Valldemossa town hall is set to take over the running of the Costa Nord finca. It has started the process for doing so, having yesterday called a special meeting of the council to consider the proposal from the regional government that it cedes the finca to the town hall free of charge.
The Balearic Tourism Agency is the government department involved in the planned transfer. Its director general Pere Muñoz points out that the government is willing to make this transfer under the principle of subsidiarity between administrations.
The agency has in fact been looking after Costa Nord and paying for its maintenance since the end of 2014. The company which had been given the award to manage it - Bahía Norte (essentially a restaurant business) - pulled out two years after having won the tender, saying that it was impossible to make Costa Nord profitable.
Despite reducing the annual amount to be paid by a managing company, the government failed to attract interest, and so the way has been cleared for the town hall to take it over without paying anything and for an indefinite period. Muñoz says that the town hall has been showing a lot of initiative in terms of tourism management and that this has been taken into account.
There are certain issues which will need resolving before any transfer is definitively made, such as rectifying some dampness, but the town hall believes that it could more or less start immediately and considers that the management will be very positive for Valldemossa. Activities at Costa Nord should represent a decent source of income for the town hall.
Costa Nord has been the subject of controversy. The payment of 4.4 million euros to Michael Douglas by the Jaume Matas government in 2003 was later investigated within the framework of the "caso Ibatur" (this was the agency which preceded the current tourism agency). Douglas agreed to the use of his image for promotional purposes and to attending certain events in return for the payment. This ended when Costa Nord went under private control in 2012, a move that proved to be unsuccessful, which is why the town hall now looks destined to be running it.
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