Junta backs controversial golf project despite law restricting new courses
THE regional government has left itself open to accusations of hypocrisy after giving its backing to a huge scale golf and residential project on protected land near Nerja.
The Junta de Andalucía could violate its own golf decree, introduced earlier this year to sever the often close relationship between the construction of golf courses and new housing, after offering its support to the La Coladilla complex.
Once built the complex – which will “revolutionise” the economy of the Costa del Sol town – will include an 18-hole golf course, almost 1,000 houses and a luxury hotel on one million square metres of land within the boundaries of the Sierra de Tejada y Almijara natural park.
Following a meeting with land officials at the regional government headquarters in Sevilla, Nerja mayor José Alberto Armijo received the clearest indication yet that the project will go ahead.
“The general secretary for Planning and Territorial Development at the Junta believes the plans are viable for the area. The golf complex will be a breath of fresh air for the local economy,” Armijo said. “It will be revolutionary.”
Some are left unconvinced of the Coladilla complex, which will be constructed on land adjacent to the famous Cuevas de Nerja network of caverns.
Bird group SEO and environmentalists Ecologistas en Accion have warned against the plan, claiming endangered species of fauna and flora could be put at risk.
“Four rare plant species will be placed under threat from Coladilla as will the habitats of vertebrates such as the Bedriaga’s skink – a type of lizard – and the horseshoe whipsnake, which are both protected under national and regional law,” said a spokesman for Ecologistas en Accion.
The project’s water supply, which under the Junta’s new decree has to be recycled, has also been called into question.
According to figures quoted by environmentalists, La Coladilla would need 500,000 cubic hectometres of water per year at a time when climate change could lead to a decrease in annual rainfall levels.
A study published by the Oceanographic Institute in Málaga suggests precipitation in the province could be more intense but less frequent if projected rises in temperature occur.
“Málaga sits upon a latitude that experiences more evaporation than rainfall. With an increase in temperature, we will experience even more evaporation,” said one of the authors of the report, Manuel Vargas.
Further meetings are scheduled between Nerja council officials and the tourism and environment departments at the Junta.
The latter of which, however, is expected to seek a reduction in the 993 homes scheduled for the complex.
La Coladilla has been on the drawing board since 2004 when 15 million euro deal was signed by council officials and construction company, Medgroup.
A year later, the Junta de Andalucía vetoed the project with the publication of the POTA document, which classified the earmarked plot within the natural park as protected land.
This resulted in threats of legal action from Medgroup, the group behind the controversial Playa Macena golf complex in Mojacar, Almeria, as the multinational company demanded the return of 11 million euros already paid to the town hall in Nerja.
Opponents to Macena claim protected dry riverbeds (ramblas) have been destroyed to make way for the project.
Meanwhile, a collective of mayors is trying to push through three golf courses on the Costa Tropical.
The Mancomunidad de la Costa Tropical, a group which consists of council leaders from the eastern coast of Granada, has proposed the developments in its subregional land plans.
If the plans receive the go ahead, they will be constructed in Almuñecar, Molvizar, Salobreña and Albuñol, a municipality which is planning to build 4,500 new homes.