A row is brewing between the Balearic Port Authority and Palma City Council over plans for the new “Cannes style” sea front planned for the capital. The President of the Balearic Port Authority, Francesc Triay, yesterday recommended to the city council the need for an underground access to the commercial docks for heavy goods and industrial transport to be included in the sea-front renovation plans. Triay, who would like to see location of the passenger and commercial ports swapped in order to reduce the need for heavy goods traffic to use the city centre and Paseo Maritimo. He fears that the current plans for the new look Palma, which are still in the initial phase, will restrict traffic access to the commercial docks “and a decrease in the level of merchant shipping is not forecast.” Triay said that the city council should be looking to improve access and ease traffic. The Port Authority President added “all the ports in Spain offer quick access to the motorways and to distribution points for lorries distributing merchant shipping and the port is an infrastructure of huge interest to the city.” But, in contrast to Triay's concerns, the city council does not believe that the situation is as serious as being claimed. Even if city hall did agree with Triay, it has been forced to admit that it does not have the financing to carry out such a project. But the council was quick to add that the relationship between the two institutions currently at logger heads over the new plans “is very positive.” Triay yesterday held talks with Palma's Maritime Captain, the Port Authority Council and representatives from the region's key administrations, the fishing fleet and the transport sector in order to decide on the principal problems which need to be resolved in the port of Palma. It was unanimously agreed that the port of Palma is “fundamental for the Majorcan economy” and that already, during the first two months of this year, commercial activity in the port has increased by eight per cent in comparison to last year. Triay said that the port area and facilities need to be expanded in order to allow for the dock yards to expand, more moorings and quays to be built and to also allow room for more nautical events. Palma's boat yards are running at maximum capacity throughout the year and there are over 50 vessels desperate to get up on to the hard ahead of the charter season starting. Triay knows that demand is huge and does not want to see the port of Palma losing business to other boat yards either on Spain's Mediterranean coast of elsewhere in the Med. Last year the passenger port won a special prize at the Miami Cruise Convention for all vast improvement in facilities and services for the cruise industry, but the nautical industry as a whole needs greater support. There is a general feeling in the local yachting industry that its huge investment of money into the local economy goes ignored - concerns that were aired by the Association of Marinas in Palma earlier this year. Triay hopes that all these issues and concerns will be aired and discussed in good time so that solutions can be included in the final draft of the project to remodel the Port of Palma. Sinking a tunnel from the commercial docks to the motorway however, is an ambitious project which will not only cost money, but also take a long time to complete and cause traffic chaos for Palma during construction.

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