UK residents who enjoy sports and exercise in an expat area of Spain’s Costa Blanca South are at last seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for a key facility to eventually reopen.
The positive news comes as Orihuela Council says it is advertising a two-year contract for a private company to run the Orihuela Costa Municipal Sports Centre, which has been closed since April last year.
British and other international residents have been left frustrated, as before the State of Alarm restrictions came into force in March, the facility had been left shut for so long, caused by a row between the council and the previous franchise holder UTE.
A well-attended public meeting was held earlier this year where people voiced their anger over the lack of action to reopen a well-used municipal facility.
They also wanted the future running of the centre to be in public hands, but now Orihuela’s Sports councillor, Víctor Bernabéu, has revealed that a tender process worth over €1 million is already in progress.
“Very shortly we will be able to reopen the Sports Centre and Orihuela Costa residents will be able to enjoy all of the facilities in complete safety,” the councillor stated, as he did not give an exact timescale that he was working to.
Last June, the council seized a €50,000 bond posted by UTE, after previously stating that the company had not lived up to promises they had made over providing new facilities at the site.
The authority said at the time that bills had not been processed for almost a year, and some of the staff had not been paid since December 2018.
UTE claimed that Orihuela Council had not been willing to sit down and sort out any problems.
The controversial private contract was awarded 10 years ago and included a clause where Orihuela Council had been paying up to €20,000 per month to counter-balance UTE’s losses on the franchise.
The new contract will cover all operations at the centre including all activities and sports schools, as well as swimming pool safety and maintenance across the whole complex.