Buckets and spades on the beach of Calabardina, in Águilas this weekend were not just for the kids. Members and sympathisers of the protection group against the proposed development of the Marina de Cope urbanisation ( la Plataforma en Defensa de la Marina de Cope) were out in force to highlight their opposition to the project and reinforce their message that the beach is for everyone, not just the owners of holiday apartments and hotel guests.
The proposed urbanisation of Marina de Cope will see the construction of 9000 homes and 20,000 hotel places on unspoilt virgin coastline in Lorca and Águilas, the project hoping to attract up to 40,000 visitors per year. This whole area of the proposed project is an area of Regional Importance (LIC- Lugar de Importancia Comunitaria) and a Regional Park and is currently undeveloped.
Dressed up as construction workers, complete with reflective tabards, hard hats and “tools” (buckets and spades), about seventy people took to the popular holiday beach to carry out “construction” works, building sandcastles along the length of the beach under the banners: “Marina de Cope” and “Cope Libre” as bathers arrived.
Environmental organisations are urging for sustainable tourism, during which visitors can enjoy activities alongside nature, staying in rural hotels, and not tourism based only on bricks and mortar. They say that there are hundreds of thousands of unsold properties all over Spain and in the coastal regions, “victims” of the industry’s boom years, left unwanted following the construction implosion and downturn of the economy, and plenty of urbanisations which have never even been completed.
Conversely, they say, little virgin coastline remains in Spain, and that which does, should be treasured, and used to create sustainable tourism, not built on.
The Region of Murcia is backing the project to build the Marina de Cope urbanisation and associated leisure facilities fully, with Pedro Cruz, the regional Minister for tourism and culture, referring frequently to the Marina de Cope development in his speeches about key development projects for regional tourism.
The protestors have recently created their own facebook, Plataforma en Defensa de la Marina de Cope, to mobilise support for their planned protests, attracting more than 8500 friends in just over a month.
Images: Plataforma en Defensa de la Marina de Cope
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