Interview with Vicente Arques

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The Mayor of Alfaz del Pi

mayor of Alfaz del pi

Mayor of Alfaz del Pi
Name: Vicente Arques Cortés Born: 10.01. 1971
Family: Wife and two children Residence: Alfaz del Pi

We know that people with great responsibilities are very busy, have tightly packed agendas, and one needs to be prepared to wait to see them. Surprisingly, this was not the case. The Mayor arrived only very slightly late from his previous meeting, and we started our scheduled interview straight away.

How is the day to day of a mayor?

The day to day of a Mayor is agenda, is public activities and events. Yesterday we gave out prizes, councillors went to events like the Rotary, and then there are days of solely office work. Today we have office work all day, and tomorrow we have an activities day; we’ll visit a construction worksite, hold a press conference about Alfaz del Pi, Film Festival, etc. We alternate external activities with office work.

What is the biggest challenge you face as Mayor?

Well, the Mayor is a person who represents 200 municipal workers and 20,000 residents. Although I have a lot of decision-making ability, decisions are not mine alone. Normally all challenges are scheduled. Challenges such as improving infrastructure, ensuring there are no problems in the municipality with citizen security, having an integrating municipality. These are very broad issues that require ample work.

It’s not hard to imagine that getting things done the correct way, and having enough support for every single matter, can’t always be an easy task.

I guess most of us have heard people talking about being a victim of crime, or know somebody that has, so how is the situation like in Alfaz. Because basic safety is something we all want.

How safe is it to live in Alfaz del Pi?

It’s very safe. The numbers of accidents and robberies are low. It is true that it is an attractive municipality for criminal activities, but the safety issue in principle is very good, this municipality is very quiet, but you should never let your guard down.

Although Alfaz is probably one of the safest places to live, we realise that nowadays, no place anywhere is 100% “crime proof”. So we must use common sense and not take unnecessary risks. But still, what if?

What can I do if I see or am a victim of a crime?

In Spain, there are four police corps. If you suffer a robbery, first you have to go to the Local Alfaz Police, and then you go to the Guardia Civil, which is the body that investigates thefts. The Guardia Civil deals with crimes, traffic, and other matters. The National Police deals with security issues and the Local Police act only within the municipality. Then there is a Regional Police but it acts in Valencia, and it covers acts within the community.
In Alfaz, we have Local Police and Guardia Civil, the National Police is in Benidorm.

This is how to report a crime

The simplest thing is to contact the Policía Nacional in Benidorm, directly. In our section: Municipal Information, under Reporting a crime, you will find how to do it.
There you will find the correct link to book an appointment with a Policía Nacional agent.

If you don’t speak Spanish, take someone with you who does. You may need to explain clearly certain important details, and it’s better to use Spanish to avoid misunderstandings.

What is the best reason for foreigners to move to Alfas?

Some Norwegian residents say Alfaz reminds them of their beaches, due to the closeness to the mountains, as in their country. Evidently, they come to Alfaz, or to the Costa Blanca because here we enjoy three thousand hours of sun, and 320 days a year without rain. Alfas have been welcoming residents for 50 years.

All the institutions, the schools, the different countries got their own clubs, churches, have been settled in Alfaz del Pi, for a very long time. Therefore a European resident will not have problems with language, food, services, real estate companies, or banks. If you move to a municipality inland, Valencia you may have more difficulties than here. Here, there is the sun, there is light, there are beaches, there are mountains, there are services, and it is a good place to live. It has one of the best climates in the world.

Yes, we just have to agree that most things are very well arranged for us to feel welcome here.
But what about those that are not in any of these communities, regardless of cause.

Those residents who are not part of a club or association are not aware of the cultural activities that are in the municipality, and think there is not much to participate in?

The Alicante theatre does not send me the information, if I want to go to the theatre, I look for the information myself. There are activities for residents, and there are few who do not have a connection to music society, friends of classical music, Nordic walking, and Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch clubs. It is difficult not to have access to the municipality’s activities information, but if they do not have it, evidently because they do not look for it. Because if you search Alfaz, you have the information online and there are various newspapers.

