Ibiza History & Culture

LiveIbiza Established 1982
Ibiza Artists Anthropology Bibliomania Ecology History Features

Local News in Ibiza

Local News
by Louise Wright

Sand Extracted Illegally

Ibiza Local News

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 case.

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 that ever.

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 agent employee.

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 rain.

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 ice rink.

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 16th December.

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 pesetas.

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.

Louise Wright