NEWS FROM POLLENSA, ALCUDIA, CAN PICAFORT, SA POBLA, SANTA MARGALIDA AND MURO
WHILE I fully appreciate that there can be sound environmental reasons for denying or limiting access to parts of the Tramuntana, the tale of the Ternelles Way in Pollensa has always beaten me almost. This is not just because I fail to understand why barriers (and not just physical ones) have continued to be erected; it is because the sheer complexity of the issues are sufficient to beat anyone. But I persevere in attempting to make out the latest developments in this never-ending story.
To keep it as simple as possible, it needs explaining that the Ternelles finca is owned by the family who own Banca March. They have always sought to limit access, and one of their chief opponents, Pollensa town hall, has never fundamentally disagreed with this. Indeed, no one has seriously ever advocated unfettered access to all and sundry, except perhaps for some radical ramblers. So for years, small groups have been able to trek along the way - or at least part of the way - this group access having itself been a source of conflict. At one time, the town hall organised it, the access not having been guided. Then the family said it would take over, and it did, this time with guided groups.
Guides did in a way make sense. This was on account of the fact that the finca has (or had) exclusion zones. The Castell del Rei and the Cala Castell were off-limits because they were sensitive breeding areas for the black vulture, an endangered species which has now made a good recovery. And it is these exclusion zones which are at the heart of the latest rumpus.
In January this year, the regional environment ministry issued a decree whereby access to the exclusion zones was to be permitted, subject to some revision of what constitutes these zones. The government had therefore, and after an age during which it had appeared to drag its heels, amended the plan for the management of natural resources that governs certain spaces, e.g. the exclusion zones. This amendment was crucial, as the courts had insisted that this was the only means by which the town hall could revise its own plan regarding right of way.
The decree duly issued, and all seemed set fair for hikers to take themselves off to the hitherto prohibited cove and ancient castle (within reason). Except of course, that this would be far too simple, as it is proving to be. On the one hand, we have the town hall administration which, so the main opposition party is lamenting, hasn't got round to modifying its general plan in order to restore easement on the finca. This, as noted, and because the courts had said so, could only be done once the environment ministry had pulled its finger out. So, a problem right now is that the town hall hasn't reciprocated in a finger-pulling manner.
When the decree was approved, the environment minister, Miquel Mir, explained that the ministry would itself issue an instruction as to how access as far as Cala Castell could be authorised in a controlled manner, bearing in mind, as if things weren't already complicated enough, that the national Coasts Law has to be complied with. He added that this would be done once the town hall had recovered the right of way, which it hasn't.
But the story, naturally enough, wouldn't be the monumental saga it is without the position of the March family, whose representatives, a company called Menani, has filed an appeal against the decree. So it seems as if everyone will be heading off to the Balearic High Court once more.
One of these days ...