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 Local Agenda 21

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PostSubject: Local Agenda 21   Fri May 07, 2010 9:36 am

Benigembla City Council, through its Department of Environment is implementing this year's Local Agenda 21. The objective of this project is sustainable and balanced development of the environmental, social and economic in our municipality.

For the correct development of the Agenda 21 it is essential to have citizen participation that represents the interests, opinions and proposals from as many social sectors as possible.

One of the main instruments of participation as envisaged in this project is the creation of a Participation Forum in which citizens, politicians and technicians together, discuss ideas, provide and prioritize proposals in order to be included in a Action Plan, to plan and schedule the sustainable development of our locality.

The first meeting was held on 6th May 2010, and Vernissa Park was represented by Norrie Batchelor, Danny Warner, Keith Deacon, Paul Kendrick & Heather Smith.

Some pre-discussions had obviously taken place within the Council as we were presented with a list of 'Weaknesses and Strengths' of Benigembla to discuss and comment on.

The first to be discussed were 'Natural commons'. The criteria was 'protection, preservation and reasonable access to natural common goods.

Aspects evaluated:introducing EERRs, water consumption, efficiency of network, sanitation, treatment and reuse, conservation and efficiency measures, state parks, conservation of natural areas. Preservation of land for organic production and promoting it. Air quality.

These were:-

Weaknesses

1. The local production of renewable enery is non-existent, there are no municipal facilities (the best known are the solar heating).
*** Comments - solar powered lights were installed on the road to the font, but appeared to be vandalised. ***

2. 0% reuse of treated water for irrigation.
*** Comments - this was originally proposed for Vernissa Park but never implemented. ***

3. The lamps of the town are old creating pollution.
*** Comments - Vernissa Park has too many, too bright streetlights. It was suggested that every other one was turned off (or the bulbs removed) until such time as they can be replaced. Note - complaints were made when the streetlights were originally installed by the builders. Their explanation was that there is a legal requirement for street lights to be placed every so many metres. The EU requirement for the capping of streetlights was ignored.

Note - this issue was originally raised with the Town Hall via the Vernissa Park Help forum in July 2007. ***

4. Occupancy of the territory (urbanisation disseminated) greatly limits the enhancement of the landscape aspects, cultural or agricultural use (44% of the population lives outside the nucleus).

5. There is currently no local strategy (management plans, municipal organic gardens) for the promotion of organic farming.

Strengths

1. Some homes, at the initiative of the owner have solar panels.

2. Cultural Heritage Route - Benigembla-Murla of the Vall del Pop (Mountain Bike)

3. Approved joint paths with the Vall del Pop (Ascension to the top of Cocoll)

4. Rio Gorgos included in category Community Place of Interest (Lugar de Interes de Comunitario, LIC)

5. Road by-pass around Benigembla, ensuring that traffic going to Castell de Castells, Parcent or the other side of town, does not pass through the centre of Benigembla.
*** Comments. One of the roads leading to the new roundabout does not have direct access on to the roundabout. ***

6. Strategically installed speed bumps to slow down traffic and consequently reduce noise in the town.
*** Question - do we need speed bumps in Vernissa Park? ***

7. The agents interviewed qualify the town as low noise and no noise pollution problems, smoke or odours.
*** Comments. Bad odours do exist from the septic tank of Vernissa Park. This has been an ongoing problem for over 10 years.
A request for a 'smoke free day' for farmers burning was made. They apparently can burn from 06:00 to 16:00 every day unless it is windy. It was suggested that the farmers could recycle the cuttings by shredding them instead of burning.***

8. The ways to improve and fund 'cleaner' (i.e. less light pollution) installation of street lights are being studied by the municipality.

Opportunities

1. Progressive development of renewable energy projects (solar power and heating or other) for example in the sports complex. (To start with a pilot experiment)

2. Writing a strategic plan for the deployment of renewable energy and complementary regulations. Replacing polluting streetlights, improved quality of night landscape & night sky.

3. Promotion of organic farmimg (information activities, organic gardens, fairs, conferences, special management plan, etc)

4. The strategic success of rural tourism, goes through a conservation policy, value and communication, cultural & natural aspects of the municipality. (including rural areas and traditional agricultural use).

