For towns like ours, which need tourism, the sad events of this week have resulted in bad publicity. Three people have drowned on the Costa Daurada beaches within the Penedès, the beaches of El Vendrell were closed for one day after a girl was bit by a fish and, this weekend, most likely, one man was murdered in the centre of Vilanova i la Geltrú.
The summary below starts with the region as a total and continues with local items; comarca by comarca, municipality by municipality. News from Sitges - our number one expat town - can be found under the headline Garraf.
The new desalination plant in Prat de Llobregat – the biggest one in Europe dedicated to urban consumption - has been inaugurated by Catalan president José Montilla. Its purpose is to guarantee that Barcelona does not again face water shortages like those we had last summer, but a consequence of the opening is that the taste and quality of tap water will improve in many parts of the extended metropolitan area, among them the Penedès. (VD)(LaVanguardia)
On Sunday July 19, a 30 year old man from Olesa de Montserrat drowned on the la Mota de Sant Pere beach of Cubelles. The sea was turbulent at the time and the victim had obviously ignored the red warning flags. On July 23, a 47 year old man from León (Castile and León), died on the beaches of Calafell in what is, preliminarily, believed to have been a drowning accident. Finally, on July 24, a 48 year old inhabitant of Vilanova seems to have met the same fate on the Ribes Roges beach of his home town. (VD)(Punt)(Punt)
On Friday July 24, the beaches of el Vendrell were closed off for swimmers after an 11 year old girl had been badly bitten on Sant Salvador. Initially it was feared that she had been attacked by a small shark, but the life guards soon found out that a number of aggressive bluefish (tallahams) had turned up in shallow waters. (LaVanguardia)(Punt)(Avui)(3d8)
A record € 10 million investment will be made in Sitges' most emblematic museums, el Cau Ferrat and Maricel de Mar, plus the building Can Rocamora in between them. The museums will receive a common and handicap friendly entry and at the same time the constructions, directly exposed to the sea, will be reinforced. (VD)
With references to the crisis, Jordi Baijet, PSC mayor of Sitges has made a reshuffle in his local government. Rafal Roig becomes the de facto number two of the team and will have the task to co-ordinate and optimise resources between the other councillors. Marc Quero leaves Human Resources and takes on Projects and Public works, including the new local, so called, mobility pact. The HR function will be taken up by Carmen Prat, councillor of Economic Promotion and Tourism. (VD)(DdV)
The Catalan authorities have given a green light for Sitges to monitor a number of residential areas by security camera, namely Garraf II, Les Terrasses, Rat Penat, Garraf Park, Montgavina, la Llevantina, Quint Mar, Vallpineda and Santa Bàrbara. The cameras are in fact already in place and traffic flows have been adapted to single points of entry. When the new system starts to work, from 22:00 until 6:00 in the morning, people not living in theses areas will have to contact the local police in case they want to enter by car. (Punt)
This weekend, Sitges housed the ''Exopolitics European Summit'' - a major meeting with a focus on extraterrestrial contact with the earth - with high profile participants representing NASA as well as NATO. (VD)
On July 23, in the morning, those living close to the carretera de Sitges in Sant Pere de Ribes had to be evacuated, due to a gas leak caused by works on the sewers. Within an hour people were allowed to return home since the leak in itself had been stopped, but the gas distribution was affected much longer. (Punt)
The decision has been taken to build a new market hall between the C/ Roger de Flor and the ronda de la Masia Nova in Roquetes, based on the model from Sitges – i.e., the construction will be financed by a supermarket chain which receives the right to establish itself in the first floor, while around 20 businesses will be able to rent stands on the ground floor. (Punt)
As a part of its ‘Integral plan for Catalan Circus’, the Generalitat will grant a € 331.000 support to Vilanova i la Geltrú for la Vela - a residence and training area for circus artists – of which € 200.000 will go to improvements of the facilities, € 95.000 to the operations of them and € 36.000 to the annual circus festival Trapezi. (VD)
On Saturday July 25, at 5 o’clock in the morning, a 47 year old Vilanova inhabitant of Spanish nationality was found dead, with his head badly hurt in the central street C/ Cuba. The person who had found the body told the police (mossos d’esquadra) that there had been a loud quarrel, but so far no suspects have been caught. (Punt)(VD)
Vilanova based cable manufacturer Prysmian, which recently made 19 workers redundant when its filing for a workforce regulation (ERO) was not approved, plans for a merger with the Dutch multinational Draka of the same industry. (DdV)
The trade union Confederació General de Treball (CGT) will take the company Mahle to court on the grounds that its members have been discriminated. Of the 90 people recently fired from the Vilanova plant, 66% came from CGT. (DdV)
On July 24, the residential area Mas Trader of Cubelles was connected to the municipal fresh water supplies. (Punt)
A survey carried out among the 1.542 visitors to the 2009 edition of Caixa Penedès ViJazz – the Wine and Jazz festival of Vilafranca del Penedès – reveals that it manages to attract visitors from Barcelona (14,5%), from the rest of Catalonia and Spain plus also from abroad (5%). Some 44% came to the festival for the first time. (PD)(3d8)
Pere Regull, CiU mayor of Vilafranca has presented ADIF (the railway infrastructure administration) with an independent survey carried out by the Acoustic and Mechanic Engineering Laboratories of Barcelona Tech (UPC), according to which the new passage through the town by the high-speed train TAV/AVE, does not cause damage to buildings but anyhow results in vibrations at some places 5 times above established limits and noise 13 decibels above what is allowed. To remedy this, the ajuntament suggest that ADIF build a solar energy park to cover the rail tracks. (3d8)(Punt)
The filing for a workforce regulation (ERO), according to which 86 of the 140 workers at the company Utymat in Santa Margarida i els Monjos would be laid off, has been postponed until September 14 by the Generalitat’s Labour Department, since the company has not presented a viability study. (Punt)
The retail chain El Corte Inglès has received the licences needed to construct a logistic centre at les Planes Baixes of La Bisbal del Penedès, directly connected to the motorway AP2, but close also to AP7. The centre will give jobs to at least 500 people when it begins to operate by the end of 2010. (Punt)(3d8)
In the Friday afternoon, July 24, a wild fire started between the municipalities Pujalt and Veciana. Like in other parts of Catalonia, the high temperatures combined with hard winds complicated its extinction and 85 hectares were affected before, on the Saturday morning, it was brought under control. (AD)
On July 22, a tank of 2.000 litres of hydrogene peroxide (aigua oxigenada) exploded in the premises of Comercial Godó, S.L. in Igualada. The explosion caused major damage to the warehouse where it took place but nobody was hurt. (Punt)
The lanes for Lleida bound traffic on the motorway A2, which temporarily have been closed near Montmaneu due to the risk of landslides, will re-open coming Tuesday. (AD)
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The main sources of Penedès News in English are AnoiaDiari·cat (AD), Penedès Digital (PD), El Punt (Punt), El 3 de Vuit (3d8) and Vilanova Digital (VD) plus the print version of Diari de Vilanova (DdV). All opinions expressed are my own.
L’Extra remains the only news service which treats the Penedès as a united region, but I will stop making use of it until it goes back to a less heavy format. The current one has repeatedly closed Internet Explorer for me.
A brief on the political party system of Catalonia can be found here.
Earlier editions can be found under the label Penedès News.
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