AFTER years of weekends under siege to caravans and mobile homes, residents of apartments near the Guaza-mountain end of Los Cristianos are pressing Arona Council to come up with a solution to the problem.
It’s not just the big swarm of campers arriving for the main holidays like Easter that upset the locals. They have come to dread every Friday night, when they start rolling in for three days.
Long-term parkers in the streets of Avenida de Amsterdam and Calle la Caleta, as well as in the official 72-hour bays overlooking Callao Beach, bring a trail of problems, from rubbish and children, to dogs running wild, together with late-night noise.
Several caravans in Avenida de Amsterdam this week were too big to fit in the bays, so they were parked long-ways. And, in the official area by the beach, residents have seen caravans drive around the block and then return to get a new 72-hour allowance.
Those living in Parque Tropical 1, 2, and 3, and El Rincon, who have borne the brunt of these visitors for years, dread the summer weekends and holidays, when the numbers outside their properties swell to intolerable levels.
One resident, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, told Canarian Weekly: “We have been fighting this situation since 2003, and it gets worse by the year. There are caravans everywhere. People are sleeping in their cars and in tents, and we residents often have nowhere to park.
“In addition, they are using our gardens and pavements as toilets, and our bins are full of their rubbish. I walked out of my garden the other day, and there was a great big pile of dog poo on the pavement outside the gate
“And, one day last week, there were nearly two accidents: one where a dog ran into the road, and another when a child did the same. Both times, the cars had to brake very quickly.
“We also have young boy-racers who drive around here in the evening. If any animal or child runs into the road when they are roaring past, there will be a serious accident.”
The official tourism parking zone allows drivers to leave their vehicles there for a total of 72 hours. But this is often abused by drivers.
There are 22 spaces in this permitted zone, and a nearby point to empty toilets, etc. But even when this zone is only part-full, people choose to park in the streets instead. There are no signs in the main streets, warning about illegal parking.
The addition of these signs, with warnings of fines or confiscation by grua pick-up trucks, has been suggested as a cheap and partial solution. But it has yet to be acted on.
Spanish Law makes a distinction between parking and camping. Parking is if the vehicle is inside the marked limits, and inside activity doesn’t overflow outside, such as awnings, stabilising supports, etc.
Residents have frequently witnessed tables and chairs outside vans. And when the official parking spaces near the beach were added several years ago, a set of rules was produced, but these rules are seldom enforced.
A group of residents had an amicable meeting on 6th April with Arona Security Councillor Raquel Garcia, who said the Council would monitor the situation over Easter and do something about the problem.
The resident told Canarian Weekly: “We haven´t seen a policeman since, and some of these vans have been here for six months now, without moving.
“We have suggested that the Council could build a bigger, legal parking zone on waste land. Charges would cover the costs, and would give illegal parkers no excuse for using our streets.”
These are the rules created by the Council a couple of years ago: 1. Motor-homes can park in the 22 spaces provided for a maximum 72 hours
- It is not allowed to have any camping items, such as awnings, tables, chairs, drying of washing, etc, outside the vans
- It is forbidden to have the engine running at any time, and electric generators are not allowed
- Hinged windows may only be opened without exceeding the scope of the mirrors to avoid accidents
- No external thermal protection to be placed on any of the windows; only on the interior
- The emission of any type of fluid, pollutant or not, unless it is a characteristic of the combustion engine through the exhaust pipe, is forbidden
The anonymous resident added: “They are breaking every single rule, every day they are here, and Arona Council and the local police are ignoring the situation.
“No one seems to want to help, but why can’t Arona give these people some land, create facilities, showers, toilets, toilet-waste disposal, bin rooms and play areas for children to keep them off the road?
“If these caravans were parked outside the Cultural Centre or anywhere else in Los Cristianos, they would be moved on. And if I parked outside the white lines, I would be fined. So please tell me what the difference is.
“Home-owners around here are paying a lot of rates (Catastral). But why should we pay anything at all when we have to live on a camping site and accept the mess that comes with it?
“There must be something that can be done.”
Canarian Weekly is awaiting a response from Arona Council, but, in the meantime, residents are bracing themselves for more weekends of problems on their doorsteps.
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