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The town hall plans to turn the complex into a visitor centre for the marine reserve

Friday 11th January 2019


The president of the Alicante Port Authority, Juan Antonio Gisbert, travelled to Xàbia this week to visit the two lighthouses within the municipality, those on the headlands of Cabo de San Antonio and Cabo de la Nao, along with mayor José Chulvi, Port Authority director Carlos Eleno and a number of authority technicians. And amongst the discussions made during the visit, they spoke about the transfer of the lighthouse of San Antonio to the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia so that the local administration can start work of the project to turn the building into a visitor centre.

The mayor highlighted the willingness of the directors of the Port Authority to make the administrative process a reality in the next few days which will allow Xàbia to commission a draft plan for the project. He explained that it is the intention of the Ayuntamiento to turn the lighthouse building complex into a visitor centre for the public, following the model of that at Albir further down the coast or turning it into an information centre for the Cabo de San Antonio Natural Marine Reserve which forms of the Parque Natural del Montgó, a project that has the support of the Governing Board of the natural park.

This week's benefited from the attendance of Antonio Fontes, the technician responsible for the operation of the two lighthouses in Xàbia, from which the delegation was able to learn more about an important part of the maritime and historical heritage of the town which remains largely unknown to its residents. With the project to turn the lighthouse at San Antonio into a visitor centre taking another step towards reality, the mayor said that he held high hopes that visitors will be able to understand better this unique world which has been so important for coastal communities.

The proposed transfer of the lighthouse at San Antonio to municipality control will be the culmination of a long fight to prevent the building from falling into private hands and being turned into a luxury hotel complex. As part of the government's ambitious plan to convert many of Spain's lighthouses into other uses, the lighthouse had been selected for conversion and in the autumn of 2014 the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia learnt that the Alicante Port Authority had already received three proposals to develop the complex, one of which presented the best economic option - the conversion of the complex into a six-bedroom luxury hotel with café and restaurant. In early 2015 the Ayuntamiento formally objected to the proposal on grounds of adverse environmental and social impact as well as highlighting the fact that the complex lay within 100 metres of the coast, resulting in development restrictions which meant that the proposal to add an upper floor would be illegal. The hotel project's promoter tried to win over the Ayuntamiento by offering, amongst other things, to provide a special viewpoint which would be open to the public five days a week. But a demonstration later in the year clearly showed that there was little local support for the project. In early 2016, after several months of furious debate, the Ayuntamiento proposed to convert the building into a visitor centre for the marine reserve, similar to that which could be found in Albir further down the coast.

La autoridad portuaria de Alicante cederá a Xàbia el faro del Cap de Sant Antoni

El presidente de la autoridad portuaria de Alicante, Juan Antonio Gisbert, ha visitado esta semana junto al alcalde de Xàbia, José Chulvi, los dos faros que tiene el municipio en el Cap de Sant Antoni y La Nao. En la visita también ha estado Carlos Eleno, director de la Autoridad Portuaria de Alicante, así como técnicos del organismo, ya que se ha tratado la fórmula para acelerar la cesión del uso del edificio civil del faro de Sant Antoni al Ayuntamiento, de forma que la administración local pueda ponerse a trabajar en el proyecto necesario para darle un uso público.

El alcalde ha destacado la buena predisposición de los dirigentes de la autoridad portuaria para que este trámite administrativo sea una realidad en pocos días, permitiendo así a Xàbia encargar el anteproyecto de reforma. Chulvi ha recordado que la intención del Ayuntamiento xabiero es hacer visitable el faro y darle un uso cultural y divulgativo, siguiendo el modelo del Albir, e incluso convertirlo en un centro de interpretación de la Reserva Marina que forma parte del Parque Natural del Montgó, algo que cuenta con el respaldo de la Junta Rectora del parque.

A través de la visita de esta semana, que ha tenido como guía de excepción a Antonio Fontes, el técnico responsable de que todo funcione en los dos faros de Xàbia, el alcalde ha podido conocer más de cerca una parte importante del patrimonio marítimo e histórico del municipio, que por su peculiaridad es un gran desconocido para la población. Con el proyecto de hacer visitable el faro de Sant Antoni,“esperamos que todos podamos conocer mejor este mundo singular,  que tanta importancia ha tenido durante siglos para los pueblos costeros” ha señalado el alcalde.


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