5. Workshops, guided tours, etc., knowledge of the natural environment & biodiversity (flora & fauna), recognition and traditional use of medicinal & aromatic plants.

The 2nd of 5 meeting is planned for 13th May 2010.
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PostSubject: Local Agenda 21 - 2nd meeting 13th May 2010   Sat May 15, 2010 6:53 pm

Representing Vernissa Park were Keith Deacon, Paul Kendrick and Heather Smith.

The next topic for discussion was 'Consumption and responsible lifestyles'.

Criteria: prudent and efficient use of resources, promotion of responsible consumption and sustainable production.

Aspects evaluated: production and urban waste management. Saving measures and energy efficiency. Municipal promotion of sustainable production and consumption (eco-label, organic, ethical and fair trade).

Weaknesses

1. The doctor is not collecting medical wastes from the municipality (syringes, containers for collection of unwanted tablets, etc).
*** Comments - This is not the responsibility of the Doctor. The farmacy provides facilities for disposal of medical wastes. ***

2. There are sections of street lights with inefficient and light polluting lamps.
*** Comments - This was discussed at the previous meeting. ***

3. The City council have not orgainsed training programs or activities, dissemination or promotion of sustainable consumption, eco or ethical trade.

4. Plant residues from municipal cutting and pruning are not managed properly.
*** Comments - Apparently the 'municipal gardener' currently throws garden cuttings into the river bed! Use of a municipal garden shredder was suggested, perhaps in the Co-operativa, for use by everyone. The shreddings can then be recycled. ***

5. Part of the observed decrease in electricity consumption in industry and service sectors (including catering, administration and public lighting) may be due to a reduction in economic activity rather than increased efficiency.
*** Comments - turning off some of the street lights will make a further instant saving. ***

Strengths

1. System of selective collection of paper and cardboard, lightweight packaging and glass in suitable containers divided into 4 collection points.
*** Comments - The containers need to be emptied more frequently, especially in summer when they are often overflowing.
The containers should be screened from view.
An explaination of what waste products should go into which bins is required.
There should be waste bins in the streets to stop people from throwing rubbish on the streets (!) ***

2. There is a collection of hazardous household waste: cooking oils.
*** Comments - This is not obvious. There are blue containers by the post boxes next to the school for the disposal of cooking oil. The bins need to be replaced by a proper oil collection bin. ***

3. Urban solid waste management is pooled with the Val del Pop, with the exception of glass.

4. For a 5.37% increase in population over the period 2005-2009, the municipal per capita of electricity consumption has dropped 44.4%, a significant reduction in all sectors (-85.2% residential, -71% industrial, services 6% - 10.3%

Opportunities

1. Request for a grant for the gradual replacement of less efficient lamps and pollutants.

2. Reduction in light intensity in lighting from 12 o'clock at night.

3. Organic or sustainable production can be the hallmark of the local product and economical potential, complementary with rural tourism.

4. Training, circulation or promotion of environmentally and socially responsible consumption (fairs, conferences, lectures, courses).

5. Sound management of municipal plant waste.

6. Management of medical waste.

Next topic for discussion was 'Planning and urban design'.

Criteria: focus on evironmental, social, economic, health and cultural for the common benefit.

Aspects evaluated: urban regeneration, urban growth, settlement plan (compact, scattered, multi-nuclear, etc). Distribution of land uses (mixed - specialised). Urban planning. Heritage conservation. Cityscape. Implementation of sustainable and bioclimatic construction.

Weaknesses

1. The occupation of land for urbanisation spread greatly limits the enhancement of the landscape aspects, cultural or agricultural use.

2. Strong leaning to residential use.

3. Null implementaion of sustainable and bioclimatic building.

4. There is no general plan or reservation of industrial land.

5. Existence of many natural sources that are conditioned as needed, even by private individuals or associations.

6. Bi-nuclear settlement pattern, compact and mixed (in the urban distribution of uses and functions and Vernissa Park is residential only).
*** Comments - this originally appeared in the 'Strengths' section but was decided that it is a 'Weakness'. ***

Strengths

1. Wherever possible in the municipality, old buildings are regenerated, but it is not easy to find homes that are sold for this purpose.

