The mayors of Salou and Vila-seca play down the unfavorable report of Hard Rock
Yet another hurdle in the processing of the Urban Master Plan (PDU) that should allow the construction of the Hard Rock tourist macro-complex in Vila-seca and Salou. This week the final approval of the planning modification was scheduled, which had already had to be redone due to a 2020 ruling that overturned the previous draft. Now, an unfavorable report from the Generalitat itself, issued by the Climate Action department, casts doubt on the environmental viability of the PDU under current terms and will force it to re-introduce modifications in order to move it forward. The mayors of Vila-seca and Salou have downplayed this report and maintain that the project continues. Meanwhile, from the Aturem Hard Rock platform they have demanded that the Government park it permanently.
The Acció Climàtica report is an essential requirement to give the green light to the new PDU. However, the department considers that the modification that was initially approved last March still "does not reach the required level of environmental sustainability." The document is mainly based on three aspects; considers the level of ecological connectivity between the two existing spaces of the Xarxa Natura 2000 –Els Prats d'Albinyana and la Sèquia Major– to be insufficient, it lacks an evaluation of the environmental cost of the mobility that the complex will generate, as well as the lack of specification and planning of the compensatory environmental measures that the project will have.
Both mayors believe that the latest changes in the Government should not be a brake on the PDU
For the Aturem Hard Rock platform, this report is "absolutely devastating" and they believe that it supports the allegations that they presented together with the GEPEC regarding the new management proposal. Likewise, its spokesperson, Eloi Redón, expressed that the modifications proposed by the report “are not brushstrokes, they are substantial and based on the entire project. It's practically like stopping it." Some changes that, according to him, he warned, may suppose more years of delay, as well as dedicate more public funds.
On the contrary, both Pere Segura and Pere Granados downplayed this new obstacle, although they admitted that it would lead to another delay. Both also agreed that the latest changes in the Government of the Generalitat, with the departure of Junts, should not mean a step backwards in the processing of the master plan.
Approval in 2022
For the mayor of Salou, the unfavorable report "does not invalidate the PDU or the Hard Rock project, there will simply have to be an adaptation in terms of climate." "A very simple issue to solve," he said, while expressing his confidence that both the definitive approval of the PDU and the sale and purchase operation of the land will take place this year or at the beginning of January.
"The report does not invalidate the PDU or the Hard Rock project, it will simply have to adapt", Pere Granados (Mayor of Salou)
In this sense, Granados recalled that the modification of the PDU already has the approval of thirty more reports prepared by the rest of the departments of the Generalitat and considered that "this could have been solved with better coordination between the departments of Acció Climatica y de Territori”, instead of issuing a report unfavorable to the master plan.
Likewise, the mayor of Salou criticized the group opposed to the project and stated that “there is a lot of interest on the part of an ideological sector that is against progress and the creation of jobs. Platforms that bomb projects that generate wealth and jobs, instead of truly defending the environment of our country.
From Vila-seca, Pere Segura was calm and agreed to point out that the unfavorable report from Acció Climàtica does not knock down the project, but rather is one more part of the process that "is part of the dynamics of the processing". In this sense, he likened this document to the allegations presented by the municipalities themselves and underlined the value of the project maintaining "significant environmental sensitivity." In addition, he assured that "I have no doubt that the Government of the Generalitat and the different departments will work to refine, correct and improve those things that can be improved."
“We are playing an important project. It is not normal for us to spend ten years processing and discussing”, Pere Segura (Mayor of Vila-seca)
The interest of the investor
Regarding the interest of the Hard Rock company in the project, both mayors regretted that this new delay could put the investment at risk. "There comes a time when investors will go crazy," Segura said. «We are playing a very important project for the territory that affects the prestige and solvency of the country. It is not normal for us to spend ten years processing and discussing certain issues », he criticized.
For Granados, "at this point the investors have everything very well planned and the project is already too mature for them to back down, but it is true that there comes a point when they look for so many obstacles that they may get tired."
Beyond the contrary report from Acció Climàtica, Aturem Hard Rock advanced that a second negative report could soon be issued in relation to chemical risk, a factor that was already the trigger for the TSJCat to knock down the previous PDU two years ago.
On this subject, Eloi Redón explained that the modifications that some of the companies of the Sud petrochemical estate have carried out would imply expanding the chemical risk zone in the area of the CRT in which there may not be any type of activity. An issue that he considers would give weight to his commitment to park the project, since "Hard Rock had set a limit that the Generalitat could change whatever it wanted except buildability."
"The fact that institutions continue betting on the same model only shows that they have no vision of the future for the Camp", Eloi Redón (Aturem Hard Rock Platform)
For the platform's spokesperson, "urban planning regulations are not being used as an element of territorial planning, but to cover a specific project that the territory does not want or need." He also denounced "that ten years later, local and national institutions continue betting on exactly the same macro-tourism model, it only shows that they have no vision of the future for the Camp."
On the other hand, Redón announced that the group will continue its fight both from a judicial and social point of view, regardless of whether the modification of the PDU goes ahead or not. In this sense, he demanded that all the institutions involved definitively renounce the project: "Stopping all this nightmare is just a matter of political will."