For many people, Avenida Pedro Mas y Reus isn’t just the heartland of Alcudia, it is a spiritual heartland, a road defined by the decades-long mix of tourist and residential accommodation in its area that has drawn both tourist and resident for as many decades. It is a road in what qualifies as being Alcudia’s main tourism centre that has been looked down upon from a great height of sophistication that has refused to accept its simple merits - holidays as uncomplicated experiences. It is a road that I have defended for this very reason, yet it is also a road that has not escaped my criticism. Deprived of summer night bustle and bright lights, the daytime exposes its deficiencies, those which - when one is being honest and sheds a spiritual subjectivity - have been evident for years.
The Mile, which is how I tend to refer to it, was recently granted a visit by Mallorca’s tourism political class. Council of Mallorca president and tourism councillor, Catalina Cladera and Andreu Serra, positioned themselves by the bridge and where the summertime hair-braiding ladies have located themselves. What did they know of The Mile? On a previous rare political visit, by the then director-general of tourism, Pilar Carbonell, it seemed obvious that Palma had little knowledge. Why should it? This is only the chief commercial road for a municipality with some 27,000 hotel places, to say nothing of the holiday rentals (legal ones around 8,300).
There was the usual blah about sustainability and quality tourism, objectives which should by now be givens that don’t require parroting every time an architect’s drawing is presented for the latest project. Which in this case is? Tiled pavement, a parking zone over what will be “sustainable drainage”, a new surface for a mostly one-lane road, a bike lane and trees. The artist’s impression looks quite pretty. I’m sure it will be. So why am I underwhelmed?
This is because of the rest of the aesthetics and because of the scope. The appearance, therefore, of commercial units and limiting the project to The Mile and, as there is a second project, a section of the Carrtera Arta main road between Pedro Mas y Reus and Avenida Argentina. Bit by bit perhaps, but the whole area needs “beautification” (a word used to describe The Mile project). By whole area, I mean that formed by Pedro Mas y Reus, Tucan (part of which is a disaster area), Magic and the main road. And speaking of the main road, what was there for the embarrassment that is the old tennis courts complex? Zilch.
It’s not as if there aren’t funds - European and indeed Alcudia’s own - the point being that the 1960s City of Lakes scheme needs a comprehensive revisit. That scheme created what there is, some of which remains a tribute to fifty years in the past, a past when holidays were very uncomplicated and expectations were not high. But as much as there is the tourist experience, which has shifted in terms of its requirements, so there is also that of residents. A nice new surface for Pedro Mas y Reus, and then turn off and the roads are in a hell of a state; just an example.
I remember thinking when Meliá unveiled its plans for Magalluf in 2011, if only there were a Meliá in and around The Mile. There is, but only one hotel and not a series which justified what was a private-sector-driven initiative for transformation in Magalluf. Circumstances of incoherence, both public and private, have failed Alcudia, though one must nonetheless praise the investment that has been forthcoming in recent years. But this has not created a unified vision. The Mile, the new Mile, is a peek. A much longer (and broader) look is needed.
The Son Baulo wastewater plant - Has something just happened?
If you want to go back far enough, then 2003 was the year when Muro and Santa Margalida first arrived at tentative agreement regarding water treatment and an eventual project for a new plant. Plenty of wastewater has passed under the political and legal bridge since then, largely the consequence of a Santa Margalida subsequent rethink. For some fifteen years, the town halls plus the Balearic government (environment ministry and Abaqua water agency) and indeed the Spanish government have been arguing about the existing and outdated plant by Albufera (in Muro, therefore) and the building of a new one in Son Baulo (in Santa Margalida).
Year after year, the Spanish government makes provision for this new plant in its budget. Year after year, nothing happens. Now, the Supreme Court in Madrid has said that it will not admit an appeal by Santa Margalida against a ruling of the Balearic High Court; the town hall claimed that agreement for managing the Albufera plant had ended.
Muro’s mayor, Miquel Porquer, says that the court has agreed with his town hall; “Joan Monjo (Santa Margalida’s mayor) could not liquidate the agreement unilaterally, as he did.” Monjo’s response is that the regional environment ministry “preaches the reuse of treated water”. “In Can Picafort (Son Baulo), they want us to throw it into the sea.” He is dead against a plant that would have an outfall some three kilometres from the shore. One day, there might just be agreement.
Big guns out to support Martí March bid for Pollensa mayor
At Sant Domingo last Sunday, some 300 people gathered for a rally on behalf of Martí March, the PSOE candidate for Pollensa mayor at this May’s election. The big guns were out as well - President Armengol and the president of the Council of Mallorca, Catalina Cladera - in support of a furtherance of the March political dynasty in Pollensa; his brother, Miquel Àngel, was mayor from 2015 to 2019, and his father, also Martí, was mayor on two occasions.
Armengol said that “Martí March is the best candidate that Pollensa could have”. “I’m losing a wonderful person from my government (he is the education minister), but the whole of Pollensa will win.” Tomeu Cifre, among others, might be of a different view.
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