2. It has been tried extensively in the residential building Vernissa Park, but that proposal remains stalled.

3. Moderate population growth (around 5.37% in the period 2005-2009)

4. There are not declining urban areas. Those building that were declining are being put up for public use.

5. The restoration and upgrading of urban landscape ("Sindicato" and Abbey House).

Opportunities

1. Drafting of the General Plan and introduction of the use of Special Plans and Project Management or Construction of provisions and criteria to facilitate and promote the implementation of bioclimatic architecture, renewable energy production, or farming.

2. Approval of the path of "Les Fonts" and maintaining it in order to make known the wealth of the municipality while promoting rural tourism.

Propsals

1. Revamp the park area and make it more accessible.

2. Create a new park area.

3. Supply gym equipment in the park areas.

4. Create a rest area.

The 3rd of 5 meeting is on 20th May 2010 in the Town Hall at 19:00
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PostSubject: Meeting on 20th May 2010   Sun May 23, 2010 8:53 am

The only English representative attending this meeting was Heather Smith. Hopefully more will attend the next meeting to show that the non Spanish are taking an interest in their environment.

The next topic for discussion was 'Forms of Government'.

Aspects evaluated: mechanisms and bodies participation, associative, access to information, communication processes, cooperation or participation agreements with other cities and levels of government.

Weaknesses

1. There is not a regulated process of communication and participation.

2. The website (www.benigembla.es) has no information or data. The site works well and is well structured but without information on the different sections.

3. A significant proportion expressed that they received little information from the processes and projects that are made by the council.

4. Municipal meetings little equity.

5. The Town Hall bulletin board is not updated frequently.

6. The annual dinner of pensioners has been cancelled due to lack of funds by the municipality.

Strengths

1. The Town Council intends to support and collaborate with local associations, as long as budgets allow.

2. The Cultural Curcuit Mancomunitat of the Marina Alta (MACMA), Mancomunitat de Serveis Socials de la Marina Alta (Massman) and the Intermunicipal Mancomunitat Vall del Pop.

3. The council helps associations provide municipal buildings for meetings, activities, etc., whenever required by them.

4. The municipal information about processes, projects and activities is made available to the public mainly through the full city.

Opportunities

1. Introduce on the web page general information of the municipality (location, history, food, etc) and administrative information (service, schedules, contacts, forms,...). Also use the website as information platform for local news.

2. The website should be edited in English as well to integrate the European residents.

3. Develop a communications regulation and civic participation, among other things, organise and define the processes and reporting mechanisms, public participation and consultation (scope, participation spaces, channels, responsible, customers service, processing of requests, etc ...)

4. Make a briefing with local associations every 2 months (to establish a communication protocol with the Town).

5. Using the municipal bulletin board as an information tool for citizens.

6. Name the streets in Vernissa Park.

7. Keep the post office open longer during the day.

The next topic for discussion was 'Municipal management towards sustainability'.

Aspects evaluated: organisational structure, coordination and mainstreaming between services and departments, there is planning objectives and strategies towards sustainability. Assessment of sustainable capacity or condition or action programs in place. Existance of ordinances, edicts or local regulations in relation to sustainability criteria. Control and environmental monitoring.

Weaknesses

1. There were no objectives, goals or documented operational instructions for the management of environmental aspects (materials and products, waste management, electricity saving, water saving ...) of municipal services.

2. In procurement procedures or procurement of services, no environmental quality criteria apply.

3. There is no planning process or evaluation of the sustainable capacity of the proceedings and municipal projects.

4. Municipal regulations related to environmental issues is limited.

5. Workers do not carry out good environmental practices of the proceedings and municipal projects.

6. Much of the municipal projects depend solely on a single department.

7. There is no local police service.

Strengths

There are none.

Opportunities

1. Implementation of objectives, targets and best practices in municipal services, as well as criteria for environmental and social responsibility in purchasing and contracting procedures.

2. Implementation of the A21 as a tool for sustainable planning of municipal actions.

3. Increasing coordination between departments.

4. Expanding environmental law in nature: the sewage dumping, renewable energy, landscape protection, catalog of natural assets or property, bioclimatic construction, etc.


