Local elections are scheduled for May. In preparation for them, political parties will be drawing up manifestos designed to attract voters.
I have the greatest admiration for the achievements of our current Town Council who have worked hard to improve the town for its citizens. They will surely get my vote in May.
Many of the latest projects of the current administration have been aimed at making Bigastro attractive to visitors. In a conversation Pam and I had with the Mayor, she expressed a wish to develop the town as a tourist destination. I therefore assume that tourism will feature as part of the Partido Populares manifesto for the upcoming election.
I understand that it is difficult to achieve a balance between preserving the traditional nature of the town with the 21st Century needs of the people because the two aims are not necessarily compatible.
However, in my experience, towns that are attractive to tourists manage to combine modern facilities with places of historic interest.
There are, in my opinion, several issues that Bigastro could perhaps address to move it forward make it more attractive to both locals and visitors alike.
1. The main shopping street currently has at least 12 vacant premises. My impression is that, in the eighteen years I have lived here, there has been a steady decline. I do feel that the commercial hub is now in need of urgent regeneration.
2. As far as I can tell, there are no places of historic interest nor any places that celebrate the culture of the town. As an example, nearby Rojales has several museums such as the Museo de la Huerta to attract visitors. I believe that Bigastro would benefit from something similar.
3. Although there are plenty of bars, most of which sell food, there are few places that could be regarded as restaurants celebrating local produce and serving traditional local dishes.
4. Parts of the town are run down and untidy. For example, the billboards at the top of the Plaza de la Constitucion are an eyesore. The town squares in e.g. Benejuzar and even Jacarilla are more attractive and perhaps set an example for Bigastro to follow.
5. Facilities that have been developed need to be maintained. As an example, I notice that some of the information boards for the Ruta Alquibla are now in a state of disrepair. Whilst it is important to develop new projects, it is also necessary to consolidate existing ones.