There are general activities that we do for everyone, for example, the international day of Alfaz, it is through associations and countries, but the visiting and participation is open. Like on the Patron Saint-day festivities of Alfas, Norway’s day, or Romania’s day. There are many open activities where you can participate. Even if you are not a member of the Romanian or Norwegian club, you can participate in the Romanian or Norwegian day. Therefore, few people will be left without a connection to any activity.

Show initiative

The Mayor is of course right. It is everyone’s own responsibility to keep updated. Nobody goes knocking on your door “back home” either. Knowing your way around, and speaking the language helps a lot, of course

That’s one of the multiple very good reasons, as to why you should regularly use Not only are we informing you in different languages, of all local official events, but we also give you the precise directions to get to them. We simplify things for you!

Many foreigners say that they would like to be more involved in Spanish culture, see different places and live more within Spanish society. What is your response?

That is the theory because if I want to get involved I do not wait for anyone to come and look for me, I’ll get involved. If you do not receive information, you search for it. It is rare that someone does not have access to the Frax Foundation, the sculptures, the concerts, concerts on the beach, films in the original version at the Roma cinema, films at the film festival, it is rare if they do not have ties with associations.

So, get the most of this glorious place we live in, and involve yourself. Using TheCostaBlancaGuide will be a very good start if you speak Spanish, but especially if you do not. 

Here you will as a start, so far, find all the official events for Alfaz del Pi, Altea, Calpe, La Nucia and Villajoyosa. And already some private events as well.

Every month more municipality info, more private events, more of everything will be added. Don’t be left out from either to find interesting local info nor to have your business or services found by potential clients.

Are there public places where residents and tourists can go to spend their time in a social way, or a meeting point?

The house of culture, social centres, the sports centre, a meeting point that is working very well is the petanque. It is working very well with residents of other nationalities. The retirement club of Albir has 45 nationalities and there are many people who spend their summer here. They come to take advantage of introducing themselves. There are French who come two summer months alone and take advantage of the retirement club of Albir to enter the society of Albir and participate in the festivities. And sports, music and culture are easy lines to enter. In sports, children do it perfectly; There is a soccer team with six or seven nationalities. It is very easy to see.

How can the bureaucracy information be simplified?

It is true that bureaucracy is perhaps the biggest problem residents have. In fact, we are living it with the census. They do not understand it, because it is difficult to understand, as the system is complicated. How do we help? Well, from the moment we have a resident’s councillor, we are already thinking about them first. It is also true that all administrations, give talks in English. Suma gives talks in English, for tax issues. The health centre gives talks with doctors in English.

All administrations have interpreters because there is a very high percentage of the foreign population. The tax talk is in English, but if you do not understand taxes, is difficult. But bureaucracy is difficult, for you in Spain and for me in Norway, no doubt. If for me it is already difficult, I imagine it’s harder with language problems, dealing with other ways, different banks, and a different system of working. It is difficult. That’s why the resident’s council has monthly meetings with the collectives, to explain to them such things as There is a garbage tax. There is a cleaning campaign.

Get knowledge

It is a problem because it’s rather complex, and that is precisely why you should regularly use TheCostaBlancaGuide. Get the info, knowledge, guidance, get directions – have fewer worries.

Use our section on Municipal Information, which has the basic information and guidance regarding most of the commonly needed documentation you require, if you live in Costa Blanca.

In order to give you as correct guidelines as possible, our information will be revised four times a year by a highly respected and well qualified Gestor.

Is there a specific topic on which you will emphasise for the residents to be informed?

Yes indeed, it is the “Padrón“. To everyone who is registered in Alfas del Pi, we send a brochure where we explain the facilities and resources we have. We have done it bilingual, and it has all the phones, generic information, facilities etc. This is forwarded to all the people who come to live in Alfas del Pi. And sometimes we give a video, in English, Norwegian, Spanish and Valencian. It’s a six-minute explanation about the resources that Alfas del Pi has.

The problem we have, as you already know, is that we have registered 20,000 people. But in fact, 30,000 live here. So we have 10,000 people who live here but they do not appear on the census. For that reason, we have made a very powerful voter registration campaign. That is a campaign of informative reception of the municipality. If you call this phone number every day you have the news of the municipality, it is very simple.

