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Coastal Community, Tenerife

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

Coastal communities saved?
Spain’s Ley de Costas has proved somewhat of a double edged sword over the years. Originally created to protect the coastline from unscrupulous developers, in recent years it seems to have been more of a weapon for creating chaos and confusion with established coastal communities threatened with demolition whilst some hotels can seem immune.
Spain’s current government have been in the firing line of late but by giving the green light to an amendment to the law, they may have saved threatened communities and cleared up some of the confusion in the process… for now.
Because of the 1988 law, which in theory affects buildings constructed after the date of implementation within 100 metres of the coast, over 13,000 homes, hotels, restaurants and beach bars were due for demolition across Spain. The amendment has given most of these a 75 year amnesty (4 years for chiringuitos ““ beach bars).
However, any illegal builds will still be feeling the crunch of the wrecking ball before too long. It all seems relatively sensible… so why is there a niggle that this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Ley de Costas problems?

Lights out for smokers?
There are many positive offshoots from smoking bans in bars in Spain and Tenerife, one being that the pavement café society has become an even bigger one. With Tenerife’s climate, sitting outside for a puff is no real hardship. But smokers could find themselves hounded even further if the Sociedad Canaria de Neumología has their way. They want a smoking ban imposed on Tenerife’s beaches and sports stadiums. Cigarette butts account for 30% of waste on the island’s beaches, taking 10 years to break down. But apart from creating rubbish, the society says that smoking on the beach sets a bad example to Tenerife’s youngsters. Similarly smoking doesn’t have a place in stadiums devoted to healthy activities. Whether the society will get it’s way, we’ll have to wait and see. But La Orotava and El Rosario have already imposed smoking bans in stadiums and it looks as if Playa de la Teresitas may follow suit.

The guachinche problem
Anyone who doesn’t know what a guachinche is should head to the north of Tenerife where they’ll find themselves positively tripping over them. These quaint makeshift restaurants (found in garages, garden sheds, allotments etc.) are part of the north of Tenerife’s history and date back to the times when the British ruled the wine industry on the island. The problem is that although everyone wants to preserve them, there are more and more springing up all the time. La Orotava reports that there are at least 200 alone in their municipality. There are strict rules regarding what is and what isn’t a guachinche (opening times, what they can sell etc.) as no license is required. But restaurant owners and wine growers along Tenerife’s northern slopes have grown tired of illegal guachinches overstepping the mark by offering more extensive menus and even advertising themselves as wedding and baptism venues. It has reached the point where legitimate businesses are demanding a clampdown. So will that mean a lot less guachinche signs tacked to trees pointing up dirt tracks to who knows where? It’s unlikely. Every year local businesses demand action and every year promises are made… and nothing happens. ¡Viva los guachinches!

The Russians are coming
Okay, they’re already here, but the fastest growing tourist market on Tenerife will be getting even bigger with the addition of twice a week Aeroflot flights from Moscow. The flights will be on Tuesdays and Fridays and will begin operating on 30 October. Rossiya Airlines also gets in on the Russian/Tenerife act with another route from St Petersburg, also on Fridays.

The Best of Tenerife on Social Media
Congratulations to all the Canarian winners of the Premios Excelencia Tenerife 2.0 last week, an awards ceremony designed to highlight innovators in the world of social networking on Tenerife. Promoting social networking as an essential business and communications tool is something close to our hearts at Tenerife Magazine and as such, we support any event that rewards companies and individuals for embracing it. But it is a mystery why there were a lack of categories for innovation in social media related to Tenerife’s most important industry, tourism? After all Tenerife Tourist Board proclaimed to the world at the World Travel Market in London last year how advanced Tenerife was when it came to promoting the island in tourism terms using social media platforms. If it’s so important that the Minister for Tourism feels confident enough to boast about it to the world, why ignore it on home soil? Answers on a postcard please.

Queues at Tenerife’s Auditorium
The huge queue outside the Tenerife Auditorium in Santa Cruz last weekend may have had passers-by wondering if they’d missed news that some international superstar was due to perform in Tenerife’s capital. They hadn’t. The eye-catching building had become a rather snazzy polling station for the day and the queue was made up of Venezuelan residents lining up to vote in their home country’s elections. By the way, Hugo Chavez won… again

And finally the TIT (This is Tenerife) of the week award goes to… the Tenerife South Hospital Farce
Does anyone remember that mythical ideal, a hospital for the south of Tenerife? For a while it seemed more than a myth as it started to take shape on the hillside above Los Cristianos, it even got to the point where it started to look like a hospital building and then there was the crisis that everyone knew was coming… and then there were delays… and then there was no money… and then official bodies stopped paying their bills… and then those contracted to work for them stopped working for nothing… and finally it was a case of downing tools at the hospital.
Who knows when, or even if, the south hospital will be completed. There’s talk now that some of what has already been built has started to deteriorate because the project is taking so long. Subsequently millions more than originally planned will have to be ploughed into it.

When will Tenerife’s “powers that be’ learn that when you don’t pay your bills, you don’t get results and what’s more, with the rise of social media, the whole world gets to know about it.

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