RESIDENTS LEARN ABOUT FINANCIAL AID AS GOVERNMENT DETERMINES FIRE RECOVERY POLICY
Plans to be explored to coordinate fire prevention and create security plans for urbanisations
Xàbia was to be at the centre of political activity in Valencia tomorrow after two meetings were scheduled to discuss the consequences of the forest fires that broke out on Sunday 4th September which burned hundreds of hectares of the Parque Forestal de la Granadella and affected several urbanisations. Last night residents learnt about the financial aid that was available to those directly affected by the fire and the conditions that needed to be met to qualify.
Ximo Puig, president of the Generalitat Valenciana, and Elena Cebrián, head of the Ministry of the Environment is due to meet with representatives from municipalities including Xàbia and Poble Nou de Benitatxell as well as Bolulla, Callosa and Tarbena who were also affected by forest fires to assess the management of the fires and the measures that need to be taken in the future.
In this sense, mayor José Chulvi said that "the priority must be the management of the forest and, above all, of the homes located next to forest areas. Administrations have to coordinate and get involved in cleaning as well as in creating effective evacuation plans. Xàbia is a town of 68 square kilometres with a large forest area and we need to balance environmental protection with the security of people and property."
He added that Xàbia "in the centre of the priorities of the of the Generalitat Valenciana and this has been demonstrated with effective action. We have suffered a major misfortune but we don't feel alone. The Valencian government has been with us from the beginning and we have their support to make our town safer from now."
Governing Board of the Regional Council Immediately after the first meeting, Xàbia is to host a meeting of the Governing Board of the Diputación de Alicante, chaired by its president César Sánchez and attended by Jaime Lloret, deputy of Emergency. During the meeting, the regional government and the Ayuntamiento de Xàbia would explore ways to coordinate their efforts in prevention and in creating security plans for the urbanized areas. These plans and the work that would be done, will complete the important work of adapting public spaces owned by the Ayuntamiento in recent months.
Financial Aid to Affected Residents About 200 residents affected by the fires met to hear first hand about the financial assistance which will be available from the Government Delegation in an open meeting at the Sala Polivalente in Portal del Clot. The meeting was hosted by Isabel Fuente, head of the Protección Civil Unit in the Government Subdelegate in Alicante, mayor José Chulvi and councillor Doris Courcelles (Urbanisations · Environment · Residents)and detailed the requirements and conditions set out to receive the assistance. The aid can be granted only for primary homes and for incomes not exceeding 26,000 euros per annum for two people living together, 33,000 euros for 3 or 4 people and up to 41,000 euros for more than four people. The deadline for submitting applications for assistance will end on October 13th. The Ayuntamiento de Xàbia will be available to assist residents who need to process their requests to the Government Delegation.
Cleaning of Plots and Prevention One of the aspects that the meeting also focused on was the demand by resident to clean publicly owned plots as well as private. In this sense, mayor José Chulvi stressed that since the implementation of local byelaws in 2014, more than 200 cases have been opened against individuals who failed to meet their obligation to maintain their plots in good condition. In addition, Policía Local chief inspector José Antonio Monfort explained that the failure of an owner to keep clean their plot, the Ayuntamiento cannot do the work before meeting the notification procedure which is sometimes impossible in practice when dealing with bankrupt companies or deceased and that there are legal deadlines to be met before obtaining a court order to do the work.
Councillor Kika Mata (Services) explained the cleaning of municipal plots has been improved after the inaction of the past 20 years. "It is difficult to reach everywhere in a municipality of 68 square kilometres which includes a fair amount of forestry zone but we have made a great effort to maintain our plots and clean the public forest areas." She added that 22 projects were carried out in 2015, including the clearing work in La Granadella, in the many ravines, mountains and municipal green zones. In addition, in reaction to the apathy of the Confederación Hidrográfica del Júcar, the Department of Services has begun a campaign to clean the Gorgos riverbed to minimise the risks in the event of heavy rain and fire.
Nevertheless, the Ayuntamiento recognizes that a lot of work remains to be done and that must be a priority to keep the entire municipality in good conditions in terms of security, health and image.
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