wooden pergola will be reinstalled. The finishes for the booths will be like that of the new tourist information office, only a short walk away. The charm, the buildings’ detractors argue, will be affected by the visual impact, the wooden ones not having had this same impact (one guesses).
The environmentalists GOB have had their say. The buildings shouldn’t be where they are. They are in an area of protected easement on land-maritime public domain. No building of any type is permitted if it can be located somewhere else. “It is evident that these buildings, if necessary for port activities, can be located outside the easement area.” And that presumably applied to the old wooden huts.
Ports IB and Pollensa town hall say that when the project for these buildings was put out for public consultation there wasn’t any issue. The opposition Junts Avançam pretty much accept that this was the case. However, it wasn’t until they started building them that the “great impact on the landscape” was realised. Under the law that governs the ports authority, Ports IB “must adopt appropriate measures to preserve the historical, heritage, landscape and environmental values of port areas”. “The creation of a visual barrier on the frontline in Puerto Pollensa is not acceptable, and it is the obligation of the authorities to find a solution to improve the image of the sea front and avoid unnecessary impact.”
So, the wooden ones must have had the same impact. Or not? Mayor Cifre points out that Ports IB once wanted to put up one large building and that the town hall managed to prevent this. Two small buildings went up in 2005 and the wooden huts were then added and took up all the area that the single building would have occupied.
The material for the buildings is almost beside the point. The issue seems to be more a case of whether there should be any buildings at all. But then why were there no objections when the project was put out to public consultation?
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They look like motorway toll booths