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Jameos Del Agua Renovations Grind To Halt

Wednesday February 6, 2013

Jameos Del Agua Renovations Grind To Halt

The underground auditorium used for musical concerts at the Jameos del Agua continues to remain closed after eleven years of renovations, which in fact have resulted in very little work being carried out at all.

The last concert that took place in this acoustically perfect performance space was in 2001. It would also have formed one of the locations for a concert in the Canarian Music Festival in January 2002 except that a routine inspection revealed some small fragments of rock had fallen from the ceiling onto the stage. The concert was moved to a hotel in Costa Teguise and the auditorium was closed until it could be established that it was a safe space in which to hold further events.

But what began as a small Health and Safety issue grew into a much larger problem, as the intervention became a battle of bureaucracy. In 2003, the Cabildo of Lanzarote originally submitted a quote of €500,000 for the work needed to rehabilitate the space to the Canarian Government. However, no work was carried out on site and the following year, the funds required to carry out the project had risen to €2,200,000. The councillor charged with responsibility for the work, Luis Arraez, assured the press that the auditorium would be back up and running by the beginning of 2005 at the latest.

However, during that year only the smallest tasks were carried out to see what further work was needed on the roof. It was discovered that specific tools would need to be developed to ensure the work could take place, equipment that up until then had not existed. A further two years of miniscule investigations and inspections, involving local construction businesses then occurred.

By 2008, the press were informed that it was unlikely the auditorium would be open for business before February 2009. The only events which did take place there in the meantime were the premier of the Pedro Almodovar film ‘Broken Embraces’, screened on 23rd March 2008 and a gala for World Tourism Day in September of the same year.

During all this time, the result has been a loss of revenue for the Centres of Art, Culture and Tourism, as the daily amount charged to rent the space is €6,000, a sum which could have been generated many times over during the last eleven years. Instead, it is envisaged that the auditorium still requires an investment of €1,000,000 to finish the work necessary before its doors can open again.

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