One of our regular readers recently sent
us e-mail complaining about sand being extracted illegally
by a local company in the area of San José.
According to our reader, the company Es
Pi Ver started to extract sand from the area known as Puig
de s'Avenc about six months ago, shortly after the owner of
a house situated on the land passed away.
The house, an old Ibicencan style finca,
is now in ruins and the land has been totally transformed
as a result of the excavations.
A part from destroying the environment,
on further investigation it was discovered that this activity
is totally illegal.
The head of the police in Ibiza, Ángel
Marí, owns Can Berri, one of the most important sand
distributors on the island, and his wife Sofía Álvarez
is the administrator of the above mentioned sand extracting
company Es Pi Ver, S.A.
For the past several months, machinery has
been working flat out to extract as much sand as possible
from this new source in San José.
After repeated complaints from the neighbours
about the destruction and the noise of the site, the Town
Hall of San José decided to start investigating the
They soon were to discover that Es Pi Ver,
S.A. did not have a licence to extract sand from Puig de s'Avenc.
Town Hall officials interrupted the activity
in the sandpit on Monday 10th December, when all work had
to be stopped as the company lacked the official permits.
According to the law of building discipline,
the extraction or movement of soil requires authorization
from the local Town Hall. But despite the Town Hall terminating
the work, the locals tell me that the diggers were back to
work the next day in Puig de s'Avenc with more determination
This time the digging started in the early
hours of the morning and carried on non-stop until night-time.
Despite the neighbours complaints, Ángel
Marí and the Town Hall both denied that any sand had
been extracted from the area on that day.
Ángel Marí said: "There
was no digging done on Tuesday 11th December, the only work
that was done was to restore the area".
Although at first it may have seemed that
the Town Hall of San José defended Ángel Marí's
irresponsible actions, the councillor of Construction, José
Marí Ribas, explained that the company had applied
for a licence several months ago because they wanted to repair
the banks and plant carob trees but nothing was ever said
about extracting sand.
In response to the company's licence application,
the Town Hall of San José told me that a licence is
not necessary for agricultural activities but, as José
Marí Ribas says, "turning Puig de s'Avenc into
a sandpit is not an agricultural activity".
The Town Hall is now deciding what legal
action should be taken against the company.
This isn't the only sandpit that has been
exploited by Es Pi Ver, S.A. over the years. According to
Ángel Marí, since 1993 the company has extracted
sand from 17 different locations in San José and all
without a licence from the Town Hall.
It has since been discovered that the law
of natural areas protects some of these sites and one of them
is situated at the bottom of sa Talaia, the highest mountain
on the island.
The only sandpit owned by Ángel Marí
no longer has any sand and for the past eight years he has
had agreements with several property owners to extract sand
from their land, which then is transported by lorry to Can
Berri and sold.
The police commissioner Ángel Marí
admitted that Es Pi Ver, S.A. hasn't got a licence to extract
sand from Puig de s'Avenc or any other location and he doesn't
believe it's necessary. He says: "The Plan for Quarry
Activity in the Balearics, the Law of Mines from 1973 and
the Law of Rustic Soil all indicate that no licence is necessary
for the kind of work that is being done at Puig de s'Avenc".
When asked why the Town Hall officials had
stopped work on Puig de s'Avenc's sandpit if no licence is
required, Ángel Marí responded: "We can't
expect the local politicians to know everything can we?"
Marí defended his company saying,
"Es Pi Ver is the only company on the island that keeps
an official record of all the sand extractions in different
locations". He also added: "The only sand that has
been extracted from Puig de s'Avenc is that left over from
the work we are doing to restore the area".
Thanks to our reader and other local residents
who alerted the press about this case, it has now been brought
to the attention of the local officials who will be taking
action against this illegal activity that is putting the natural
beauty of the island in grave danger.
Christmas In Ibiza
Christmas is just around the corner and the island of Ibiza
is looking pretty abandoned.
During the Christmas period a lot of Ibiza
residents, who have originated from all over Europe, leave
the island to reunite with family and friends.
The local travel agents have told me that
despite the 11th September tragedies Ibiza residents are sticking
to their travel plans.
