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"This isn't Manhattan!": protests about Bilbao's artificial island

  • On Monday Bilbao City Council (Bizkaia, Basque Country) opened what it has called "Zorrotzaurre Island". At the act local people expressed their disagreement with the project.

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(Photo: Uriola.eus)

On Monday mayor Juan Mari Aburto and several councillors met at Frank Gehry bridge. Workers opened Deustu canal. They have removed 365,000 cubic metres of water from the canal, linking it with the river Nerbioi and, so, making what had always been a peninsula into an island.

Local people have protested against what Aburto called a "historical year". “This isn't Manhattan!” and "No more sharks!" were some of their slogans against the Zorrotzaurre project.

The mayor got together with locals before the act, and they told him about the numerous problems in connection with access, services and security. They had been waiting for a plan to solve these problems; once it was ready, they realised that it did not take local people into account.

The Bilboko Uriola video shows the moment in which the mayor goes up to the locals:

The basis for the Zorrotzaurre project

The Zorrotzaurre project has been presented as an "integrated, long-lasting plan for regaining an area which is currently degraded." It includes the 840,000 square metre island which, according to the previsions, will provide "easily obtainable housing", "non-polluting companies", "numerous social and cultural facilities" and "open spaces" for leisure.

Based on the 1995 Bilbao General Town Plan, the project, which it is believed will cost 250 million Euros, was passed seven years ago.

 

This article was translated by 11itzulpen; you can see the original in Basque here.

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