1st Dec 2020 @ 1:32 pm

Monthly local news roundup! A rundown of everything that has happened during the past month that you need to know; written in a brief and easy to understand format.

First published in Gazette Life, December 1st 2020.

La Gomera Landslide

Emergency services have declared that there were no victims of the landslide that occurred at Valle Gran Rey in La Gomera on 14th November.

Spectacular footage of the collapse of one of the sheer cliffs near the island’s most popular tourist resort soon went viral on social media, but despite the fact that a number of campervans were parked at the foot of the cliff, no one was hurt.

Smaller landslides are a fact of life on La Gomera, a volcanic outcrop that is slowly crumbling into the ocean.

All change in Haría

At the time of writing, a no-confidence vote in Haría is likely to remove the Socialist mayor, Alfredo Villalba, and replace him with Coalición Canaria (CC) councillor Chaxiraxi Nix.

Haría municipality has 11 council seats and in 2019 the CC won 5, the Socialists won 3 and the PMH (Platform for the Municipality of Haría), a renegade party set up by ex-CC mayor Jose Torres Stinga after he was deselected by the party in 2015, also won 3.

The no-confidence vote will see the PMH switch its alliance to the CC and install Chaxiraxi Nix of the CC as mayor in a power-sharing agreement that will see her hand over to Stinga half way through the new mandate.

Stinga’s return to the mayoral office may be regarded as sweet revenge for the agreements between his party and the socialists that removed him from power in the first place.

Rapid tests demanded

The Canarian government is negotiating to have rapid antigen tests included among the accepted methods of pre-travel testing, after fears that the cost and inconvenience of PCR tests will destroy the winter tourist season.

Tour operators such as TUI and Jet2 are also backing the call for rapid tests to be permitted, and have warned that if they are not, the winter season will be a “failure”. After campaigning for months for testing at origin, the Spanish hoteliers association, CEHAT, has also called for “rapid and economic” tests to be permitted.

“The high cost of PCR tests and the waiting time until results are available create another obstacle to international tourism, which comes on top of all those we’ve already seen in the pandemic” CEHAT claimed yesterday.

Vaccine ready by new year

Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, has announced that ten million Spaniards will be given the new coronavirus vaccine in the New Year. “We expect that this week or next week we can sign various contracts with Pfizer and other companies,” said Illa, “And we hope to have a sufficiently significant percentage of the population vaccinated by May 2021.” Illa hopes to acquire 20 million doses of the new vaccine as soon as possible.

Health ministers and regional health authorities will be given the responsibility to decide which citizens to vaccinate first, although it is expected that the most vulnerable members of society will get priority.

Wind toy maintenance

Róbalo, the César Manrique wind toy that is located at the roundabout in Los Pocillos, Puerto del Carmen, has been removed for maintenance and renovation.

The colourful sculpture, which is named after the sea bass and features several of Manrique’s charming representations of fish, will be repainted, cleaned and technicians will hopefully get it whirling again – something it has not done for several years. The schedule of renovating the wind toys began in 2017 with the removal of the iconic Fobos sculpture, located at the Tahiche roundabout where Manrique lost his life in 1992.

Big cheese

Cheese worshippers made a special pilgrimage to Playa Honda last month, where the largest cured cheese in the world was being displayed.

The immense dairy product, which weighs over 200 kilos and has been made with 1,800 litres of goats’ milk by Quesos Bolaños of Gran Canaria, has been matured for ten months.

On 21st November “accredited artisanal maestros” from Gran Canaria cut the cheese in front of a select audience.

Cycle row in Playa Honda

The decision to close the seafront promenade in Playa Honda to cyclists has already caused controversy, and San Bartolomé Ayuntamiento now plans to divert cycle traffic onto cycle paths running through the town.

San Bartolomé recently decided to make the cycle ban that was introduced during lockdown permanent after locals welcomed the move. Mayor Alexis Tejera announced that cycle paths would be created in Playa Honda to provide alternative routes for cyclists. These paths will be “painted on the interior of the streets in the area and will co-exist with existing traffic”.

The closure of the Avenida to traffic has been welcomed by pedestrians who claim that cyclists did not observe the rules and caused a serious risk to pedestrians. However, cyclists have criticised the decision, which has been described as “changing a cyclist/pedestrian risk to a motorist/cyclist risk.”

That’s it! You’re all caught up. For regular updates, articles and interviews about Lanzarote and its’ residents don’t forget to check out the new December Edition of the Gazette Life Magazine.