San Antonio’s Ferry Dilemma

San Antonio’s Ferry Terminal

The debate over the return of passenger and cargo ferries to the port of San Antonio shows no sign of letting up with the topic splitting the local community while politicians get hot under the collar.

The passenger terminal was closed by the previous San Antonio council in February 2019 for environmental reasons although the closure caused a political stir as the mayor at the time was also the president of Es Nautic yacht club who were seen as the main beneficiary of the decision.

The existing ban on ferries ends in little over 3 weeks, on 31 December, and the current incumbents of San Antonio town hall have indicated that they wish it to reopen the route although it’s a decision that comes from central authorities in Mallorca so for now it’s all about lobbying and arguing the case for and against.

In October the sitting coalition council had a rare split in its ranks when PxE voted with the PSOE/Podemos opposition to try and block the return of passenger/cargo ferries to San Antonio. Yesterday the same 3 political parties held a press conference to reiterate their position, once again citing environmental issues and saying the return of polluting ferries to a picturesque port would fly in the face of the strategic plan for the town.

The ferry companies haven’t done themselves any favours in the past using the beautiful port as a racetrack, speeding in and out like a raging bull knocking everything out the way then unloading its cargo to congest the roads. The footfall is open to debate too so many believe that ferries are of little or no benefit to the town especially when there is a custom made port only 10 miles away in Ibiza town.

Ibiza Town Mayor Rafa Ruiz has also waded into the debate saying he is in favour of a return while Sant Josep’s Mayor has said he is against. It seems everyone has an opinion but not many are aligning.

Others say that a port brings much needed business to the area and is only open 6 months a year so something is better than nothing. Even Mayor Marcos Serra is conflicted on the subject holding public meetings to get a feeling from the town, hoping that a consensual decision can be made by the local population rather than putting his head above the parapet and risking the ire of a substantial block of voters.

The decision from Mallorca will soon be made but the debate rumbles on in the island’s press, in local bars and coffee shops and in many ways has been a welcome distraction but for now San Antonio’s striking glass passenger terminal stands alone and empty, a white elephant, a beacon of the town’s ambition but also a shining example of it’s divisions.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

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