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Island Ecology

Island Ecology

by José P Ribas

Cala d'Hort Natural Park Becomes A Reality


Ibiza Ecology

A major step has been taken towards creating the first Natural Park in Ibiza's history. Alleluia!

On Friday 29th June 2001, the Balearic Council and the Island Council (*) gave initial approval to the Plan for the Regulation of Natural Resources the result of which will be Es Vedrans Natural Park.

It covers 2,413 hectares inland, all in San José's Municipal District, and 564 hectares of sea surface around, including the islands of "Conejera", "S'illa des Bosc", "Bledas", "S'Espartar", "Vedra" and "Vedranell".

The park begins in the back yard of Cala Vadella's urbanisation along the coast, including Cala Carbó, Cala d'Hort, Cap Blanc, Cap Llentrisca, Cala Llentrisca and Ses Bocas, near Es Cubells. From there it goes inland, forming a triangle reaching up to Sa Talaia de Sant Josep.

There are between eight and nine hundred species of plants living in the area (sixty five per cent of the island's total). Some are only found here. There are also species within the local fauna which need the mountain forests and the cliffs of the littoral to survive.

The coast, the islands and the waters by are probably the richest in live species in the whole of the Mediterranean Sea. And all exquisitely set in one of the most genuinely breathtaking areas of natural scenery.

The increasing use of the South West coast of Ibiza for filming, fashion and publicity photography and international sports competitions year after year prove the continuing attraction of the beauty and the great qualities of this unique and magic bit of the Earth.

From now on, almost total restrictions will apply as far as new buildings, roads, wells, overhead electric lines or reducing the forest area. At the most, in the land left for agriculture, proprietors will be allowed to build one single-storey garage for their tractor and tools, no bigger than 200 square metres.

There are three levels of protection in the area. Maximum protection will be imposed on the littoral from Cala d'Hort to Cala Llentrisca, including Punta Oliva, with the magnificent Pirate's Tower and old quarry by the seashore, down the cliff, known nowadays as "Atlantis".

The top of the mountains "Puig Jueu", "Rocas Altas" and "Sa Talaia" also have the maximum protection and nothing new can be built there.

On the other hand, any old finca - even if it is just a ruin - can have planning permission to be rebuilt (owning a ruin in this area has never before been worth such a fortune). Also the old dry stone walls, mills, ways and wells will be repaired with public money if requested by the owners. The local government will support local farms with autochthonous cattle and ecological agriculture.

It took over two years for the plan to be developed. Quite a few changes had to be made and even now there is strong resistance from some of the land owners and the majority of councillors, including the mayor of San José and the conservative party, Partido Popular (P.P.). They have already said that an official protest will be presented during the forty days that the plan has to be exposed to the public in San Jose's town hall.

For more then three years, the area of Cala d'Hort has been the battlefield between the Ecology Groups, San José area residents and concerned citizens from all over the island.

Friends of the Earth Ibiza Chapter (Anti Golf Platform) vs. San José Town Hall and "Calas del Mediterráneo S. A."

This latter entity is the company that bought a good part of these "bad lands" to build a new golf course, a new hotel, bank, offices, restaurants, disco, shops, supermarket and rent-a-car-or-what-ever, plus several hundred apartments. All surrounded by nine foot spiny-top wire netting. (Five Stars Ghetto?) They want to buy it all, build it all, and control it all. Of course, they only do it in the very best interests of the Island, (they say) for the best image, to bring more wealth (to whom? I'll bet you can guess!).

There has been a full-sized golf course on the island for more then ten years. It has never been overbooked and, as a matter of fact, from what I read in the papers, the golf course, when it is doing well, is fulfilling about fifty per cent of its real possibilities. There is not a waiting list.

In my opinion, golf is a great sport, healthy, calm, collected. It is the only reason for some people to walk.

I honestly believe that golf does a lot of good, as does skiing on snow, mountain climbing on mountains or playing ice hockey on an ice rink: everything in its right environment.

(One day we will speak about the ecological cost of a golf course on this island: what the use of this big amount of land means for an island of this size; what it means for the autochthonous flora and fauna; the enormous consumption of energy to desalinate hundreds of tonnes of sea water (plus as much water as they can get from all the wells that they have already perforated in the area); the chemicals and different kinds of poisons that are needed every day just to keep the "greens" green).

But what about all the others that don't play golf? What about the great majority of locals that don't live in or for the ghetto? What do they play? Where do they play? A new golf course can bring new good customers to Ibiza, but it will put far more off.

It was not golf, or even clubs, that made Ibiza well known all over the world.

Golf was not the reason why personalities from all over the whole world came to visit Ibiza and made this island unforgettable for some long-ago, characters such as Ernest Hemingway, Rafael Alberti, Garcia Lorca, Errol Flynn, or - later on - Orson Welles, Soraya, Ursula Andress, Charles Orloff, Clifford Irving, Franck El Punto, Micus, Niki Lauda, Kirk Huffman, Mike Oldfield or the Queen of Norway (plenty have already deserted, because of "progress").

No, they chose this Island for its Beauty, its Sea, Climate, Energy, exuberant Flora and Fauna, Freedom, Harmony and peaceful Respect from and with the natives. In other words, for its Nature! Nature is, no doubt, Ibiza's biggest treasure, our best income. It deserves to be loved and respected. We are all responsible for looking after it and keeping it, for our own quality of life and to pass on to future generations.

The Good News

This week we have started with the best news that I could possibly speak about; any other news would not sound that good after this one, so I'll save it for another week.

I would like to thank all the people that have worked so hard and still are, to give this first chance to Ibiza and to the great majority of Ibicencos and residents. Also to all the groups that, with a lot of common sense and courage, preserved this area for all, and for the future, legally fighting relentlessly against the greed of a few very powerful people.

Margalida Rosselló - Counsellor of Environment of Govern Balear and her team. She came from Majorca to personally present and explain the new PORN, together with the local Councillor Fanny Tur in a restaurant on Cala d'Hort beach (they have good taste).

Fanny Tur - Counsellor of Environment of Consell Insular and her team

"Grup de Estudis de sa Naturalesa" GEN (What a great team!).

"Amics de la Terra-Eivissa" Hazel Morgan, the President and dynamic leader has done a magnificent job showing the world the flora of Cala d'Hort with first class photography.

"Plataforma contra es Camp de Golf" "Vox Populus". Power for the People. The People for the People. The Voice of the People.

(*) Govern Balear. - Government of the Community of the Balearic Islands.
Consell Insular. - Local Government of Ibiza-Formentera.

For any further information: Tel. 971 176079.

Es Vedrà
Picture Copyright © Gary Hardy

José P Ribas