There is a certain attraction to living in a municipality where big things are happening.
A new park, new roads to cut down the time spent in traffic jams in tricky corners, new sports centres, for example. However, I would argue that it is the small and often mundane things which make the difference in our daily lives.
As an opposition councillor in the beautiful municipality of Mijas, I get to look at things objectively and not just through rose tinted spectacles. Of course, if you are in government you kind of have an obligation to see everything you do in a good light and to minimise the complaints of neighbours as people being over picky or diehard complainers.
I don’t get to be involved in the big projects but often have to deal with the fallout of some of these. Whether it be the mess, noise, or inconvenience of a new building project that is going to disturb your peaceful way of life for the next 3 years, not to mention the constant cleaning of dust from every household orifice; having the entrance to your urbanisation blocked and creating long diversions to get to a nearby place. I go. I see. I sympathise. But, rarely can I find a solution. Sometimes, there is a small compromise that can be reached such as the builders clearing the piles of soil from the main roads and watering the dusty landscape to reduce the mud layer rapidly forming in your swimming pool. But, more than that is difficult.
What I do see a lot are areas of neglect that create a feeling of no one caring about the area you live in and for which you pay your taxes. Poor rubbish collection service which leaves dirty, smelly bins cooking in the hot summer. Streets with small forests growing in the cracks between the road and the pavements which no one seems to be responsible for. Empty plots which are have been left to mother nature with the possibility of all sorts of wildlife hidden in the undergrowthand the constant summer threat of someone setting it on fire.
We see former big and popular projects being allowed to fall into disrepair through lack of maintenance and no amount of complaints seem to change the minds of those who hold the purse strings. They always seem to have bigger things on their mind. We see no interest in dangerous walkways heading to popular beaches but the quarter of a million Euros on three statues was so easily spent, not to mention the 6 million Euros on concerts over the next 5 years. It is sad that vanity projects seem to be a bigger driver than getting the small things right.
I see myself as the councillor of the small things, not by choice, but by the random blowing of the wind that put us into opposition. I don’t mind this at all. This is exactly where you get to meet people on their territory, listen to their concerns and focus on what really makes the difference to the quality of life on a day to day basis. Maybe, if the winds change at the next elections, I will have learned something valuable.
Ayuntamiento de Mijas