Andrés Pereira Rodríguez
The requalification allows changing the use of certain land to provide a new value to it. When the Spanish economy was based in the housing construction, this tool of urban planning allowed the destruction of fundamental environmental areas.
Throughout the Mediterranean we can find abundance of megalomaniacal projects, many of them have represented losses of important ecological spaces or a deterioration of the coastline of our coasts.
In this document we will discuss the PLETERA project carried out in the Aiguamolls del Baix Empordà, with the main objective of a complete and definitive restoration of the coastal lagoon system of the Pletera, which is currently altered as a result of the partial urbanization of space.
DESCRIPTION OF THE AREA
The Baix de Ter plain is located in the Baix Empordá region of Girona, in the heart of the Costa Brava. The plain belongs to the municipalities of Torroella de Montgrí (65.61 km2) and Pals (25.81 km2). It is important to highlight that around 50% of it corresponds to the protected area of the Illes Medes, the Aiguamolls del Baix Ter and the Montgrí. They are part of the Special Plan of Natural Interest of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Natura 2000 Network of the European Union.
In the areas closest to the sea, you can see small wetlands, which creates an exceptional ecological space. Among these wetlands it is essential to highlight those of the Ter Vell, the lagoon of Frare Ramon, in the area of the Pletera (study area), and the Basses d’en Coll.
The main problem of the ecosystem is the important urban pressure. Pals and Torroella de Montgrí have jurisprudence on the longest beach on the Costa Brava. If we also consider the submarine importance represented by the Illes Medes, the area acquires a great value to build luxury holliday developments.
The development of the wetlands around the Ter was approved in the Urban Plan of the L’Estartit in 1983, with the aim of turning it into a tourist attraction at the level of Platja D`Aro.
In 1986 the construction of the project begins. The urbanization would have about 150 single-family homes on the beachfront, covering the entire wetland, and the various accesses and a promenade. The first step was the complete drying of the wetlands, to later be filled with debris and level the irregular terrain.
Meanwhile the construction of the Pleteras developent, in 1985 the Generalitat of Catalonia approves the law of Natural Spaces, followed by the subsequent Decree of the Plan of Spaces of Natural Interest (1992). After two years from the beginning of construction, the project was paralyzed in August 1988. This caused a judicial process between the construction company and the town hall.
The situation was finally determined in March 1998, because the General Directorate of Coasts redefines what must be the terrestrial public delimitation with the cost law 22/1988 of July 28. Previously, only beaches were considered as public space, now also includes all those areas that are flooded when sea level rises. In this way, the Pletera is declared a non-developable space. The ecological importance of Aiguamolls del Baix Empordà is confirmed when in 2008 the space is incorporated into the Natura 2000 Network.
Although it had been included in this set of protected areas, the wetlands were still completely destroyed due to the first stages of the construction. With the eagerness to recover this important environment, the Life Pletera project begins. This began thanks to the popular mobilization.
LIFE PLETEREA, A PIONEER RECOVERY PROJECT
The process began in the early 90’s, when Xavier Quintana, director and precursor of the project, was hired by the City Council of Torroella de Montgrí. The consistory wanted to know the problems they would have to face in order to recover the Aiguamolls del Baix Empordà and the most appropriate procedure to achieve this goal.
Based on these issues, the Life Pletera Project was defined in 1999. Currently, it has managed to raise more than 2.5 million euros, of which 75% comes from the European Union, and the rest from other Catalan institutions.
The project has several objectives, although the fundamental one is the integral restoration of the wetlands, in order to recover the ecological functionality. Due to the presence of the partial urbanization of the original housing project, its capacities are reduced. It is not intended to reproduce the aspect of the environment of the 1950s, but rather to be able to fulfill the same function as in previous years. In addition, the project includes that the system is capable of self-regulating and adapting to the forecasts of climate change (sea level rise and the greater frequency of intense disturbances). The actions planned to achieve this objective include the de-urbanization of the existing promenade and its adjacent spaces and subsequently, recovering the old wetland and its ecological functionality as a coastal system.
On many occasions, private interests are placed before social and environmental needs. The viability Pletera life has become a pioneering and demonstrative project of the human being’s ability to recover important ecological areas.
To sum up, using the tools provided by planning and land management in an adequate manner, we could achieve the balance between economic development and the environment.
Benedicto, Irene AIGUAMOLLS DEL TER: La recalificación urbanística que recuperó un espacio natural único (2017) http://www.publico.es/sociedad/aiguamolls-ter-recalificacion-urbanistica-recupero-espacio-natural-unico.html
Cosculluela, Ferran DECONSTRUCCIÓN EN LA COSTA (2015) http://www.elperiodico.com/es/medio-ambiente/20150407/deconstruccion-en-la-costa-4080592
PROYECT LIFE EMYSFERE: Proyecto europeo de recuperación del hábitat de los anfibios y emys orbicularis en el baix ter https://www.lifeemyster.com/cas/projecte.php
RECUPERACIÓN DEL HÁBITAT DE ANFIBIOS Y EMYS ORBICULARIS EN EL BAIX TER https://www.lifeemyster.com/cat/informes/Informe%20divulgativo.pdf
PROYECT PLETERA http://lifepletera.com/es/life-pletera/
Quintana, Xavier; Gesti, Josep y Badosa, Anna INFORME FINAL DE ACTIVIDA https://www.lifeemyster.com/cat/docs-99-03/7-Informe-final.pdf