Tuesday, September 26

The battle of Gandia and Xeraco for 150,000 square meters of beach that originated more than a century ago

The town councils of Xeraco and Gandia have been fighting over a 600-meter stretch of the l’Ahuir beach (around 150,000 square meters) located next to the mouth of the Vaca River for years. In 2018, in an act of protest and after its approval in the municipal plenary session -during the last mandate, the mayorship was divided between the Valencianist Francesc Serralta (2015-2017) and the socialist José Salvador Tejada (2017-2019) under an agreement of government between both formations-, Xeraco delimited this strip as its own in an action that caused the neighboring city to file a contentious administrative appeal. This new territorial delimitation is included in the modification of the General Urban Planning Plan (PGOU) of the townan order to which Gandia has also submitted allegations.

In December of last year, the National Geographic Institute endorsed Xeraco’s position, drawing a boundary line between the two municipalities that largely coincided with the City Council’s proposal -the Valencian Cartographic Institute also participated-, while the last week a judgment of the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community (TSJCV) was made public of last March that dismissed the appeal of the Gandia City Council against the agreement reached in full by its neighboring consistory to carry out a new delimitation of the land that separates both municipalities.

The Valencian High Court did not enter to assess who belongs to that strip of coast, a decision that corresponds to the Autonomous Administration, since it must be the territorial direction of Local Administration that decides who is right in this conflict after the administrative act initiated by the Town Hall of Xeraco. From the Government team of the capital of the Safor region they wanted to make it clear that the TSJCV does not enter to assess the substance of the matter -the delimitation of the municipal terms-, so that the administrative procedure continues. And they warned that Gandia is open to judicial administrative proceedings if the resolution of the Generalitat does not satisfy them -the current delimitation is based on a ruling from the 19th century and a marking document from the beginning of the 20th century that modified the previous territorial distribution- .

From the Gandia City Council they advocate “dialogue” to resolve what they consider a “fictitious” conflict, as explained by the Councilor for Playas, Vicent Mascarell, in statements to elDiario.es: “We are talking about a plot of about 150,000 square meters of dune sand whose final owner is the Demarcation of Coasts”. “For decades we have been in charge of signaling, cleaning, and surveillance of this stretch of beach, which, it is true, is linearly closer to the population center of Xeraco, but it is part of the municipality of Gandia, and we are not going to give it up”, maintains Mascarell.

The person in charge of Playas in the capital of La Safor acknowledges that it is a “hot potato” that is difficult to manage. “All positions are respectable, and perhaps they are partly right”, he says, while pointing out that the Generalitat Valenciana should be the one to determine the boundaries: “Of course, we do not want to enter into sterile controversies. It is an issue that has never been on the political agenda.” Xeraco, as stated by its current mayor, the popular Avelino Mascarell, in a statement collected by the municipal web portal, although he does not renounce his claim, he is not for the task of starting a war: “We do not want conflicts. In the current local government, we have other ways of proceeding that do not go through warfare. I offer myself to dialogue and I am at the disposal of the Gandian government”.

Mascarell explains that this section of l’Ahuir beach, located north of Gandia, is a green space, protected by the Pativel, of great environmental value, but of little economic or heritage value.