The good intentions of the last Benavides administration appear to have resulted in 248,319 euros being spent for nothing. The outlay was to provide access to Almuñécar’s beaches for people with mobility problems; i.e. in wheelchairs. Everything was installed, but the snag is that reportedly nothing is in line with standing regulations, which means, it all has to be changed.
Around mid March a provincial inspector from the Department of the Environment came down to check the special beach installations. Upon concluding the inspection, accompanied by the Councillor for Social Affairs, Maria Dolores Reinoso and the Councillor for the Environment, Luis Aragón, he informed them that none of the installations conformed to regulations.
“With these funds we could have had four special access points up and running,” she lamented. According to these councillors, back in 2009, 70,000 euros were spent on the purchase of four modules, adapted to the requirements of people with reduced mobility, which were incorrectly installed on Puerta del Mar, Velilla, San Cristóbal and La Herradura beaches, under the supervision of the then Councillor for Beaches.
To give an example of the deficiencies, in the beach toilets a person in a wheelchair should be able to turn 360 degrees within the cabins, and they should be easily accessible for him or her. However, inside the beach toilets there is only 30 cm between the toilet and the shower; insufficient for somebody manoeuvring a wheelchair.
As for the walkways that were installed in 2009, on which 106,000 euros was spent, they are impractical for a wheelchair user, as well. A further 74,000 was spent on the shower bases, connecting them to the platforms – not only for wheelchair, but also for prams and push chairs – however the button to turn on the shower is to too high for somebody sitting down.
The Councillor for Social Affairs explained that they are now gearing up to sort out these problems, using the limited financial resources available, so that it will all be ready for the summer.
But the headaches don’t end with the beach installation deficiencies because parking spaces for the disabled are not regulation, either: they should be a minimum of 1.20m by 4.5m, but they are not.
In the meantime, the Town Hall is waiting for the official inspection report to arrive before commencing the rectification of these unjustifiable errors.
(Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Andalucia)