Isaí Blanco - Mayor of La Oliva
"We are one of the very few municipalities to have managed to increase our budgets by 60%"
With the up and coming elections, we wanted to meet with the mayor of La Oliva so that he could give us his point of view on the approaching new stage.
What are your projects?
I would like to keep in the same line as what we have been doing until now. We were in an era where the ayuntamiento was unstable politically and economically. There was a lack of staff, not only because of the minority at the government, but the image was also damaged. Sadly, not only for the municipality's population but this bad image had also reached other islands. I believe that we have sorted it out and we have also paid off old debt that represented 24.000.000 Euros last year. We don't owe anyone anything now! We even paid a 30-year-old expropriation, that had been left aside with the ensuing damages for the owners. Some of them have passed away already, but we have tried to stop lengthening this process. The administration is used to wearing people out with their delays, but it is unfair.
What else have you done in such a short period?
We increased the budgets by 60%. I believe we will be one of the very few municipalities all over Spain to have managed that. We had to work a lot to achieve it, starting by approving budgets that hadn't been approved since 2014 The population isn't aware of how serious it is to have budgets that are not approved. But we can't have an old project with a population that has increased a lot over the past few years. Of course, as it wasn't planned, services hadn't increased at the same time. Old contracts were no longer sufficient and were already deficient. Those necessities couldn't be covered by municipal staff either as the law doesn't allow us to employ more staff. This is why during the last General Meeting we opened for bidding the contracts for the cleaning of streets, beaches, schools, gardens, etc., and 64 people will now look after the image and cleaning of the municipality. For example, at present, there is only one gardener for the whole municipality and there will be 14 from now on, as well as adequate equipment to look after the gardens. We have numerous flower beds that are not looked after and give a terrible impression of neglect. Nearly every village and the upper part of Corralejo don't have any cleaning service. We only have very few municipal employees, who are sent daily from one site to another in order to solve situations. There is only one company looking after the old town of Corralejo and they only work twice a week in the streets. Imagine, with all the tourism there is, from now on they will work six days a week in each street. From now on each village of the municipality will get its own cleaning team with adequate equipment, high-pressure water sweeping machine, etc. The area of Grandes Playas will also be covered and the cleaning services in the schools will get increased by 16 people for the maintenance.
And when will this new contract be in place?
It will start within the next two months. It is difficult to say exactly when because we lack technicians in the municipality as well.
Do you think you will get to see it in action?
I would like to enjoy all the work that has been done, but if I don't stay here, I will be glad to see all that is in place. The population can only see what happens on the outside, they don't realise how difficult it was and all the work that had to be done to get to put those contracts in place. We are now trying to solve problems such as the excess of advertising billboards in our municipality, as well as the routes for quads and buggies, the surfers who sometimes create problems with swimmers and we are also organising meetings with the surf schools that are not within the law, etc. We have been working on this since last summer. It isn't because of negligence that all those agreements haven't been put in place, it is because everything requires such complicated processes, an environmental survey that doesn't depend from us, etc., which means that it is difficult to give dates concerning actions we are putting in place. The work is also starting on road surfaces, which will help improve the general look of the municipality. .
All those procedures and delays must be hard to deal with...
It is difficult for us and even worse for people from outside who don't know what is happening and who think that because things are not moving, all politicians are the same. My ideology is to do things properly, I like my municipality and I like to protect it, I am satisfied with my team at the ayuntamiento and we have worked well together. We obtained together the achievements and failures, independently from the political parties that everyone belongs to, there has been a good harmony, where everyone has worked to improve the municipality. We have been fighting for the same objectives.
Any other news?
We are about to receive the results of a survey concerning cruise ships in the harbour of Corralejo. With a survey from Puertos Canarios, we have asked one of the best survey companies to carry out a viability study and if is it satisfactory, it will be a case of getting political back up to achieve it.