Tuesday, September 26

Another luxury tourism project on aboriginal remains in Tenerife

Twelve minutes from Puertito de Adeje, a new luxury project is being developed. An 1,860-bed tourist complex with a golf course in Hoya Grande, in the south of Tenerife. The occupied land will reach 88,000 square meters. 80% will be for tourist use and 20% for residential use, but the homes installed there will also be exclusive. The City Council contemplates the construction of 155 villas with a capacity for 465 beds, as stated in the documentation to which this newsroom has had access. A report prepared by Cultania, a Canarian company specialized in the comprehensive management of cultural heritage, identifies 29 heritage elements in this space, including several of aboriginal affiliation.

Activists chain themselves to an excavator in the works of the Puertito de Adeje tourism macroproject

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Two years after the preparation of this study, the Tegüico Heritage Association has demanded that the Historical Heritage Department of the Adeje City Council clarify what protection measures are going to be adopted to protect the sites that will be affected by this urban project.

The Tegüico association managed to paralyze part of the Cuna del Alma tourism macroproject, which aims to build in Puertito de Adeje, one of the few unbuilt enclaves in the south of the island, more than 400 luxury villas between a Site of Scientific Interest ( SIC) and a Special Conservation Area (ZEC). The president of the association, Sixto Domingo García, filed a complaint with the Cabildo de Tenerife against the works at Cuna del Alma, warning that there were uninventoried Guanche deposits in the area.

This warning prompted the Cabildo de Tenerife to initiate an investigation that revealed, through a resolution of the Territorial Planning and Historical Heritage Directorate of the island corporation, that the promoter had committed a “very serious infraction” by destroying impossible archaeological remains. to retrieve.

Protected deposits

Hoya Grande has historically been a space dominated by agriculture and known for the production of bananas, tomatoes and cereals. However, over time, the building has gained ground to crops. In the area closest to the highway “there has been a dismantling of traditional uses as a result of urban pressure”, reads the report prepared by Cultania at the request of the entity San Eugenio SA For its part, the surroundings of the Barranco de Las Moradas does still preserve part of the traditional vegetation of the area, such as cardones and tabaibas.

According to the patrimonial study, the intense agricultural exploitation has hampered “greatly” the conservation of patrimonial enclaves from the aboriginal era. Despite this, the experts were able to identify rock carving stations and various concentrations of archaeological material on the surface. The document warns the City Council that it is essential to assess in detail the effects of the works on the heritage, since any impact or damage may be irreversible.

In Hoya Grande, 29 heritage elements have been located, twelve of them previously known and 17 unpublished. “This high number is a consequence of the long historical processes that have taken place in this part of the municipality of Adeje,” explains the study. 19 elements are of an ethnographic nature and are related almost entirely to elements linked to agriculture. Among them, three threshing floors, a well, three canals, three deposits, two tanks, a paved road and also housing resources such as an excavated cave are identified. Hydraulic infrastructures are a “relevant example of the basic need of these latitudes”: the storage and distribution of water.

The other ten are aboriginal sites found in areas near the Las Moradas ravine and in isolated rocky outcrops. “Both locations traditionally offered little agricultural attention, since their start-up involved an investment of time and effort that was not very profitable,” the text adds.

These localized archaeological enclaves are of special relevance due to the uniqueness of some of the engravings and the density of the archaeological material. In the caves, to which a residential function is usually attributed, ceramic remains and remains of ovicaprine fauna were found.

Of the total registered enclaves, 21 would be directly affected by the works and eight would suffer an indirect impact. “Aboriginal ascription enclaves have the highest degree of protection. Thus, and regardless of the technical alternatives that may be decided, all necessary measures must be taken to avoid their possible conditions”, warns the Cultania report.

This wording has asked the Adeje City Council what phase the project is in, as well as the measures that the corporation intends to adopt in order to protect the heritage elements. However, he has not yet received a response.

The Cabildo de Tenerife, in a report dated July 12, 2022, insists on the obligation to guarantee the protection and conservation of these archaeological and ethnographic assets and to have the presence of an archaeologist in all actions that involve alterations of the land . “The appearance of vestiges of heritage interest will imply the immediate stoppage of the works and their communication to this insular corporation.” On the other hand, the Cabildo authorizes the end of three buildings that show “a terrible state of conservation, without any sense in their eventual conservation or reconstruction.”

“Annihilate” the history of the Canary Islands

The official documents consulted justify the partial revision of the General Plan of Adeje for adaptation of the Hoya Grande Sector, assuring that there is a “need for development” of the tourism sector associated with a growing demand. For this reason, they are committed to the creation of “highly qualified accommodation offers” in combination with “complementary leisure equipment (golf course)”. The latter will have a total of 18 holes.

The tourist exploitation of Adeje has been one of the great bets of the mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga (PSOE), who has been in power for thirty years and is also president of the PSOE in the Canary Islands. So far, it is the municipality with the most tourist beds in Tenerife, with 66 hotels.

United We Can Adeje, one of the opposition parties that presented allegations against this project last year, warns that this large tourist complex “would breach the law” established in relation to the number of accommodation offers planned for each area according to the Territorial Planning Plan Tourism of Tenerife. According to the party, in this area the maximum number of beds that can be offered is limited to 500 places.

Likewise, regarding the presence of archaeological and ethnographic heritage in Hoya Grande, the party recalls that the archaeological sites of a rock nature have been declared assets of cultural interest. “What is proposed is to excavate when the archaeological element hinders […] In this case, it is proposed to dig to annihilate, so that the conditioning factor that prevents the construction of a golf course disappears, ”criticizes United We Can.

“Signs of illegality, depredation of the territory and destruction of the history of our people. We are facing the umpteenth expression of an outdated model that is giving its last blows in Adeje, ”says Gabriel González, councilor for training in Adeje.

For her part, Patricia León, councilor of the main opposition party in the City Council, Canary Coalition, rejects that the municipality is betting on these macro-projects to the detriment of the needs of the citizens of Adeje. “In the face of any unexpected event, our highways collapse and the Las Américas health center is also pending,” she recalls. The party also demands greater transparency on the part of the government group with the opposition and with the neighbors.