Tarifa mayor Juan Andres Gil has further fuelled the fire over the development planned for Valdevaqueros by blaming foreigners and ecologists for the public outcry.
The mayor is furious that a petition to stop the plans has quickly gathered 80,000 names in opposition to the scheme. Speaking to El Confidencial he said “What Tarifa needs is more work and fewer guiris (foreigners).”
He then made it worse by adding “To hell with the ecologists.”
Sr. Gil made the disgusting comments following a public grilling about the development during which he was asked to explain why the 700,000 square metre scheme was good for the town.
He insisted that the plans to build a 1,400 room hotel complex and 350 apartments would bring necessary investment and jobs to Tarifa. The plans were provisionally passed by the town hall last week.
Not everyone is in agreement and local politicians and environmentalists insist the project is a “barbarity” and is “completely unsustainable.”
There seems to be widespread concern over the plans and as the petition has grown so quickly an appeal has been made to Brussels to stop the development.
“This has only just started,” said Lopez de Uralde. “There is still much that can be done to avoid bricking over the unspoilt Valdevaqueros beach. These schemes merely make some people richer while ruining the landscape and heritage for everyone else.”
“Local people have been anti-foreigner for a while,” one British businessman said speaking to The Olive Press.
Many people are not happy and understandably offended by the use of the word ‘guiri’ during a public speech, which is tantamount to racism from an elected official.
“The use of the word is unfortunate. We need our politicians to exercise thoughtfulness and to resist the temptation to slip into facile, populist prejudices. The Spanish people are better and deserve better than that,” said one Irish resident.
A spokes person from the Junta’s Environment department said they are “monitoring the situation closely”.
To sign the petition visit Change.org or visit ‘Salvemos Valdevaqueros’ on Facebook.
To add my two-pennies, fewer expats in the area is not going to improve it. I don’t know the figures but I’m pretty sure Tarifa survives on tourism and foreign investment. If they all left who would stay in the fancy new hotel? It’s backward people like him that cause most of the problems in the world – narrow minded, short-sighted, greedy and, it seems, racist.