Ex-pats have been leaving angry messages on notice boards along the Orihuela coast criticising a council decision to close down more beach bars.
One note said “You’re taking the p*!s” because the decision to close the quaint wooden cabin bars also means the loss of the toilets and emergency aid housed in them.
However, the Councillor for Tourism says she is worried over the negative impact closure of the beach bars will have on Orihuela’s Blue Flag beaches, and the mayor of Orihuela is distancing himself from the intensifying argument, the Councillor for Beaches, Luisa Boné, and the Councillor for Contracts, Francisco Sáez, are both saying they are not responsible for the end of the bars.
Some ex-pats also blame recent closures of bars for the death of a boy whose life may have been saved, they say, had lifeguards been on duty and they had been able to get into the bar which housed a defibrillator.
The Orihuela councillor for the coast, Luisa Boné, confirmed that the contract for the Chiringuito bars have been suspended following the Prosecutor’s Office deciding the original contract in 2014 could have been wrongly made.
Chiringuitos del Sol had to close bars in Aguamarina, Mil Palmeras, La Caleta, Punta Prima, La Glea, La Mosca, Playa Flamenca, Cala Cerrada, Cala Bosque, Cala Capitán and Barranco Rubio.
The company is reported as saying: “It is our desire to return this service to the thousands of people who come every day to the Orihuela Coast. But given the dates, if this decision is prolonged in time, the beaches of Orihuela could be left without care or services throughout the summer.”
One ex-pat who emigrated from Ireland five years ago said: “Everyone’s up in arms. I am angry because of the lack of consideration, explanation or foresight and no compromise, leniency or regard for the consequences for everyone concerned…
“Surely tourism is the life blood of this region.”
The bar closures are a double blow for Chiringuitos del Sol – Adrian Roberts, one of the founders, died recently after a long illness. He was 58.
The company won a national award Beach Bar Against Climate Change in 2015 and two years earlier it was presented with an award for Responsible Beach Bar.cvc Both awards were made by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Biodiversity Foundation.
This latest bar ban follows the closure last year of the Sunrise bar at Orihuela which over-looked the Med and had become a last-bastion of live open-air rock events in the area.
Three other thriving beach bars in the Punta Prima area had already been closed overnight at the height of summer.
It appears there had been a complaint – or complaints – about noisy rock and country music day-time gatherings.
But isn’t Spain recognised as one of the noisiest countries in the world with fiestas and fireworks, Fandangos and feasts going on in to the early hours of the morning at the drop of a metaphorical hat?
The closure of the beach bars and the curtailment of live music in Orihuela is another massive blow for ex-pats who saw it as a major part of the joy of living in the land of sand, sea and sangria. Recently, another bar and restaurant put an end to ex-pat Spanish classes and keep fit.
For many people, who came to this lovely Spanish enclave with its salt lakes and miles of beaches looking for a new way of life, the loss of outdoor entertainment is a real blow. It is a blow too for locals, many have to work all hours during the tourist season to make enough to survive the winter.
Those who settled by the sea decades ago tell of how things have changed from being a rural farming and fishing community steeped in tradition, ceremony and fiestas. They say that in the last twenty years Torrevieja’s population has grown by 100,000 and for many the charm has started to stutter.
High-rise apartment blocks are being built along the seafront, sometimes even blocking the sun from promenades and beaches.
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