The Leader first broke the story of Cabo Roig’s infamous ‘sinkhole’ in October 2019 when it reported on the dramatic rescue of a Norwegian pensioner close to the beach after she had fallen through a hole in the coastal footpath, just above La Caletta beach.

As she walked along the coastal footpath, seemingly oblivious to the dangers, she fell dramatically through the hole and into the trees and bramble immediately below. Fortunately, the undergrowth stopped her falling further although, having seemingly incurred injuries, she was trapped and unable to move.

The hole in the walkway first appeared during the heavy Gota Fria rains some weeks earlier, but apart from erecting a yellow metal barrier, the authorities failed to take any remedial action.

The rescue of a Norwegian lady almost 18 months ago

Unfortunately that still appears to be the case as, 18 months later, following at least a further dozen landslides, the pathway is still suspended over the edge of the cliff, with little below, other than a handful of badly situated metal supports, most of which have collapsed themselves onto the beach below.

But of course, just as soon as the situation was once again publicised in the local Spanish press, the Orihuela council are quick to appear on the scene with their usual diatribe of innate excuses.

Needless to say, the councillor for Infrastructure, Ángel Noguera, was the first council official to ‘slope shoulders’ defend his inaction by shifting the responsibility to the company awarded the maintenance, conservation and road repair contract, which he, incidentally, has also brought to a standstill by refusing to pay their invoices. Despite this, he insists that the awardee of the road contract must fix the problem.

Council staff visit the site after it was once again, but only after it was highlighted in local newspapers – Img Antonio Cerdan

Noguera says that the municipal technical services, specifically the surveyor assigned to the coast, who is currently on sick leave following his claims of bullying by the councillor, examined the sinkhole when it opened in September 2019.

On January 7, 2020, he drew up a cost proposal of 36,295 euros to fix the sinkhole, based on three budgets, however, it was not accepted by Councilor Ángel Noguera given that he considered that “said works should be included in the general contract for the maintenance, conservation and repair of roads and public spaces in Orihuela Costa”, which, at that stage was still to be awarded.

Meanwhile the rains during the intervening period continue to cause landslides and the regular fall of rocks onto the beach below. They have now also taken with them the props that were put in place to support the damaged part of the coastal path, leaving part of it suspended in the air on a cliff that is overlooking the beach.

The contractor for the maintenance of roads has fenced off the sandy area below the sinkhole but that is the extent of the repair works carried out to date.

Residents who use the promenade that runs around the coastline say that they cannot understand how the Orihuela Council has still not fixed the sinkhole, over 18 months after it first appeared.

Every day they see how the structure gives way a little more and they now warn of the dangers of it’s complete collapse, which would close the entire walkway connects Orihuela Costa beaches.

The Residents Association (Avoca) has written to both the mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, and the Councillor for Infrastructure, Ángel Noguera, demanding an “immediate” solution, warning that, if it is not fixed, “they will hold the Orihuela City Council responsible for any injuries to the pedestrians who regularly use the path.”

They say that the open hole, which was initially quite small, “has been increasing in size” over the 18 long months that it has been without repair. They also ask that a warning notice be displayed, and that the City Council make public a plan of action “without further delay”.

Main image courtesy AVOCO