Thursday, May 8, 2008

Catastrophic Cadaques part 1

Cadaques in Spain was a beautiful village.

But is not beautiful anymore.

Wherever in the world where it is beautiful, people hungry for money come and destroy the beauty.

The administration in a village like Cadaques is called the Ayuntamiento.
The local population elects the members.
They are also inhabitants of the village.
Hence, persons who have certain interests in the village, try to be elected in the body where decisions are made.
On the one hand persons who want to protect the village and on the other hand persons who want to make as much money as possible exploiting the village.

Some years ago the majority of the Ayuntamiento got a majority of the local business people.
Persons who have restaurants, hotels, shops and bars.
They lifted a moratorium on building that was keeping the village small and beautiful.
As of then hundreds of building permits have been issued and every little piece of land in the village has been used to build.
Not nice houses that fit in the century old architecture
of the village.
Instead, to make more money, apartment buildings have been constructed.
Often against all legal regulations.
For example, building one more floor than the building permit allowed and once the officials were aware this was happening it was too late.
The builder paid a fine, made that disappear in the purchase price of the different apartments of the building, and another monstrosity destroyed the characteristics of the village.

Although the village has hardly any place anymore for more buildings, nevertheless somehow 600 more apartments are being constructed in the near future.
Does that make sense?
Can the village handle the impact of all those people?
Concerning pollution, parking cars, sewage system, and environmental effects?
No, not at all.
But it is an attitude of people who want to make a lot of money in a short time and do not care what are the immediate and long time consequences.

In this matter Cadaques is a model what is happening in many places in the world.

Several loyal and fervent blog readers may ask, if in the village no opposition is being made against this ruthless exploitation.
The answer is yes but the opposition is rather powerless.
When a lot of money is involved it becomes hard to oppose those forces.
One active opponent in the village had all the windows of his property broken and the interior ransacked.
The owners of a series of houses noticed that at 5 meters from their building an apartment complex was being constructed.
Taking away their view, the sunshine and lowering drastically the value of their property.
They hired a lawyer and went to court to sue the builder but the judicial fight became so expensive they had to give up.
Now they are in an awful situation for generations to come.
While only a few have the pleasure to have made tons of money on the project.

In the south of Spain, in the town of Malaga, this phenomenon of ruthlessly making money by constructing monstrous apartments buildings only to make quick money while ignoring regulations, laws and decency, has resulted in finally the authorities taking action.
Many houses that were build ignoring the proper regulations and laws have to be broken down.
This is quite dramatic and draconian.
Especially for the people who bought those houses who were sweet-talked into purchasing even by the official notary.
They loose their property and this is dramatic as many are retired North Europeans living on a low budget.
They will be forced to return to their country of origin without any money having to find shelter with family members.
Meanwhile, the ones who at the time made the quick buck are laughing their pants off.
And when they have found their place in the cemetery, the generations to come are going to ask what fools have been running the place.


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