Sunday, March 11, 2007

Why have a committee?

A number of people have asked me "why do you have a residents' committee at Villas Andrea?"

Apartment blocks and developments with communal facilities e.g. a shared pool are obliged by law to set up residents' committees. These are registered with the local Ayuntamiento and follow strict guidelines regarding the composition, financing, auditing, reporting etc.

Our committee has no legal standing and is therefore not subject to these forms of strict control. In essence it is a social committee organising events for the benefit of the residents. Initially, it also provided an essential point of contact between the town and the urbanisation. We now have an Information Board, mail drops and a car which broadcasts news of events in the town. The channels of communication are therefore now much improved.

There are people though who want to see the Residents' Committee extend beyond it's remit to organise socials. This is when we start to tread on dangerous ground. Since the Committee has no legal basis it cannot purport to represent the views of the residents to the Ayuntamiento. There are clear and adequate mechanisms for individuals to voice their opinions and raise issues that concern them. These are available to all citizens in the town.

The truth is that Bigastro provides a lot for only a fraction of the taxes that we used to pay in the UK. We are made to feel extremely welcome by the majority of local people. Trying to assert ourselves collectively can only serve to damage the process of integration into the Spanish community which we have joined.

1 comment:

Pete said...

Wise words Keith, and I doff my cap once again to your sagacity on this one.

As you might remember, I've been involved with the local residents association for seven years, with four being as chairman.

Without a proper constitution it IS difficult to represent the views of many. Speaking collectively is always a huge responsibility, and not everyone handles it well.

If you've got a single big issue, then combining as a corporate political entity can help to get things done. If you're dealing with day to day issues however then it is, exactly as you've said, easier to deal directly with the council or local administrative association an individual.

If you're handling funds then things get even MORE complicated! Buying benches is popular because it's easy and it's sustainable. Bins are popular as well, but only if you've a litter problem.

Now a far more interesting purchase would be a low power radio transmitter for the community radio station. Then you could blog to every household in a radio journalistic fashion!

Seriously though, I think you're both doing a great job at embracing the local community and customs, and more emigrants should follow your example!