Puerto de la Cruz is experiencing a boom in tourism and culture, two pillars on which the government group (PSOE-ACP) has focused so that the city can recover the boom of yesteryear and return to being a top tourist destination. reference, with a differentiated offer. The data speaks for itself. This week, the Ashotel Tourism Competitiveness and Sustainability Observatory, which uses data from the Tourist Accommodation Survey of the Canary Islands Institute of Statistics (Istac), confirmed that the municipality increased its hotel occupancy by 20 points in the first half, slightly more than two points above the Canary Islands average. According to the mayor, Marco González, it is the result of the measures put in place to reactivate the city after the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the fact that there are still people who do not attend to them and who continue to criticize their management for the “ excessive” number of parties.
-Did you expect these results in terms of hotel and non-hotel occupancy?
“The data is optimistic and hopeful for the entire city, not just for the government. The recovery of Puerto de la Cruz is not a perception, it is real data from Ashotel and we are also pleased that the municipality is no longer being talked about as an obsolete destination and its experience is valued. I believe that the bet is evident and that the city is an attraction for investment. Among other reasons, because the Government did not remain silent or invisible, but bravely and responsibly assumed a model to turn Puerto de la Cruz into a true cultural ecosystem. And we did that in the most difficult moments, when criticism rained down on me because there are sectors that consider that the cultural sector is not the same as other business sectors. But this Government was convinced that culture was completely safe and that meant that the opportunities in this marriage between the public and the private were multiplied by ten, and many companies that had never opted for the city did so”.
-Speak in the past tense when speaking of the misunderstanding of many people. Do you already understand? Because they continue to accuse him of wasting public resources on parties….
“The opposition tries to manipulate the people and generate a concept or even falsify the data, such as saying that we have spent 40 million euros on parties when this amount does not even reach the entire City Council budget for last year. The people should put these politicians in their place so that they lose even more the confidence of the citizens. They attack me because I come from the world of theater when for me it is a pride since creativity has been the oxygen balloon to save this city”.
-So it is a lie that the municipal coffers are in the red?
“Not only is it a lie but it is perfectly demonstrable that it is not. What is difficult to attack is the populism and demagoguery of the PP and CC who believe that they have a voting niche there. The remainder of the treasury will go to the next plenary session, based on quarterly reports and which is even greater than what we found in 2019. The opposition speaks of cultural programming in a derogatory way, of “little parties”, but later they going to sit in the neighborhoods to applaud. Perhaps because they do see it as an electoral opportunity and I defend them as a hallmark of the municipality.”
-Why was an Intervention repair raised in a plenary session to be able to pay this month’s payroll to municipal personnel?
“That plenary session was due to a credit inadequacy. The problem was that an administrative assistant with the same salary and the same functions that is called to an income program, was in the Urban Planning area temporarily solving a problem with the municipal fords and administratively the instrument was not fine-tuned so that This repair of municipal intervention appears that only the Plenary can save and that is far from being due to a lack of economic resources. It has been a fictitious wave that PP and CC have caused in which they sail aimlessly and walk alone to show that payrolls were not paid because there was no money.
–Will the San Francisco park be moved to the site of the old bus station?
“I continue with that idea. The report on the project by the Sustainable City area is yet to be completed. We already have that of the Bishopric of Tenerife and that of the Historical Heritage of the Cabildo to make a determination on the current plot. There are requirements from Heritage that it cannot be left unused for a long time and it is necessary to determine what is going to be done. I have been very honest with this project and I have been doing it since the opposition. In 2010 I raised a popular contest for that park because I anticipated that it was very difficult to ask architects to think about what property to project when there was no study of the characteristics that it was going to require”.
And why didn’t you raise the change of location before?
“Because we had to wait for the completion of the geotechnical studies of the property and for the demolition. In addition, the study had only been done on one part and we wanted to deepen it so that it would not be an arbitrary political decision of taste, but technically shared with proposals and solutions. To date, the study already says that cracks are observed only with the demolition process and that project that is being considered speaks of reaching two floors at ground level. Therefore, if you see cracks that need to be removed, you don’t have to be very skilled or technical to know that a BIC like the San Francisco church and its surroundings could be in danger. And yes, I am clear that I am not going to do it”.
What do you propose in that lot?
“The use that will be given is cultural. But we have a much greener and more sustainable infrastructure map, it does not have to be a large building but a space for enjoyment and leisure. But there is still no decision made by the government group because the administrative process has not been completed and we do not know if the Consortium will reject the current project or not”.
-The opposition says that you left behind many important projects that you boast about, such as the municipal swimming pool…
“Yes, but PP and CC questioned it. The first thing I had to do was make a statement with the insular president, Pedro Martín, because they said that he was going to withdraw from the project. And it is not only to do it, but to solve all the inconveniences, such as sanitation, because there were public services that did not comply with environmental legislative issues and we have detected more deficits that they did not solve. The work was not put out to tender either, and the funds had to be sought, and Pedro Martín sought them out and was awarded. Leaving a project is not being the protagonist of it but leaving the job well done, not half done, so that the one who arrives continues. The same thing happened with the Iders building. Therefore, noise can be made but the reality is there”.
– Didn’t the ruin report exist either?
“It seems that the opposition has now remembered the Iders building. There was not even an open file, this government had to do it, just like the social response that was given to a building occupied by almost a hundred people. There were no reports from the Local Police or the Social Welfare area because a social response was not even aspired to, which was just as worrying for me as urban planning. It was in March 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, when I asked for a health report, the file was opened and steps began to be taken. I also remember that being in the opposition, the Consortium presented me with a model for a cultural building on that plot that would lead to an expropriation and no opportunity to return to their homes as the owners now have.
-But they have to bear the cost…
“That cannot be changed by the administration and it is important to explain that we have finally found a solution after decades. They can recover their home because the declaration of imminent ruin will allow them to face the construction with the same volumetric parameter and the same occupation, although this does not exempt them from the duty of conservation. I know that they understand that since the City Council evicted them, they have to compensate them, but that is impossible. They right now have a percentage of a property. They have had very bad luck with legal advice, proof of this is that they have dissolved their community by court order and that makes them defenseless in the face of the administration”.
–Where will the people who lived in the Iders be located?
“The social response is complex because there are people with associated pathologies and mental health problems. The vast majority is in accommodation resources. In the first report of the Mobile Street Care Unit, 70 people were identified and when we had to ask the courts for help for the eviction, we only spoke of 7 of those who only put up resistance, 4 to complete the fence that was recently carried out and that prevents entry to the property. It has been a long time work that bears fruit: a social and urban response. The notification process still has to be completed, which is slow and costly, and we are well aware that it will not happen overnight. We are at a time when the property can, finally, have the ambition to return to their homes, with all the inconveniences, in a land that has value and that the City Council has studied the possibility of repaying that moral debt but there is no technical tool that he allows it. I think there is finally a real opportunity for the owners of the Iders building.”