Council urged to take action over crumbling cliffs
“A more ambitious project is needed to protect the coastline from erosion”
By Nuria Pérez THE COLLAPSE of a section of the cliff above the promenade at Cala Capitán in Orihuela Costa last week has exposed the serious erosion problem the coastline is suffering due to violent sea storms and torrential rain.
Socialist party (PSOE) councillor María García reminded on Monday that council officers had warned of the challenge facing the local authority back in March last year.
They highlighted that in the mid to long term erosion will present a huge risk to properties standing close to the cliffs.
According to Sra García, a council engineer stated in a report that the metal net placed over the cliff face and reinforcement works in the area ‘were not a solution’ and only prevented small collapses due to erosion.
The works were contracted out last year for €187,000 – nearly €100,000 less than initially budgeted.
Sra García claimed the erosion also presents a risk for pedestrians using the promenade.
“Taking into account the engineer’s report, we think that repairing the net is not enough to protect pedestrians, the promenade and the properties,” she said.
“Those were emergency works, but a more ambitious project is needed to protect the coastline from erosion in the mid term.”
PSOE councillors have officially asked the town planning department whether additional measures have been taken and whether properties in the area were built legally.
Councillor for beaches and coordinator for Orihuela Costa, Luisa Boné told Costa Blanca News that the works at Cala Capitán cliff were aimed to protect the promenade and pedestrians from rockfall and that ‘is exactly what the net has done’.
“The sand and rocks will be removed and the net will be repaired and put back,” she said.
She pointed out that the erosion process and risk of collapse in the mid to long term is a completely different issue.
According to Sra Boné, a two-kilometre-long concrete wall or breakwater would need to be built along the coast to protect it from erosion, which is financially unviable and would never be permitted by the national coast department (Costas).
“They consider that erosion is a natural process and should not be stopped,” she said.
“Specific protection action in specific areas could be proposed to Costas and the council has commissioned a report to establish the areas of highest risk.”
Sra Boné admitted that homes close to the cliff could be in trouble in the mid to long term due to erosion.
“The town planning department should make clear whether the swimming pools, gardens and properties standing on top of the cliff are in the right place or not from a legal and planning point of view,” she stated.
“The council, Costas and the property owners will have to take measures in the future.”
President of the federation of residents’ associations (FAOC), Tomás Moreno said the safety of the promenade and pedestrians should be guaranteed regardless of cost.
“When the net was being installed, it was clear that it was insufficient because the cliff is seriously eroded and has many holes,” he said.
“The promenade at Cabo Roig is one of the landmarks of Orihuela Costa and the council should work to get the go-ahead from Costas to keep it safe and open.”
Fanny Serrano with Roberto Fuentes
The crumbling cliff has become a big problem for the council