In mid-April, Ibiza‘s Island Council presented a project proposal that is designed to guarantee the sustainable use of the Ses Salines nature reserve in future. The proposal presented at a joint press conference held by the president of the Island Council, Xico Tarres (PSOE), and the environment and mobility councillor, Albert Prats (ExC), centred on a new transport policy. Furthermore, the draft includes comprehensive improvements to existing infrastructure. Both politicians indicated that it was not yet clear where the funding would be coming from.
Tarres and Prats described the draft as “very ambitious.” In particular, the Island Council advocated for the establishment of clear guidelines to regulate access to the beaches by car, particularly during the summer months. An additional car park should be provided outside the boundaries of the nature reserve. Ibiza‘s Island Council’s hope is that this will help to protect the surrounding dunes. Regular shuttle buses would then transport visitors from the car park to the beaches.
The Balearic minister of the environment, Miquel Angel Grimalt, welcomed the initiative. In this context he reminded us that his ministry is already working on a programme to help protect the dunes. “Work to construct a network of wooden footbridges is set to begin next year.” said Grimalt during his visit to Ibiza in April. He added that the regional government was keen to minimise the damage that visitors inevitably cause to the reserve’s natural equilibrium.
The project proposal also makes provisions for a cycle path alongside the Sant Jordi access road. According to Tarres and Prats, “No decision has yet been made as to whether the path will be separated from the main highway by a barrier or simply be painted a different colour.” Furthermore, at the same time as the path is being built, there are plans to replace older sewage pipes and lay new electric cables and phone lines. “This is a preliminary draft.” said Prats, who pointed out that if the new car park gets the go-ahead the council will still have to look for a suitable location and arrange for its compulsory purchase. However, the first results will be visible by summer 2010. “This is a project that we are going to implement stage by stage.” said Prats.
Neither of the two island councillors provided any details of how the project is going to be funded. Both Tarres and Prats admitted that its implementation would require “significant financial resources.” However, as it is clear that the island authorities can’t shoulder the full financial burden, they have already approached the central government, the regional government and the municipality of Sant Josep. “The regional government is responsible for administrating the nature reserve.” added Prats, describing ongoing efforts to secure the necessary subsidies. “And the reserve itself is located within the municipality of Sant Josep.”
At the moment the future of the beach chiringuitos inside the Ses Salines national park is still in doubt. At the beginning of April, the director of the Balearic coastal authority, Celesti Alomar, confirmed that beach bar owners had applied to have their licences extended in accordance with the coastal law.
For years now, the chiringuitos – many of which were built illegally just a few metres away from the water line – have been a thorn in the side of the coastal authorities. “According to the laws that are currently in place, the chiringuitos should be removed.” said Alomar. You can read more about this issue in our interview with the island councillor for regional planning, Miquel Ramon.