Monte Pego bat­tle

Costa Levante News - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

Dear Sir/Madam, Please see be­low an ar­ti­cle, which is an up­date of a pe­ti­tion that was sent to the EU Par­lia­ment on be­half of the res­i­dents of Monte Pego.

I hope that you can make use of this ei­ther as a let­ter to the ed­i­tor of an ar­ti­cle in its own right.

If you can­not make use of it please feel free to for- ward to any pub­li­ca­tion you feel ap­pro­pri­ate. I would ap­pre­ci­ate that you could let me know if you do use it. Mak­ing a stand can bring re­wards Hav­ing the courage to con­front in­jus­tice is never easy. Per­versely, the of­ten long and dif­fi­cult jour­ney makes as many en­e­mies as friends, and the temp­ta­tion to give up be­comes strong.

Hard lessons are learnt along the way: such as the in­nate abil­ity of those who hold the power to de­fend the in­de­fen­si­ble; that the le­gal sys­tem can cloud is­sues rather than clar­ify, and be­come part of the prob­lem; that politi­cians’ prom­ises are merely words.

But some­times de­spite all these dif­fi­cul­ties, a stand just has to be made. And when that brings re­wards, the feel­ing is one of pure joy.

This tale is all too com­mon in Spain. The res­i­dents of an ur­ban­i­sa­tion caught in the cross­fire of a le­gal dis­pute be­tween a Town Hall and the de­vel­oper that has lasted 16 years. Be­cause of the dis­pute, no ba­sic ser­vices, no main­te­nance or re­pair, are pro­vided by the Town Hall (de­spite col­lect­ing by Suma for the same 16 years), with the in­evitable prob­lems for the in­fras­truc­ture.

When this in­volves the sewage sys­tem for 1500 dwellings, the prob­lems can rapidly be­come se­ri­ous. For the res­i­dents of the beau­ti­ful ur­ban­i­sa­tion of Monte Pego, on the Costa Blanca, they did.

For many years, the wa­ter dis­charged from the sewage treat­ment plant had not been prop­erly treated and Pego Town Hall paid large fines for the pol­lu­tion. By 2017, this pol­lu­tion had be­come al­most raw sewage, as con­firmed by lab­o­ra­tory tests ar­ranged by the Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion, Pro Monte Pego (PMP).

Some­thing had to be done. The Town Hall still re­fused to act, even though the large Mar­jal Nat­u­ral Park and rice fields stand di­rectly in the line of the pol­lu­tion.

In or­der to pro­tect the ur­ban­i­sa­tion, the stun­ning nat­u­ral park’s flora and fauna, and the good name of the area, the bold de­ci­sion was taken in the sum­mer of 2017 to pe­ti­tion the EU Par­lia­ment.

It took courage, but the cause was just, the re­wards po­ten­tially enor­mous. Po­lit­i­cal pres­sure from the EU could un­lock the stale­mate.

To the great de­light of the PMP As­so­ci­a­tion, the EU Pe­ti­tions Com­mit­tee ac­cepted the sub­mis­sion -a tri­umph in it­self - and over the last 6 months, ev­i­dence has been gath­ered and shared with the EU.

Now the ex­cit­ing news has ar­rived that mem­bers of PMP have been in­vited to Brus­sels to ap­pear be­fore the com­mit­tee, and hear their ver­dict.

If the EU sup­ports the pe­ti­tion, then the po­lit­i­cal pres­sure on the Town Hall and other au­thor­i­ties will be of huge help, and of course, vindi­ca­tion for the courage to stand up for jus­tice. It would be the best pos­si­ble good news story.

An­ton Leest See the re­port on this is­sue by Sa­man­tha Kett on page 16.

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