The Catalan ski season opens this Saturday and will mark the longest ski season in history (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). Saturday, November 20th sees two slopes in the Pyrenees, Masella and La Molina open thanks to early arrival of snow and the late Easter which means that this is one of longest seasons in history. Aureli Bisbe, president of the Asociación de Turismo de Esquí y Montaña (Atudem) said, "the snow last week and the expectation of low temperatures this coming weekend will mean that some stations will decide to open early." Director of the two resorts, Masella and La Molina, Xavier Nolla, confirmed this and said they were already open, saying, "we have the advantage of being very close to Barcelona. We have many skiers who can come for the day. This translate into more customers willing to come when there is little snow." Of the 10 stations all have invested more money in order to modernise their facilities, spending 42 percent more than last year, a total of €27 million. The slopes in Catalunya recorded the most amount of visitors last year, with more than two million skiers. It is not just the resorts in Catalunya that are expected to open their slopes this weekend. In Aragon, Andorra and Grandvalira resorts are thought to be scheduled to open.
The average price of apartments in Barcelona has fallen by 25.8 percent over the last three years (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The cost of a newly built house in the city has plummeted by 25.8 percent since its peak in 2007. This depreciation is applied to a greater or lesser degree depending on whether the owner of the property is a bank or a developer. Despite the lowering in value both local and technical experts note that many families still have serious difficulties in obtaining housing. In Barcelona the average price for a house stands at €451,318 (around €5,140 per metre squared). These figures, obtained by Aguirre & Newman, say that only 36 months ago, the average price stood at €652,752 (€6,929 per metre squared). However the housing stock in the city is drying up. The Municipal Housing Officer, Antoni Sorolla explains that in the first half of this year, there have been 1,111 licenses have been awarded to build new apartments. Splitting this by district it reveals that Sant Martí has many developments whilst Les Corts, Sarrià-Sant Gervais and Ciutat Vella are running out of stock and construction estimates are the lowest in the city. The differences in price per square metre also changes from district to district. When in Sarrià-Sant Gervais a house cost €741,687 in 2006, in 2007 that had reached a massive €1.3 million.
Catalunya seeks one billion euros to treat waste as required by EU laws (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Generalitat has yet to decide the location of six of the 39 new facilities planned for completion in 2012. Catulunya is required to build 39 new facilities in order to treat and recycle the household waste it produces. In order to comply with the EU guidelines which require that waste disposal be reduced by 65 percent in 2016, the Generalitat is rolling out a Plan de Infraestructuras de Gestión de Residuos de Catalunya. Many local municipalities are disputing the feasibility of this deadline. Most of the facilities will be built alongside existing plants but six of them will be new. Genoveva Català director of the Agència de Residus de Catalunya (ARC) said "the idea is to minimise the transport costs to ensure that waste is treated near the place it is collected." She went on to say that she expected some of the municipalities involved in the building of new plants to offer land on a "voluntary basis," and said that negotiations can not be delayed for much longer.