Sunday, 10 May 2009

Penedès News in English

Local news from Vilanova i la Geltrú, Garraf and the rest of the Gran Penedès.


Local TV stations Canal Blau and Maricel have finally started to broadcast digitally (TDT).

The unemployment situation in Vilanova i la Geltrú continues to worsen. Megarubber, which laid of 51 people as late as in February, wants to terminate the contracts with another 130 workers. At Prysmian, the trade unions have accepted the offer for 25 senior workers to retire early, but not for 22 younger ones to be sacked.

A huge need for taking care of abandoned dogs and cats is a sad reality of modern Catalonia. This week the tripartit ruling Vilanova i la Geltrú decided to maintain its decision to close the local kennels (gossera) and not re-investigate, as requested by CiU. To outsiders this might seem to be a small issue, but angry posters and a list of 10.000 signatures (in a town of 65.000) are proofs of the heated emotions. For Vilanova to co-operate in the kennels of the other Penedès towns (located in Vilafranca) makes sense financially, but the voluntary workers who have played a vital role in the local one, feel left behind. Their involvement is not welcome in the professionally operated joint kennels, which, suspiciously enough, are just about to invest in a crematory.

The Vilanova Grand Marina has not yet officially opened, but this week up to 15 luxury yachts might anchor here. The names of their affluent owners will not be revealed but they come here for the Grand Prize of Formula 1 at the Circuit de Catalunya of Montmeló, where the marina offers to fly them by helicopter.

Among towns with more than 25.000 inhabitants, the budget deficit of Sitges ranks as the fifth biggest of the whole of Spain. This is partly due to a debated imbalance in the allocation of resources – Sitges receives funds based on the number of inhabitants and without considerations to the big number of tourists who also demands services carried out by the ajuntament. At the same time, Sitges has spent money on high profile cultural events, the most expensive of which was an exhibition in New York in honour of Martin Luther King. Local Mayor Jordi Baijet (PSC) confronts the situation with a plan for municipal action (PAM, Pla d’Actuació Municipal), presented this week, and a long-term plan for financial stability (Pla d’Estabilitat Econòmica) to come. Except for that he reminds the sitgetans that in 1840, when the town also had a big deficit in the local budget, the beach walk was built in an unpaid joint effort by all local inhabitants. Now, in 2009, I can not help wondering what the many expat citizens of Sitges would be prepared to do to build their town.

Sitges builds the brand of the town as actively as ever. Together with Cadaques, Puigcerdà and Vielha-Mijaran it recently started to promote itself as one of the Viles amb personalitat (towns with personality). At the same time, a poll carried out in the gay and lesbian by Community Marketing, reassured that the town maintains its position as the second most “gay-friendly” town of Catalonia, beaten only by the Gaixample area of Barcelona and followed by Lloret de Mar and Figueres.

Alt Penedès

This week, the new CiU mayor of Vilafranca del Penedès, Pere Regull, has appointed his deputies as well as the other members of his local government. Already after the municipal elections of 2007, when PSC and CiU won 8 town councillor seats each, was it clear that the socialists - who had ruled this town throughout the 30 years since the end of the Franco dictatorship - would not have an easy term of office. Still, even Catalan national media commented on the event when, on April 20, the two councillors of CUP and the one of ERC decided to support a CiU vote of no confidence against former PSC mayor Francisco Romero. In these times of crisis, Pere Regull has decided to bring down the number of full-time employed town councillors from five to two. Other locally big issues – like to reduce the vibrations of the AVE train when it passes by the town – will be harder to solve.

Baix Penedès

Calafell aspires to be Europe’s leading open-air museum with its reproduction of a 2.500 years old Iberian fortress (ciutadella ibèrica). The objective is to make archaeology available and attractive to the public without comprising scientific credibility.


Igualada-Odena is the only airport which has applied to become the hub of corporate flying and aerotaxis, as of a plans made by the Generalitat of Catalonia. It seems that some of the other possible towns to host this infrastructure have pulled out because their runways do not meet the 2.000 meters of the specifications. Neither does the one of Igualada (1.200 meters), but there is a great unanimity among the population - a very important factor. In spite of its excellent motorway connection with the metropolitan area, Anoia is the Catalan comarca which has the highest unemployment rates.
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Penedès News in English is a personal compilation of facts from the digital news services Vilanova Digital and Penedès Digital, the pdf-version of l’Extra plus the print version of the Diari de Vilanova. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Technorati tags: Catalonia, Garraf, Penedès, Sitges, Vilanova

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