The residents of Puerto de la Cruz who live in the surroundings of the iders building, located a few meters from the coast of this tourist town in Tenerife, can’t take it anymore: they have been dealing with an infrastructure in ruins for 31 years, a building that has become the focus of fires, insecurity, garbage, rats, cockroaches and the scene of fights between squatters and drug addicts. For this reason, already tired of three decades of judicial and bureaucratic comings and goings, they have called a peaceful rally in front of the building this Tuesday, June 28, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., as a protest against the inaction on which they describe as “ the shame of the Port”.
Residents of Puerto de La Cruz denounce an abandoned building and shelter for homeless people as a potential source of contagion
The municipality continues to be a point of reference for tourists arriving in the north of Tenerife, an enclave that was a pioneer in the development of this industry in the Canary Islands, famous for its views of Mount Teide, its saltwater pools, its hotels, its beaches , the Parrot Park. Thousands of visitors receive Puerto de la Cruz each year and witness the decline of this mass of 10 floors.
“We need to take action on the matter now, for someone to hit the table and do something at once. We can’t take this situation anymore,” Eduardo Luis, president of the community of owners of the Iberia building, adjacent to the Iders, and spokesperson for the presidents of affected communities, businessmen and hoteliers, told Canarias Now.
The property, located in the central Avenida Familia de Betancourt y Molina, about 150 meters from the famous Lago Martiánez pools, was evicted in 1991 due to aluminosis. Two years later, a mayoral resolution called for the walling up of its ground floor, something that ultimately did not happen, so the building has since become a shelter for the homeless and a veritable dump. Thus, the years passed between resolutions and requests for reports by the owners and the City Council, but little was done, so the Iders, made up of 84 homes and commercial premises, fell into a state of ruin.
In 2001, the General Directorate of Housing of the Government of the Canary Islands gave its consent so that, finally, the necessary works could be carried out so that the property complied with the law and was habitable, but that first impulse by a public administration was stopped in 2004, when the building was declared in technical, urban and economic ruin. In addition, the licensing process was suspended.
The owners, without unanimous
In 2005, a meeting of owners was held in which it was agreed to rehabilitate the building again, thanks to a resolution of the City Council, then in the hands of the nationalist Marcos Brito, in which it was established that either a complete rehabilitation of the property or the building was demolished.
The town hall ultimatum led to registering an urban license for major works for the execution of works in the Iders. This new drive to change the direction of the building was frustrated in 2007, when a ruling by Section number 4 of the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife ruled that the agreement of the community of owners was null and void as it was not taken unanimously but by most.
The lack of agreement between the owners led in 2012 to another sentence, this time from the Court of first instance and instruction number 3 of Puerto de la Cruz, in which the extinction of the community was agreed.
With the arrival of Lope Afonso (Popular Party) to the mayor’s office, the search for a solution for the increasingly decadent Iders is resumed. In 2015, it was proposed to add the building to the Modernization and Improvement Plan, which was published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands (BOC), although little could be done: the signature of the property’s owners was not obtained.
Three years later, the City Council again tries to bring the owners together to find a solution, hoping to achieve it within a year. The first step was to have the owners sign an agreement with the Rehabilitation Consortium and define commitments on the plot. Neither did anything. Only a month after that, the neighbors of the adjoining houses filed a complaint about the possible fall of the building’s shoring structures.
Without coming to fruition 28 years later, in 2019 the Municipal Budget of Puerto de la Cruz was approved, which included an item of 100,000 euros to start the urban planning infraction file due to the non-existence by court order of the community of neighbors, defunct since 2012.
Just before the pandemic, the City Council had requested a report from Public Health on the state of health of the Iders and the adjacent land, a request that allowed them access for cleaning and disinfection.
The pandemic gave the building a new turn: it became a true refuge for squatters. “Homeless people have always been seen there, but now the number has increased. They live in increasingly unfortunate conditions”, the neighbors highlighted at the time.
After 31 years of abandonment, now the residents of the surroundings of the Iders are taking action, organizing a series of actions, including the calling of a concentration or the composition of a musical theme: “In the face of silence, music, alleviating this mistake, because the Iders building is the shame of the Port”, they sing indignantly. Meanwhile, the tourist who walks along the central avenue is amazed at the ruin of the site “two steps” from one of the most impressive legacies of the Canarian artist César Manrique: Lake Martiánez.