Some might think that this has been a long time in the planning. First there was the replacement of the distinctive red Cepsa petrol station hoardings with the yellow and blue of Disa. Then there were the reports of “unacceptable levels” of pollution from the refinery. Then the refinery was closed “temporarily”, on at least two occasions, for economic reasons …
And now Santa Cruz Ayuntamiento’s urbanism councillor will meet next week with architects to discuss how to utilise the site in the future. One of the plans is to turn it into a leisure mountain leading to a beach-marina, and including a dedicated home for the Santa Cruz carnaval events. This is just the first of presumably several projects which will aim to develop the site and which the council will be considering over the next few weeks.
Workers had been saying for some time that the refinery was being allowed to die quietly, with no formal announcement being made. Perhaps it is time to say out loud that the refinery is going. There really seems no other conclusion to draw. One wonders of course, where the money will come from to develop a leisure mountain and beach-marina, but presumably private finance will play a part, and no doubt there will be quite a windfall for some lucky land owners and developers.
Others will be pleased too, though. Environmentalists have been saying for a long time that it is a disgrace to have such polluting and explosive substances so close to a built-up city, and that the dangers were multiple and manifest. Whether its departure would have any effect on fuel prices here in the Canaries is pure speculation, of course, but Cepsa were at pains to say that the temporary stoppages would not affect the market because of reserves at the refinery. If these ran out, the company insisted, extra could be brought in from Huelva and Cádiz. What happens, however, when reserves are used up and no more can be created because the refinery no longer exists?