|Artists Impression of 50,000sqm Shopping Centre|
A concerted opposition, is now finally emerging, against a proposed €300 million, upmarket development at Playa Den Bossa. The influential environmental group, Grupo de Estudiod de la Naturaleza (GEN), has entered the campaign, with a well timed statement, that highlights the detrimental impact of the project to the Islands fragile, water table. GEN are warning that the Matutes development, would go against all best practice codes and damage water quality in the area. At present, Ibiza buckles under the excess weight of summer tourists, as dwindling water levels try to cope with the sudden, increased demand of flushing toilets and showers. GEN are now warning, that any new development, similar in size to the one at Playa Den Bossa, would have serious consequences for soil salinity in the area and that it should be avoided “at all costs”. Importantly, they claim that there are laws protecting excess consumption of natural water reserves and that they will be broken if the development proceeds. To date, its the best argument against the development and one that will be taken seriously by the pro development lobby due to successful campaigns at a European level,by GEN in the past.
Another group, of small and medium local businesses, called PIMEFF, had what looked like a very civilised and respectful meeting with Able Matutes Jnr, to voice their concerns and opposition to the development. The main fear for the PIMEFF group, is the proposed building of a 50,000 sqm shopping centre, which they claim, will take business away from their shops. After the meeting, they stated,“Ibiza is sufficiently attractive on its own merits without having to locate such a large shopping centre as is being proposed in the plan. The appeal of such a venture would be minimal, as visitors do not normally include a shopping spree as a priority when on holiday on the island.” After the meeting they also publicly thanked the Matutes Group for granting them an audience and sharing the details of the development. A measured, Queensberry rules style statement, for a traditionally fiery local temperament which is understandably vexed, by the perceived greed of one organisation. A referendum has also been proposed by opponents to the project, to gauge popular opinion, but is unlikely to be granted.
|Gen anti-development Cartoon|
The decision to grant permission for the Matutes Group development, will rest with the Balearic Government in Palma, Majorca. Opponents to the development, claim that Palma, are a pro business friendly Government, that will support the project. However, the Ibiza Parliament, will have to sanction critical changes to local planning laws to allow the project permission to build. Logical procedure would dictate, that the local permissions would be in place before it would be rubber stamped in Palma and not the other way around. A similar pro business Government holds power in the Ibiza Parliament and it is most likely that they will give the green light by rezoning the required lands. This will leave the anti-development campaign with an uphill battle to legally stop the project and for now, Matutes holds all the trump cards. Ibiza is changing and while we cannot stop the march of progress, we should protect the environment that nurtures its culture. Ibiza is sinking under the commercial weight of development and corporate greed and the real innocent Ibiza of old, like the Hippies, is a dying breed and in real danger of extinction.