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 26th May at 19:00. The room is being used for something else on the Thursday.
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PostSubject: Meeting on 26th May   Sat May 29, 2010 1:26 pm

Those representing Vernissa Park were Danny Warner, Keith Deacon, Tony Hillman, Paul Kendrick & Heather Smith.

The next topic for discussion was 'From local to global'

Criterion: assuming our global responsibility for peace, justice, equality, sustainable development and climate protection.

Aspects evaluated: participation in networks or programs of cooperation supra (environmental, social, humanitarian ...). Awareness campaigns and environmental education. Environmental protection, combat global warming.

Weaknesses

1. The monitoring and control mechanisms are not sufficient for the needs of the population.

2. There is no planned strategy of environmental awareness (especially among the adult population).

3. There is no strategy of information, awareness and fight against the global problem of climate change.

4. There isn't a wide and appropriate education program or activities or environmental awareness aimed at adults.

Strengths

1. Environmental education is in the school curriculum.

2. There is a municipal worker who is responsible for maintenance of natural areas close to the town. *** Comments - this is not obvious ***

3. Municipal participation in humanitarian programs: disaster donations, support and collaboration organised by the church.

4. The Cultural Association have organised activities: nightlife and Arbor Day, as well as craft fairs (sales of goods for trade fair and awareness workshops for children).

Opportunities

1. We need more presence of the Guardia Civil. *** Comments - they are regularly in the area ***

2. Approval by supra environmental initiatives such as: Spanish Network of Cities for Climate, Biodiversity 2010 or conenant of Mayors.

3. Signature of Aalborg + 10 Cati Letter to join the network Agenda 21 in the province of Alicante and the European Network of sustainable Cities and towns (compliance with formal requirements).

4. Agree with the forum of a percentage share of the local budget for grants for specific projects of environmental or humanitarian aaid to be made by NGOs.

5. Information and awareness campaign on the issue of climate change.

6. Designing an annual program of municipal environmental education that considers the objectives to be achieved, subject areas to be treated, content, resources, etc ..., targeting both schoolchildren and the general population.

The next topic for discussion was 'Local action for health'.

Criteria: Promotion and protection of health and welfare of the citizenry.

Aspects evaluated: public awareness and education (sexuality, hygiene and nutrition, substance abuse, exercise, rational drug use ...), disease prevention, and health care equipment, emergencies, the existence of municipal health plans, promotion of sports, sports equipment. Specific action to improve the quality of life and health of the elderly, children and adolescents.

Weaknesses

1. There are no sports schools in the municipality.

2. The Medical Clinic does not have everything you need to do some medical tests.

3. There is no canteen at school. *** Comments - due to the small number of children, a canteen is not practical. Could they not use a local restaurant or take packed lunches? ***

4. No information on blood doning.

5. No meeting room for pensioners.

6. The current Medical Clinic does not have enough seating, no heating and is only open 4 days a week.

Strengths

1. It has a Sports Centre and Swimming Pool that can be used by citizens.

2. The medical centre and the service provided is considered appropriate, and adjusted to the size and population characteristics (no overcrowding). It is open 4 days a week.

3. Emergency care given 24 hours a day at the Medical Centre in Orba.

4. Facilities and sports activities are considered appropriate to the needs of the population: There is a sports centre (tennis court, handball, football pitch and swimming pool).

5. fitness courses are conducted for the elderly (resumes in October)

6. Public health campaigns (information, prevention, treatments and activities ...) are considered sufficient and appropriate to the needs of the population. They are led by the Associations or the Health Centre.

7. There is a pharmacy.

8. Planned relocation of the medical centre and fitting to the needs of the population.

Opportunities

1. Fix access to the Sports Centre.

2. Location of benches at the sports centre to sit.

The next topic for discussion was 'Local economy and sustainable living'

Criterion: economic revitalisation, employment promotion and environmental protection.

Aspects evaluated: growth, diversity, and type of economic activity, changes in local employment. Environmental impact of industrial activity. Good corporate practices, supports local employment and business creation. Promoting sustainable local tourism. Promotion of local or regional products quality.

