WORK on the unfinished Orihuela Costa Emergency Centre on Spain´s Costa Blanca will be completed by Christmas after eight years of delay and protests from angry residents.
Orihuela mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, said that the formal paperwork had been signed with local company Doalco to get onto the site at La Zenia, with six months to conclude the project under a €2 million contract.
An eight week delay in the sorting out the formalities was caused by Spain´s State of Alarm measures preventing business from going ahead.
Construction on the site could now start from next week in the culmination of a drawn out affair that has angered residents over what they regarded as second-class treatment for the Orihuela Costa.
The saga of the incomplete centre dates back to the original contractor going bust in 2012, with just the very basic shell of the building constructed close to the Consum supermarket in La Zenia.
There then followed years of inactivity from the Valencian regional government and Orihuela Council, with regular protests and complaints by Orihuela Costa residents that their needs were being ignored.
A change in political control in Valencia in 2015 led to the start of the log-jam being broken, and plans for a revised centre were submitted in 2017 taking into account new budgets and new safety requirements.
Promised dates for tenders to be advertised came and went, as authorities in Orihuela and Valencia fell out over who should take responsibility for the work, with the regional government eventually decreeing that Orihuela should be in charge.
Last summer, Orihuela Council said that a tender was about to be advertised but nothing happened, with European Union grant money to help fund the ending this coming December.
The building will house all of the Orihuela Costa’s emergency services like the Guardia Civil, Local Police, firefighters, and civil protection volunteers.
The centre will also have ambulances based there during the busy summer tourist season, and a helicopter landing pad.
Response times to incidents will be significantly improved on current timings, with emergency teams frequently making journeys from areas outside the Orihuela Costa.