Business owners and residents of Palma’s emblematic Paseo del Borne fear that the city’s plans to close its café terraces early next year could lead to its deterioration.
The Paseo del Borne, which is commonly known as the ‘golden mile’ of Palma de Mallorca, has turned into a point of reference for millions of visitors over the past few years. On the one hand, this is due to the lively ambience of the area; on the other, it’s become one of the best places to enjoy a Mediterranean coffee here. On the Borne you can enjoy the little pleasures of life. So what would you say if I told you that this movie-like background may disappear?
Many tourists and a large number of Palma residents, who previously came to this part of the city in order to relax outside and enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere, would have to change their plans. It seems that the town hall is considering closing the terraces of the bars and restaurants which belong to one of the most emblematic areas of Palma.
The bars and restaurants lining the smart boulevard would soon notice a decrease in their revenue, employees could lose their jobs, and it would most likely also have a negative impact on the various shops and businesses. Sebastián Flexas, the second manager of the cafetería Born 8, regrets that the authorities intend to close down the terraces of one of the most visited neighbourhoods of the city, where residents, tourists and also many travellers from the cruise ships flock to. “This step would cause us serious damage, as the Borne has become much livelier over the past few years and, if you make the terraces disappear, it will become what it was before: A dirty street with many homeless people.”
Onofre Flexas, the manager of the Bar Bosch, completes this statement saying that “not only the tourists and residents would be robbed of a ‘plus’ but also jobs would be lost because 60% of the income derives from the terraces.”
To my surprise I bump into a group of neighbours, just a few metres away from the Born 8, who explain to me that they simply do not understand what they call a “drastic plan”. They assure me that all residents of the area are in favour of the terraces and argue that they improve the image of this part of the city and also bring commercial and economic advantages to the neighbourhood.”
Regardless, it seems that the city council has not discarded the closing down of the terraces yet because their objective is that “the citizens of Palma may walk quietly and undisturbed down the Borne and that the space might be regained for cultural events”. However, as Liberto Torres, one of the traders on the Born, points out, this would be “totally compatible”. “There are not that many terraces anyway, the whole area is basically pedestrianised and if there are cultural events taking place like, for example, the procession for The Three Kings or the concerts for Sebastián, the terraces are pulled back anyway,” explains the ‘estanco’ owner.
The managers of two of the most prestigious establishments on the Paseo agree with him and add that “tourism is what feeds us” and this project would have severe consequences on both luxurious enterprises. Tolo Torres, a taxi driver who has been working in the area for over 20 years, is also against the proposition. “I don´t see a problem with the terraces. The Borne is the least conflictive part of the city and it should stay like that,” he says.
During my research on the subject I come across more and more people who support the terraces, contact the media regarding the matter, and add their signatures to an Internet petition against the closure.
We can only hope that the city council and the corresponding departments of the government will take notice of the wishes of the residents and business owners of that neighbourhood . . .
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