Saturday, December 30, 2017

From Wind To Wind: North Mallorca's Year

Wind and floods
January is a month in the north of Mallorca which is punctuated by the excitement for the Sant Antoni fiestas. Not everything went according to plan this year. There was weather.

The night of Sant Antoni Eve - bonfires and all - wasn't disrupted, despite the apparent madness of setting bonfires ablaze when the wind's howling. The closest thing there was to disaster was when an 18-year-old in an Audi decided to drive straight through a Sa Pobla bonfire. It was the next day when things went awry. The Formentor pine had to be transported over land rather than sea, and blessings were called off: Alcudia, Muro and Sa Pobla. Still, the pines were nevertheless climbed, which provoked its own spot of controversy - in Pollensa at any rate. Under-greased, the pine was a doddle, and the contest was all over in a few minutes.

The flooding in January led to the road that runs by the Albufera Nature Park from Playa de Muro to Sa Pobla having to be closed for several days. The Council of Mallorca came and had a look. The relevant councillor, Mercedes Garrido, said that there would be a plan for the road, about which nothing more was heard.

Valls and the cockerel

The Valls ice-cream kiosk saga dragged on. Pollensa town hall had said there would be a tender, then it said that there wouldn't be. It couldn't guarantee that the kiosk (whether in the same place or another) would be for the sale of "artisan" ice-cream or that the award would have to be to a local business; and by local the town hall meant from Pollensa.

The Sant Antoni cockerel (the one at the top of the Pollensa pine) was up for discussion. There was a council motion for the cockerel to be eliminated; 1992 animal-protection law regarding the use of animals in the "human environment" was cited. The motion was defeated. "Shameful," said the Alternativa per Pollença. Nevertheless, the mayor, Miquel Àngel March, who had been in favour of the motion, announced that there won't be a cockerel in January 2018.

Alcudia's name and pressure group
Salvem el Moll, the Puerto Alcudia pressure group, was regularly in the news, taking aim at Alcudiamar, the Balearic Ports Authority and Alcudia town hall. Was the fact that it only had 283 likes on its Facebook page (back in March) an indication of support? Numbers who turned out for its periodic protests barely reached double figures.

Muro town hall copped for some flak over a photo taken during the minute's silence for the Westminster terrorist attack. Of twelve people in the photo, only four had solemn expressions. The others were either smiling or laughing. If nothing else, could the town hall not have chosen another photo for its Facebook page?

Alcudia wanted to give its name to a car. The motor manufacturer Seat was introducing a new model and was looking for somewhere in Spain with a name that had to start with an A. The town hall therefore fired off a letter to Seat's president and advanced the case for the car to be the Seat Alcudia. It wasn't.

The bus station and no confidence

The Puerto Pollensa bus station (which we later learned isn't a bus station; just some bus stops) was finally approved, but not without an unholy row. So heated did things get that two councillors - Miquel Àngel Sureda (Junts) and Marti Roca (now unaccredited, formerly El Pi) - had something of a set-to. Denuncias were being threatened, etc, etc.

Miquel Àngel March, who had faced a possible vote of no confidence some months previously, was confronted with another one. This time, he himself threw down the gauntlet. It was all to do with approving the budget. He lost the vote, but there was never any possibility of his being replaced because the opposition was not in a position to muster sufficient votes. March knew this. The deadline for presenting an alternative to him passed, and so was the budget.

The students and wake park
The so-called Mallorca Island Festival at Bellevue, as each year, left a trail of complaints about noise, behaviour and vandalism. Also as each year, it was studiously ignored by the media. Was this to do with the fact that it was Spanish students causing the complaints? It may only have been three weeks, but there had to be some perspective: three weeks too many for residents denied sleep, for those whose cars were trampled on, for businesses which were robbed, for other businesses which suffered because a regular type of tourist wasn't present.

Members of the Spanish Royal Family came to Alcudia's Wake Park. The Queen Mother, Sofia, would have been among family members with no idea that the park on Lago Menor (aka Lake Placid) was the source of a row with the residents. One community had sent off a letter of complaint to the Costas Authority in Madrid about the noise from the zip system.

José's terrace
There was the war of José's chairs - José as in Bony in Puerto Pollensa. Full enforcement of Pollensa terrace and tables law had become an obsession of the town hall administration. The police turned up one evening in September. There were alternative versions. The police closed the bar. José decided to close it. Typically eccentric postings on Facebook only added to the confusion, but the situation was to settle down.

Salvem el Moll reappeared and was pressurising the town hall into closing the Alcudiamar Botel. Apparently, so it is claimed, there shouldn't be a hotel as such. The town hall said it wanted more information and wouldn't be acting in a "drastic" manner.

Catalonia and Monjo's route
Back at Pollensa town hall, the Catalonia referendum threatened to once more break the ruling pact between the Junts and the UMP. There was a compromise which avoided this, but the president of the UMP resigned in protest over a pro-referendum motion.

Santa Margalida's mayor, Joan Monjo, was livid that there was no tourist tax revenue for an archaeological route. It then emerged that this route would pass by an agrotourism establishment in Muro that is owned by the mayor. Monjo denied that this had anything to do with the project and that the route would in any event be some distance from the hotel.

The winds returned

And the year drew towards a close in similar fashion to how it had begun - with weather. The high winds of Cyclone Bruno contributed to the death of a windsurfer in Alcudia and whipped up a potentially disastrous fire in Puerto Pollensa.

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