THE LONG saga over the unfinished Orihuela Costa Emergency Centre at La Zenia has reached the start of the final phase, with Orihuela council on Tuesday formally approving the process of advertising a tender for the project worth over two million euros.
It means that the facility is planned to be completed by December next year in order to take advantage on a deadline for key EU funding.
The drawn-out affair dates back to the original contractor going bust in 2012, with just the very basic shell of the building constructed close to the Consum supermarket.
There then followed years of inactivity from the Valencian regional government and Orihuela council, with regular protests and complaints by Orihuela Costa residents that their needs were being ignored.
A change in political control in Valencia in 2015 led to the start of log-jam being broken, and plans for a revised centre were submitted in 2017 taking into account new budgets and new safety requirements.
Promised dates for tenders to be advertised came and went, as authorities in Orihuela and Valencia fell out over who should take responsibility for the work, with the regional government eventually decreeing that Orihuela should be in charge.
Over three months ago, Orihuela council said that a tender was about to be advertised but nothing happened, with European Union grant money to help fund the two-point one million euro project ending next year.
Orihuela government team spokesman, Jose Aix, said that once the successful bidder for the work had been awarded the contract, they would have up to ten months to finish the centre.
“It is a priority for the council that everything is done as soon as possible so that the centre will become a reality”, added Aix.
The building will house all of the Orihuela Costa´s emergency services like the Guardia Civil, local police, firefighters, and civil protection volunteers.
The centre will also have ambulances based there during the busy summer tourist season, and a helicopter landing pad.
Response times to incidents will be significantly improved on current timings, with emergency teams frequently making journeys from areas outside the Orihuela Costa.
(Picture top): Jose Aix. (Middle): Abandoned shell.
(Above): The final design