Controversial beach concession to be built on Dona Ana, Lagos
It once made headlines for being one of the most stunning beaches in the world, but nowadays Lagos’ Dona Ana beach is more frequently in the news for the wrong reasons.
This time, a project to build a structure commonly known in Portugal as an ‘apoio de praia’ (beach concession) right at the centre of the beach is raising concern among locals.
The Algarve’s environmental boss Sebastião Teixeira has confirmed the plans, saying that the 80sqm structure will be located in front of the beach’s wooden stairway, “outside of the cliff’s rockfall danger zone”.
The project has been described as “insane” by biologist and environmental activist Dina Salvador, who says that the works pose “a risk” as the beach is too small for a structure of this kind.
As she told Barlavento newspaper, there is no way the structure can be built without violating one of the guidelines imposed by the POOC Burgau-Vilamoura coastal plan.
According to Salvador, the structure would have to be located away from the cliff at a distance equivalent to “its total size and a half”, and also be as far away from the sea as possible so that high tides would not become a threat.
If the structure is built as far away from the cliffs as it is supposed to, “all it will take is a high tide for waves to crash onto the structure”.
Lagos mayor Joaquina Matos has also voiced her concern about the project, saying that the construction of a structure right in the middle of the beach will affect its image which is so frequently praised both in Portugal and abroad.
She also highlighted that it was not that long ago that the beach was artificially fed, and that the structure will be built in a location that is not completely stabilised yet and which is not safe from rising sea levels and the effects of storms.
Ever since sand replenishment works were carried out, the number of beachgoers has more than doubled without there being any improvements to access routes and parking facilities.
“The summer season has become a nightmare for those who live nearby or want to visit the beach or Ponta da Piedade,” Dina Salvador added.
“Now APA (the Portuguese environment agency) is preparing to licence another project that will compromise the image and safety of the beach further; this is a situation similar to that happening at Praia do Peneco in Albufeira (click here).
“Dona Ana was once considered the most beautiful beach in the world. It deserves special attention in line with the accolade it received.”