COMPARING plans to convert a property in the Cabo de Gata natural park into a 30-room hotel and the notorious 21-storey El Algarrobico complex standing on a protected beach near Carboneras is “absurd”, says the Andalucia Vice-President.
“To make these comparisons is out of place”, Juan Marin commented in a radio interview on Tuesday.
The Junta de Andalucia has given the green light to plans to convert ‘Cortijo Las Chiqueras’ located behind the virgin Genoveses beach into a four-star hotel with swimming pool after concluding the initiative is environmentally viable.
But environmental groups like Ecologistas en Accion Almeria, Grupo Ecologista Mediterraneo, Salvemos Mojacar and Amigos del Parque, and the EQUO Spanish Green Party, argue the initiative does not fit with preservation of the park, and an online petition to put a stop to the plans now has more than 130,000 signatures.
Marin insisted the Andalucia administration is fully complying with the law. He pointed out the property is already used as a restaurant and museum, and stressed the proposal is for an “extension with a very small number of rooms for an ecotourism destination more than a kilometre and a half from the beach.”
The El Algarrobico is also located within the border of the Cabo de Gata park, but only 50 metres from the sea. The 411-room hotel was 95 per cent completed when in 2006 an Almeria court paralysed the works for being in a protected area and violating the Coasts Law following a legal claim presented by Ecologists in Action and Salvemos Mojacar, raising environmentalists’ hopes it would be demolished.
Since then there have been a whole series of court rulings and appeals, and the structure remains standing.