A view of the Hills of Benirras

The natural beauty and protected environment that makes Ibiza special to so many people, is once again under attack from corporate greed and concrete developers. In times of recession and uncertainty, people will always make Jobs and Income a priority. To the average man or woman, protection of the environment is a luxury that they cannot afford, when faced with the stark reality of providing income for their families. In recent elections the people of Ibiza gave a mandate to the developers and businessmen to do whatever it took to drive employment and get people back to work.

The new Government will next year proceed with a €350 million development project with new buildings planed for natural areas in Santa Eularia, Sant Joseph, Ses Feixes and most worryingly, Benniras in Sant Joan, where a €48 million project to develop 100 private houses will take place. Normally, the North of Island is looked upon as a backwater by the trendy and social elite of Ibiza. Its where the Hippies hang out, an area too far away from the Clubs and Bars to bother about as its all a bit country and western up there. The area is recognised by many, as a last bastion of Real Ibiza, where nature and its beauty is allowed to exist in its purest form. In fact, the area around Benirras is a protected nature preserve.

Ibiza Ecologic Symbol 

The decision to develop such a special and unique area is bound to cause trouble. The woodlands around Benirras and San Joan are only just recovering from the forest fires that extensively scared the area in 2010. Now, to add further insult to injury, a large concrete development is planned for a hillside overlooking Benirras beach. Its an audacious move and in my opinion, one that thrusts a dagger close to the heart of Real Ibiza. It may set a bold precedent that no area on the Island is safe from the bulldozers. Its bound to irk the anger and passion of the local people that care so much for the soul of the Island. But then it could also be a decoy or bluff to deflect attention away from the intended development.

Its always going to be a fine balance to try to and find a way for both sides to be happy. The planned developments will bring much welcomed jobs and investment into the Island…….but at what price. When you sell your soul to the devil you cannot get it back. The people of Ibiza must now decide how far is too much. Will Benirras trigger another “Save Salinas” campaign, when in 1991 the Grupo De Estudios La Naturaleza successfully mobilised the people to demonstrate and halt a contentious project in Salinas. In January 1999 over 11.000 people took to the streets of Ibiza Town to stop a similar development near to the one proposed for next year in Santa Eularia, worth over €170 million.

It will be interesting to see what the people of Ibiza will say about it in 2012.