None of those attending the act of laying the first stone of the Cuna del Alma urbanization, in the Puertito de Adeje, on May 5 imagined the storm that was coming on a hotel project of 350 million investment to build 420 accommodation units with capacity for 1,800 beds. More than six months later, the works have run aground on the shore of the Department of Ecological Transition after two stoppage orders and the opening of two disciplinary proceedings, one of them from the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage.
The first order came at the end of May after the complaint filed by the Tegüico association before the Cabildo for the destruction of archaeological remains, which led the island administration, after the pertinent technical studies, to stop the work (first provisionally and after definitive form) in 2% of the land. Subsequently, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Government of the Canary Islands, after confirming the affectation on engravings and archaeological remains, opened a file and proposed a sanction of 600,000 euros, the amount provided for very serious infractions, to the promoter Segunda Casa Adeje SL
The second notification of stoppage, in this case for the entire work, was issued by the Ecological Transition Department in early November after the complaint filed by the Salvar La Tejita platform for environmental damage to the protected wild flora of the place. Shortly after, the department headed by José Antonio Valbuena ordered the precautionary stoppage of the works due to “imminent threat” to a population of sad viborina in the area where the excavators worked. As reported by the Ministry, the species has the category of Special Protection in the Canary Islands Catalog of Protected Species.
The promoter then announced the study of legal actions, considering that it has “all the necessary planning and environmental licenses from the competent administrations.” In addition, he argued that the sad Viborina was not included in the Environmental Report approved by the Government of the Canary Islands as part of the Environmental Impact Statement because there was none in 2018.
On November 23, the Canarian Agency for the Protection of the Natural Environment, which reports to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, reported the opening of a disciplinary file against the promoter for lacking the draft environmental impact report, considered a serious administrative infraction. A penalty of 110,000 euros was proposed and the precautionary stoppage of the works was decreed, already effective as a result of the episode of the sad snake.
The Adeje Town Hall considers that a Environment Effect investigation strategic in the authorized urbanization project (construction of roads), since the modification of the municipal planning in the area of Puertito de Adeje, approved in September 2014, already had this tool, endorsed by the Cotmac in 2018. In said study All the protected species were already collected, according to the Consistory, and how to act in the event that “any incident” occurred, as has happened with the sad viborina.
The promoter of the tourism project reacted to the announcement of the Government of the Canary Islands through a statement in which it assured “feeling administratively persecuted by the Ministry without the possibility of defense.” In addition, she recalled that she was still waiting to receive a response from Ecological Transition to a report request submitted nine months ago, while “in a few weeks, the Ministry has issued three resolutions to the project.”
The stoppage of the project has caused a conflict in a sector of the Tenerife PSOE, with an open confrontation between José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, mayor of Adeje, and José Antonio Valbuena, councilor for Ecological Transition. The first has the support of the hotel business sector, which has warned of the legal uncertainty generated by the current situation, and the second, with the support of environmental organizations and groups, who are confident that the project will not be carried out in the end.
Throughout this long half year there have been moments of tension between the representatives of the company and the activists camped on the construction site. The critical point was reached on September 26, with the withdrawal of an excavator in the area occupied by the opponents of the project, which generated an altercation that moved to the offices located in the work itself and that ended with complaints in the courts of both parties and the arrest of one of the campers who, hours later, was released.