"Bookings haven't really dropped in
comparison to last year but we have noticed that Ibiza residents
are choosing safer holiday destinations", said a travel
The head of holiday sales for the leading
travel company Abratours, Laura Añibarro, says: "Long
distance holidays to places like Cuba or Santo Domingo are
still taboo. A lot of people feel apprehensive about being
on an aeroplane for several hours after what happened in America".
Most Ibicencans used to spend the festive
season in places like Mexico, Egypt or Morocco but ski resorts
seem to be this year's choice for those who want a holiday
in the snow.
"Andorra, Pyrennees and Sierra Nevada
are the most popular destinations. We have noticed that the
tour companies have taken advantage by putting up their prices
for these resorts", said Laura Añibarro.
Other parts of mainland Spain, such as Galicia
and Asturias, have also turned into popular holiday destinations.
According to the travel agents, New York
used to be one of the most popular places for Christmas and
New Year but, after the tragedies, very few people are choosing
the Big Apple as a place to spend their holidays.
Snow definitely won't be scarce at the ski
resorts in the mainland as for the past two weeks rain, snow
and sleet have caused many problems, especially in the north
of Spain and Cataluña.
Fortunately Ibiza escaped this bout of bad
weather although the island did see a couple of days of heavy
The closest Ibiza will come to seeing snow
this winter is at the newly inaugurated ice rink in Calle
Murcia. The biggest attraction for the Christmas season opened
its doors to the public on Tuesday 18th December, three days
later than planned due to technical difficulties.
The new ice skating rink was filled with
500 children from different schools on the first day to have
a go on the ice.
The councillor of Fiestas, Sandra Mayans;
the councillor of Culture and Environment, Fanny Tur; the
councillor of Sports, Roque López; the councillor of
Social Well-being, Santiago Pizarro; and the Lord Mayor of
Ibiza, Xico Tarrés, all attended the inauguration and
tried out the ice for themselves.
The rink will remain open every day from
9:30 to 13:30 and 16:30 to 21:30 hours. On Friday and Saturday
the ice rink will also open from 10 o'clock to midnight so
that adults can enjoy the rink, as most of the other days
will be devoted to groups of school children.
The Lord Mayor said that the ice rink will
remain open to 18th January 2002, three days later than planned
to make-up for the first three days that were lost.
An hour's ice skating, including skates
will cost 1,000 pesetas (6'01 Euros).
Xico Tarrés has also asked for patience
as only a small number of people are allowed on the ice at
one time and, as expected, everyone wants a go on the new
Christmas is also a time for giving and
sharing with others. At this time of year most of the island's
charity organizations are in full swing with their different
events, collecting money and gifts for the most needed.
The first event of this year's festive season
was the annual fair celebrated by Ibiza and Formentera's Association
Against Cancer in Ibiza's Fair and Exhibition Centre on Sunday
More than 100 volunteers worked continuously
for nine hours making sure that the fair was a success.
The Cancer Association wishes to thank all
the different businesses and volunteers that participated
in the fair and those who donated gifts, which were later
auctioned to the visitors.
The president of the association, José
Colomar, and the vice-president, Pamela Deaking, expressed
how pleased they were with the amount of people who attended
2,000 in total as well as 200 children and several artists
who participated in a special show at the Exhibition Centre.
Between the auction and the raffles, the
Association Against Cancer collected a total of seven million
The fashion company Adlib is also holding
a special Christmas fashion show for children in need.
All proceeds from the fashion show, which
also includes a Christmas buffet and a live performance from
the famous soprano Gloria Phoenix, will be donated to the
UNICEF charity for children and the APNEEF (Charity Association
for People with Special Needs).
The show will commence at 9 o'clock on Friday
21st December in Ibiza's Fair and Exhibition Centre.
The tickets are priced at 5,000 pesetas
to include dinner or 1,000 pesetas for the show.
The Red Cross is also working to make Christmas
a nice time for everyone, including the poor.
For the past month Red Cross volunteers
have been busy collecting toys so that every child in Ibiza
will have a present to open on Christmas morning.
These are just some of the many charitable
events taking place during the holiday season so don't forget
to support as many as you can.
Thanks to all the charity organizations
on the island who make us realize that Christmas isn't just
a time for receiving but also for giving.
And with that thought in mind I would like
to give you all my best wishes for Christmas and wish everyone
a peaceful and prosperous 2002.
I'm off for a short holiday and will be
back with more local news in three weeks time.