A MAJOR OUTCOME of the Plenary meeting of Orihuela Town Council on 26 November was the firm promise that Orihuela Costa would at last have a Cultural Centre with an auditorium fit for a resident population of a third of the populace of the municipality.

This was the headline of the Información newspaper following the council meeting at which C.L.A.R.O. requested a commitment to provide Orihuela Costa with a cultural centre with Library, rooms for cultural and social activities and an auditorium fit for a population of between 30,000-50,000 depending on the time of the year.

Only in this way, argued C.L.A.R.O., could the coast benefit from the annual culture budget of some €2 million.

Since there is no suitable indoor facility on Orihuela Costa for cultural and social activities of any significance, what is offered from the annual culture budget are activities in the open air which cannot take place in the winter months and, even in the summer, are subject to the vagaries of the weather.

Otherwise social and cultural activities in Orihuela Costa take place on private premises, mainly in bars and restaurants, for which participants must pay out of their own pockets.

Orihuela city, with a population similar to that of the coast, has several municipal venues for social and cultural activities and even the smaller inland villages with populations of a few thousand at most have such facilities.

In the plenary meeting the Mayor acknowledged that it was justified that the coast should have culture and that they were working on solutions.

C.L.A.R.O. has been campaigning for such facilities for a decade or more. In 2017 there was provision in the budget for drawing up a project but nothing has been done since. Now it is promised that a project will be ready by the end of the year.

Fortunately, the location of such a centre should not constitute a problem. The obvious location is on the municipally owned land adjacent to the La Zenia Boulevard Commercial Centre which is used at present as a supplementary car park for the Commercial Centre without any form of agreement with the Town Hall and without any payment to the public coffers on the part of the owners of the Boulevard.

In effect the taxpayers of the coast are subsidising a hugely successful private, commercial enterprise.

Providing the money for the centre will be the next step after finalisation of a hopefully ambitious plan based on detailed suggestions already advanced by residents in meetings with the responsible councillor.

Choice of the municipal land adjacent to La Zenia Boulevard for the location will enable considerable cost savings since the land is already levelled, tarmacked, with drainage, illuminated and all the access roads in place.