The Government of the Canary Islands has completed the work of recovering the surroundings of the El Tanque Cultural Space, in the Cabo Llanos area, in Santa Cruz. This rehabilitation work has lasted for ten months, which has had a budget of half a million euros and which, according to the president of the Friends of the Tank Association, Dulce Xerach Pérez, “comes to value, even more if possible, this space which was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2014 ”.
“The exterior of the tank has been painted, its exterior lighting has been improved, and a green square has been made. A project by the architect Fernando Menis, and which is already part of the 1,700 landscaped spaces of the city. It is the last in the capital and the first in Cabo Llanos, since 1995. Year in which the old refinery that was located right in this area began to be dismantled ”, explained Pérez.
This project has tried to make a nod to the history of Santa Cruz, because before the Refinery was installed on these plots, at the beginning of the 20th century, that area was dedicated to the cultivation of bananas. Dulce Xerach Pérez says that “this is the reason why banana trees have been planted, as well as cypress and flamboyant trees.” “We cannot forget the history of Santa Cruz. With the Tank we will remember that the old refinery was right there, and with the banana plantations, that the capital also had an agricultural past ”, he explains.
Without a doubt, the Tank has never been without controversy. Pérez says that “it has taken 25 years for this infrastructure, which was opened, for the first time and temporarily, when she was Minister of Culture and Historical Heritage of the Cabildo de Tenerife, to look like it does today.”
It was in 1997, with Adán Martín as president of the Cabildo, when this cultural space was opened in tank number 69 of the old refinery. And “it was done despite the fact that Cepsa, DISA, the Santa Cruz City Council and the city’s own planning” were against it.
A cultural project
The Tank was located on land that was owned by Ferrovial, on which it was planned that a 10-story building would be erected. Over time, the Insular Corporation changed this plot for another from the construction company. In this way, the Cabildo ensured that the tank was still standing, despite the fact that it was located on a plot that was not for cultural endowment use.
Over time, Adán Martín left the Cabildo and in his place Ricardo Melchior entered, who “did not agree with the tank still standing.”
A motion was proposed to tear it down and it was finally voted against, but the new president, Melchior, took away the powers of historical heritage and decided to close the space for four years, until 2006. Just that year the general planning of the city was changed and Dulce Xerach Pérez left political life. It was then that the Friends of the Tank Association, with her as president, began to ask that this space be declared a Site of Cultural Interest. For the former councilor of the Cabildo de Tenerife, it was not an easy road, because “five years passed, until 2014, until it was approved.” “It is incredible to think that this has taken 25 years. This is what I call the silent fight. We have always encountered many obstacles and problems. I do not understand that there are voices within the City Council that are against it, when all the plots that are around are public and nothing has been done or is being done in them ”. That is why Dulce Xerach Pérez now asks the Santa Cruz City Council “to take care of this green area as it does with the rest of the city.” In addition, he thanks the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands, Juan Márquez, “who has opted to clean up this area and because he has committed to ensuring that El Tanque has a continuous program. It is the only way for this space to regain the value it deserves ”, assures the president of the Association of Friends of the Tank.