Sant Domingo Cloister. | Ajuntament de Pollença


The name gives it away. The Sant Domingo Cloister in Pollensa, plus convent and church, was once the domain of the Dominican Order. The Dominicans started the building of the cloister in 1558, although authorisation for them to take it over wasn't to come until twenty years later. There had been some issues, notably with the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, commonly referred to as the Knights Hospitaller. They had been the dominant presence in Pollensa from the time of the abolition of the Knights Templar in 1312 and had been in charge of the parish and of the Roser chapel, which was handed over to the Dominicans without their consent. Litigation thus ensued.

The Dominicans remained until the confiscations of the 1830s. Sant Domingo in Pollensa didn't suffer the fate of Sant Domingo in Palma, where destruction rather than confiscation meant that what had been a large Dominican centre was totally demolished. The town hall came to own Sant Domingo and to use it for various purposes - a Guardia Civil station, a school, for example.

The cloister's cultural purpose can really be said to have started with the first Pollensa Festival in 1962. Various other concerts are now staged in the cloister, which is also the venue for fairs, such as the annual Pollensa Wine Fair.

The place has needed smartening up, and so the town hall's urban planning and culture departments are combining their efforts in doing just this. Tasks include getting rid of holes in stonework, replacing windows and old wooden doors, painting, and eliminating some obsolete elements.

Preservation of heritage such as this is very worthwhile. Sant Domingo is one of the area's premier sites in this regard. And just think that it might have suffered the same vandalism that was allowed to occur in Palma.

ALCUDIA. SERVICIOS. Los balnerios de la playa podrán estar abiertos hasta finales de año. Los balnearios actuales están en mu

Alcudia's beach bars and "a very serious infraction"

Having reported on this page last week that Alcudia town hall plans to go ahead with work over the summer in replacing the balnearios (beach bars), the latest round in this delayed project took place in the council chamber on Monday. The mayor, Fina Linares, and her predecessor once removed, Barbara Rebassa, clashed over the funding for the work.

The only item on the agenda for what was an extraordinary meeting of the council (rather than an ordinary, regular meeting) concerned this funding. Specifically, a motion was tabled to enable the three coalition parties to vote through the contracting for the work despite the fact that there isn't a budget for it. There isn't sufficient credit - a total of around four million euros - because the budgets as a whole have yet to be signed off.

Rebassa pointed to a report from the town hall's own control department which states that approval of the contracting procedure would amount to "a very serious infraction". This refers to the fact that there isn't sufficient credit, meaning that the town hall administration is not complying with the requirement to allocate a budget to the project. The former mayor observed: "The contract is for four million euros, which is a lot money for breaking the law." She added that the law specifies that contracts lacking the required credit can be ruled to be null and void and to lead to financial penalty. Her party, PSOE, voted against approval: "We don't want to be responsible for this illegality."

Linares retorted by arguing that the now opposition could have gone ahead with the project to replace the balnearios but did not. She stressed the urgency of the work, as there is a Costas Authority deadline to have it completed by November 30 this year. "There is no choice," she insisted, adding that money was hardly an issue. The opposition had allowed the town hall's reserves in the bank to reach 100 million euros.

It is true that project spending by the previous administration was spoken about but that projects weren't undertaken. A reason for this, so it was said, had to do with a lack of human resources in the relevant administrative departments.

Yet another study needed for the Can Picafort treatment plant

The original agreement to build a water treatment plant in the Son Bauló area of Can Picafort dates back to 1995. The signatories were Santa Margalida and Muro town halls and the Balearic government's Abaqua water agency. Whatever harmony that might have existed between the two town halls almost thirty years ago has long since disappeared, the latest development - or should one say non-development - concerning what the mayor of Muro, Miquel Porquer, has denounced as "partiality" on behalf of the government.

Porquer is demanding an explanation from the water resources department for an apparent government pact with Santa Margalida which goes against the interests of Muro as it implies that the agreement from 1995 may not be complied with. His counterpart in Santa Margalida, Joan Monjo, says that EU guidelines regarding outfalls from treatment plants are clear and so the Spanish government is now commissioning a new environmental impact study.

It had seemed as if all parties, except Santa Margalida, were ready to move ahead with the new plant. It is now the case that they are not. The Balearic government's director-general for water resources, Joan Calafat, has inherited the problem, saying that "consensus must be achieved" as to the best technical solution. Quite, but try telling Santa Margalida that.

Where consensus (sort of) does exist is in respect of the treatment plant on the Son Bosc finca by the Albufera Nature Park. This is in Muro. The deficiencies with this plant were the reason why the Son Bauló alternative was agreed to all those years ago. All parties understand that the Muro plant can't cope with the demands placed on it, Muro town hall arguing that these have mostly come about because of hotel development in Can Picafort.

One of these days maybe there will be consensus. No one's holding their breath.