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javeamigos.com | VIRGEN DEL CARMEN




On the morning of Monday 20th January, waves more than 8 metres in height slammed into the coast of Xàbia generated by one of the most savage maritime storms in living memory. In the following days, the town began an intensive clean-up campaign and in some areas where the damage was minimal, it was a simple case of sweeping and clearing away sand and debris. However, the Arenal zone had taken a severe beating, the huge waves sweeping away at the giant sand barrier that was supposed to protect the promenade. The southern end, the closest section to the sea, suffered great damage, the long concrete blocks lifted and thrown about like giant Jenga bricks.

A month later, we already knew that Storm Gloria had caused almost half-a-million euros worth of damage to the town. But mayor José Chulvi was confident that Xàbia would be in the best condition to receive visitors at Easter and that a full recovery would be made by the summer.

And then another more devastating wave hit the country. At the end of January, a German tourist in the Canary Islands tested positive for a novel coronavirus that had originated in central-east China. A week later, a British tourist tested positive in Mallorca. As the Spanish government claimed that the country “will only have a handful of cases”, the first victim died in Valencia. By the beginning of March, it was clear that this new virus was sweeping across the country and the government reacted. On March 14th, a national lockdown was declared. It would last some three months.

In Xàbia, work on repairing the badly damaged section of the Arenal promenade was in an advance stage as the pandemic reached Spain. A technical inspection had estimated that the complex structural damage would cost more than 200,000 euros to repair. And this meant that the work would have to be tendered, bids invited from companies to take on the project, a process controlled by the Contracts law which would normally take two months to complete.

Far from dragging its feet on getting this vital job completed, back in February, there was complete confidence within the Council that the work would be finished by the summer. But the COVID-19 health crisis suspended all public procurement processes for some two months and the Council was not able to continue with the tender procedure until May 7th. It was not completed until the middle of June when the contract to carry out the repair work was awarded to Victor Tormo SL who had offered to complete the project for just under 166,000 euros.

However, summer has arrived. And with the country transitioning into a ‘New Normality’ and tourists – both national and international – returning, the Council felt that the work to make these repairs would impact too much on what is a popular beach destination as some of the car-park would need to be occupied and the affected area fenced off, both on the promenade and on the beach itself. Post-lockdown social distancing requirements also played a part in making the decision to suspend the repair work until September. In the meantime, the Council is removing the large concrete blocks that were dislodged to avoid potential accidents with visitors.

A statement from the Council said that it has regretted not having the iconic promenade ready for the summer and hopes that the public will understand that unavoidable circumstances of a peculiarly dramatic first six months of 2020 have played a major role in shattering the confidence shown in February.

Source: Ayuntamiento de Xàbia
Date: Tuesday 30th June 2020





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