If you are not registered in the Padrón, or you’re not sure, please do yourself and everybody around you a big favour, read our information on this, NOW. 
It is your duty, it is free, it will not complicate your life, but may save it!


Why is it important to register, can it be said that being registered can save your life?

Well, they will attend to you equally. But it will improve the quality of life because we are losing services for 10,000 people. The problem is that there are 40 police officers for 20,000 people. If we are 30,000 we should have 60 police officers. We are always below in everything. In police, in cleaning service, in doctors, in ambulances etc. It is not a matter of money, the one who owns his/her house here pays his/her taxes, but if they are not registered in the census. We cannot benefit from the correct number of police, doctors, nurses, etc. Here is an example: for the health centre of Albir, to be open in the afternoon, we need to have 5.000 medical cards SIP (one per person). Unfortunately, although 15.000 people live here, only 3.000 are registered in the census. This is a challenge for me as a Mayor.

Padron is very important

We would like to stress the importance of being registered in the Padrón. Actually, one day in an extreme case, having been registered, could save yours, or someone’s life, since it has the correct number of registered residents it’s crucial to have the right number of doctors, nurses, clinic, ambulances, firemen. This means that NOT having the correct number, could put lives at risk, due to insufficient life-saving services. Therefore, it’s your civil and moral duty to be registered and counted.

When you or anyone else, does not carry out this very important but simple, and totally free task of being registered in the Padrón, it has negative consequences results on your municipality; which will be receiving fewer funds for crucial services like ambulance, police, doctors etc

Therefore, if you are not 100% sure that you are or aren’t registered in the Padron, or you know somebody who is not, please go to our Municipal Information and get the advice you need there.

There are people who believe that they can lose their rights in their country. And that is why they do not do it.

It is not true; it is a matter of “staying”. Some stay more than six months and are residents, others stay three months, they return a week later, they come back for 5 months. They go back home for 15 days, they are tourists or not continuous residents and then they think: Why I am going to complicate my life, go to register and that a new tax appears? There are no new taxes because if you already have a house you will pay for a house, refuse collection, electricity, water, gas, whatever you pay, there is no new tax for the census registered.

The Padron records the number of inhabitants; it has nothing to do with Hacienda (Inland revenue), absolutely nothing. People think that the Padron is connected to hacienda but it is not. The Padron is needed by the municipality, to know how many people live here. Being registered in the Padron is personally and collectively beneficial.

The Padron will not affect you at all, in a bad way. It’s something that can only be positive. So please, go and get yourself registered.

Would the Mayor like to add something else?

Well, we have a council of residents, we have many activities, and we are an exemplary municipality in the integration of other nationalities that take advantage of a lot of activities. There are many initiatives, participation lines, associations, activities, parties, sports, culture, music, there are many ways to participate in Alfaz. The more that participate, the more ability to feel Alfazino, more ability to register, more will register in the Padron. Which is better for everyone, and would bring more resources for all. Do not be afraid to participate.

We encourage everyone to go through the information we have provided. Use the council to get guidance from, and altogether get more involved.

The Costa Blanca Guide’s goal is to help people who have something to do with the Costa Blanca. To make them feel more secure, and feel safer, in order to have an easier life, do more, see more and explore more; basically, to help them improve their quality of life.

After having had a closer look into our portal, do you think that we have succeeded?

In all honesty, I have to say that I am very pleased with your initiative. 
I can clearly see this portal as something very beneficial for a lot of people. 
The Costa Blanca Guide will be very useful to many residents and tourists. 
One can clearly see that a lot of work has been put into creating this portal. 
I wish you all, the best with your project.

mayor of alfaz del pi

We’d like to use this opportunity to encourage you to use our search facility, for all kind of businesses and services you need. Always with directions on how to get there. More info is being added every day. This is just the beginning. 

If you can not find what you are looking for, please let us know and we will try our best to help you.

We wish to express our gratitude to the Mayor,  Mister Vicente Arques, Mayor of L’Alfas del Pi, for his kindness in finding time for us, in his busy schedule, and for allowing us to conduct this interview.

TheCostaBlancaGuide wishes everyone a very enjoyable, and safe summer

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