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Conservation and destruction of Galician Southern-West Coast.

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Paula C. González. Student at UPM.

This post tries to be a consideration about how humans have had modified, in this case the Earth’s Coasts and some recents modifications of Spanish Coast Laws.

I will make use of three examples; a building located in Toralla’s Island known as ‘La Torre’ and the neighborhood ‘La Fox’, both of them located in Pontevedra, as examples that show so little consideration and as a good praxis example, the good conservation of Cíes Island.

On the one hand we have ‘La Torre’ building. It was back in the 60’s when this huge ecological and urban attack which we live with nowadays was committed. This construction, like the other 30 chalets that are at its surroundings and with the consequent privatization of the Island, has limited its entry to a small number of citizens, besides turning the Island practically into an artificial platform without bearing in mind the archaelogical sites in it.

‘La Torre’ is about 70 meters of height and It has notably destroyed much of Galicia coast’s landscape as It is not in accordance with the environment that surrounds it.

Back in time, Toralla, the Island, was a Roman Villa, which like any other ancient Villa had thermal baths or different mosaics, only a few of them preserved. The entire distribution that It is supposed to have as a Roman Villa has also been lost.

Nextly, ‘La Fox’ neighborhood, built in the late 60’s, is a block of chalets built at the Mouth of the River Lagares, just above the sea, and with its common pool in the middle of the Coastline. Apart of being a huge landscape and ecological attack, It also had various legacy problems because of its location related with Coast Law. 

It was in 2015 when It was firstly intended to make some change in the neighborhood due to Galician Coast demarcation. 

It was intended to be modified as a way of bringing back the beach’s natural profile. This depends on the sediment characteristics or on the beach’s climate, and It would take a long period of time to finally achieve its profile in a balanced way.

The lack of political support makes this type of processes difficult.

These two constructions, located on the seafront are harmful due to the destruction of sand deposits tha the beach itself needs to be able to cope with different changes related to each season and can even modify the wind and consequently the beach as well.

This occurs when they exceed three floors of height, and blocks the formation of sand accumulations or even its destruction. 

About the Coast Law, is mostly common all around Spain despite the possibility of slight changes, and its final purpose is to guarantee protection for the maritime domain with a serie of established limitations. 

The most outlined norm is the prohibition of new constructions that do not meet certain characteristics. 

This Law has been modified, in Galicia, for the last time in 2013, and nowadays in 2021 the Galician politicians are requesting change. This is because there are around 350 abandoned buildings, since its construction cannot be completed.

A new question to think about. Is it more convenience to enable those almost finished buildings or readapt those spaces ?

Now you can see two images. First one is a picture of Torallas Island from the neighborhood ‘La Fox’ and on the second one we can appreciate easily ‘La Torre’ building in Toralla from Canido.

On the other hand, as an example of good biodiversity conservation we count with Cíes Ilands, highlighting as a control measure the limitation of access of people to the Island. 

Either by private boat or by public It is necessary to obtain a license granted by Galicias’ council.

However, It is true that the environment is also being deteriorated by our aggressive presence even when we try not to. An easy example may be the tons of hydrocarbons produced by boats, or the notable expansion of invasive species such as eucalyptus.

Its orography stands out for being mostly in its interior area a nice and fine accumulation of sand, whether there are dunes or beaches, and on its exterior face purely cliffs.

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