THE WEEKLY NEWS FROM ORIHUELA

Park improvements on the way

The bus service from the Orihuela Costa to the Medieval Market was seen as a huge success once again, with over 200 passengers registering to use the service over the three day event. The town hall still maintain a regular bus service every Tuesday, also calling at Entre Naranjos, which can be used for any normal purpose, such as a visit to the health centres, shopping, or embarking on one of the guided tours of the city, with a knowledgeable guide always available to coincide with the service. More information can be obtained from the town hall.

The Councillor for the Coast in Orihuela, Martina Scheurer, has announced that the N332 road near La Regia will be completely closed to traffic on the night of Monday the 17th of February, to enable the new footbridge to be moved into place over the road. The route will re-open in the early hours of Tuesday the 18th, with the bridge still scheduled for opening to pedestrians in early March. Meanwhile, the central structure of the new footbridge near the new school has been put in place and work is continuing on a footbridge near to the Zenia Boulevard, all on schedule for their anticipated completion next month.

A government delegate attended the latest meeting with the roads department on Friday, discussing the threatened closure of two access roads from the N-332 roundabout at La Zenia. The town hall proposed leaving the roads open as they are, rather than submitting to the change of one-way access, whilst other options are tested, including the creation of the mini roundabout at the access road to the new emergency coordination centre.

The councillor for the coast has been in contact with a local company who were awarded a contract for the installation of information signs in park areas on the coastal zone. The 19,000 euro contract was awarded in December of 2008, but was never fulfilled, despite the money having been allocated and sitting in the budget for every year since. It is not known why the work has never been started, let alone completed, despite being awarded some 6 years ago. Should the company not be able to fulfil the terms of the tender at this time, it will be awarded to another company to ensure that the legally required signs are installed.

Work on a green area and park on calle Plutón is near completion, with ping-pong table and other features for adults, a dedicated and secure play area for children, and the first ever dog agility park to be installed in any park area of the municipality of Orihuela. A formal announcement regarding the opening will be made shortly, but it is hoped that the park area will become a focal meeting point for entire families within the community, but it is also hoped that the efforts will be appreciated and the park will not become damaged or unclean and be respected as a new and improved feature of the residential zone.

Plans are being made to celebrate this year's Day of the Tree, with an initiative that will see the local schools of the orihuela costa getting involved in planting sustainable trees on green areas near to the schools, with children given the opportunity to adopt one of the plants, which they will then water and tend for, under supervision, whilst learning the benefits of the environmental impact of trees, as well as being given tasks that empower responsibility whilst learning. As the children grow throughout their younger years and into adulthood, so will the trees, providing an educational legacy for future generations.

A tender has been awarded for the creation of a network of electronic administration in the town hall, a process which will be implemented as a priority, whereas all administrative functions of the town hall will not only be streamlined and become more efficient, they will save a considerable amount of expense in saving paper and workload. Documents submitted through the town hall will be automatically scanned and distributed electronically, rather than the current and somewhat antiquated process of creating multiple photocopies and sending the files through the traditional methods. The process will ultimately lead to the extension of the network to allow residents of the municipality to monitor the process of cases such as urban and planning applications and other licenses, amongst other features.

Meanwhile, the town hall are looking at other potential options for streamlining the administrative paper trail of the town hall process, including a better method for sending out official documentation to residents and businesses, which are currently sent by registered post without knowledge of the applicant being present at the property, 80% of which are returned to the town hall undelivered, but still incurring expense.

The environment department has announced a municipal-wide plan to clear industrial and builder´s waste which has been dumped in various barrancos. Permission had to be sought from the hydrographical department before the work could begin, but it is seen as an essential requirement to clear the areas prior to the normal rainy spring downpours, as this type of rubbish impedes the flow of water along the channels and can have catastrophic effects for areas at risk of flooding.

Officers from the National Police have been meeting with their Local colleagues and town hall officials this week, in preparation for planning activities during the summer season. Safety, security and peace and quiet were all on the agenda, with an action team discussing ways to ensure that the busiest time of year on the coastal zone passes with little or no preventable problems. Noise, parties, botellones and the beach were just some of the topics in the discussion.

Work on replacing or repairing paving stones in various areas of the coastal zine is nearing completion, with any trees that have had to be move due to their growth being relocated to better areas, whilst the footpaths are also becoming more stable and passable as a result.

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