Works begin on “unsustainable” golf course

LAST UPDATED: 1 Oct, 2007 @ 10:10
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ParchiteResidents claim electricity cables are laid at Parchite Golf


WORK has begun at controversial Parchite Golf, despite a regional government report rejecting it as “clearly unsustainable.”

Developers at the huge 334-home golf project on virgin oak woodland near Ronda, have begun laying the electrical cables needed to develop the land.

ParchiteThey have also been cutting some initial drainage ditches, according to neighbours and environmental groups.

In our exclusive pictures taken by a neighbour, you can clearly make out the recently dug ditches, as well as a huge pile of concrete manhole covers waiting to be installed.

The alarming moves come just days after the Junta de Andalucia’s environment department slammed the project, stating it would have “a very negative impact on the area’s environment.”

The report added that it would “alter irreversibly” an area that was 75 per cent full of important species, including oak trees and the endangered Bonelli’s eagle.

“Incredible”

According to the DIA (Declaracion de Impacto Ambiental), the project falls short in a number of other areas such as water.

Just like fellow project Los Merinos nearby, there are concerns that the aquifer that feeds the villages of Arriate, Setenil and Cuevas del Becerro could be poisoned.

“It is quite incredible,” said concerned neighbour Azzam Qasrawi. “They have learnt their lesson from Los Merinos next door…Just go ahead and do it anyway whether you have permission or not.”

Qasrawi, who is one of a dozen neighbours threatened with losing land to the development in one of the first cases of the so-called Land Grab law in Andalucía (see the Olive Press, issues 30 and 31), is furious.

“They have no licence, no permission and no authorisation, but what is the mayor doing about it? Absolutely nothing.”

Legality

A spokesman for environment group Ecologistas en Accion said that an official complaint had already been filed with the Junta’s environment department in Ronda.

“It is outrageous that they have begun the works without any licence,” he
said. “They have a lot of cheek.”

According to the group, it seems these works might be part of a bigger scheme to bring electricity to both Parchite and Los Merinos from the nearby village of Arriate.

As such, it should have licences from, the Ministry of Public Works, both of the town halls of Arriate and Ronda with a special licence from the environment department to cross the Via Pecuaria – part of a 125,000-kilometre network of cattle tracks protected under Spanish law.

“We do not know if they have any of these licences,” said the spokesman.

“But we are checking and demanding the works are stopped until it has been confirmed.”

Arriate mayor Bernadino Gaona would neither confirm or deny that the cables came from his town.

“I do not know exactly. It is outside my jurisdiction,” he said.

The matter was due to be raised by Ronda Izquierda Union boss Rafa Ruiz at the monthly council meeting this week.

Ronda mayor Antonio Marin Lara has declared that the scheme was passed as long ago as 1993 and is legal. He argues that it was included clearly in the PGOU of Ronda.

This is disputed by locals.

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