Weaknesses

1. Dependency levels and higher age. Replacement level (31.3%) worryingly low.

2. No accommodation for rural tourism (overnight), lodges, camping, hotel, apart-hotel or lodging.

3. The prevailing view of the people consulted is that the municipality's economic activity is scarce.

4. Increased unemployment in the period 2005 - 2009 is 6 times higher.

5. Most of the active population of the municipality is engaged in the construction and services.

Strengths

1. The economic activity in the municipality is not extensive but there are several businesses that offer different products that cover the basic needs of the population.

2. The mobile market complements the food supply in the municipality (fish, fruit and vegetables 3 times a week).

3. The council promotes the consumption of local and regional through Mancomunitat Vall Del Pop, not directly.

4. The municipality is investing resources and develops projects to promote rural tourism through the Mancomunitat Vall Del Pop, not directly.

5. Birth rate (20.5%) similar to the provincial and regional rates.

6. Trend (170.0%) remarkably higher than provincial rates. There is no industrial land supply.

7. There is a field wanted to be allocated to camping in order to promote rural tourism in the municipality that remains paralysed.

8. Youth unemployment rate significantly lower than the provincial and autonomous.

9. Positive migratory rate (gain of population).

10. Economic activities without notable environmental impacts and location is assessed as being correct.

11. Foreign immigration revitalising the local economy.

12. Unemployment 5.8% (labour force) well below the provincial rate, regional and state levels.

13. The growing number of commercial establishments in the period 2006 - 2008 by 20%. Establishing a guest house in 2008.

Opportunities

1. Promoting rural tourism through the approval of trails, among others.

2. Facilities to the implementation of booming economic activities (rural tourism, renewable energy, organic farming).

3. Farming (emphasis on quality and differentiation) in response to intensive agriculture competitive global.

The next topic for discussion was 'Equality and social justice'

Criterion: ensure inclusive and supportive communities.

Aspects evaluated: remote, family situations of marginalisation or poverty, programs, performances, social service resources. Gender equality. Living with the immigrant population. Equitable access to services and public facilities, recreation, education, jobs, training and information. Education and culture. Public safety.

Weaknesses

1. Difficulty of access to employment for young people in the municipality.

2. The language barrier is the main brake on the integration between the foreigh group and the natinoal population.

3. Few activities are conducted in a cultural nature in the municipality.##4. disappearance of the local translator who helped in the efforts of the European residents, some time ago.

4. Recruitment through grants (Pamer) has caused problems with the staff for neglect of work and loss of machines belonging to the municipality.

5. The meeting room which is used by the municipality at this time is on the second floor of the Town Hall and has no elevator.

Strengths

1. A group of ladies on their own initiative come together to make lace.

2. There are no marginal municipal areas, with living conditions, inadequate housing.

3. Social services are sufficient to care for individual family situations or economic instability, or at risk or social exclusion (disabled, elderly..).

4. The accessibility and quality of public services and resources and educational activities is assessed as appropriate to the needs of the population.

5. There is adequate equipment for the centre and training (can be computer courses).

6. The town provides access to public employment through subsides.

7. The group of foreign residents, participates in all activities to which they are invited directly. Some of them have good predisposition for integration.

8. The foreign group organises an annual fair to raise money for equipment and / or educational facilities.

9. The school has recently been refurbished.

10. Despite episodes documented in the town, most of the people interviewed do not feel that insecurity has increased in recent years.

11. Availability of library (above Post Office)

12. The association of retirees include foreign residents from Vernissa Park. The president (Vicente) speaks English.

13. The training offer for employment is distributed by the Mancomunidad Vall del Pop.

Opportunities

1. Promotion of mountain path walk.

2. Promote integration and participation of European collective in social and cultural life of the municipality. HOW?

3. Increase and diversify the activities and entertainment options for children and youth. HOW?

4. Increased presence of the Guardia Civil in the area.

5. Establish management agreements (SERVEF) to the adequacy of training opportunities to population size (minimum holding flexible sparesly populated municipalities); gardening, etc.

The next meeting to discuss the proposals from the previous meeting is to be arranged some time in June.
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