Albufeira to get €150 million facelift
Photo by: Rui Gregório/CM Albufeira

Albufeira Council to spend €150 million on vital projects

Albufeira Mayor José Carlos Rolo has revealed that around €150 million will be spent on vital projects for the borough until 2023. The money will be used on improvements to public areas, including the Oura bar district, on roads and sanitation networks, the construction of a new conference centre, social housing, the expansion and renovation of local schools, and much more.

The news came in a press conference held by the mayor last week in which he said that a lot has been accomplished since he has been in office although there is “still a lot to be done”.

At the front of the programme of investments is a €1.2 million plan to build a new conference centre on a recently purchased plot of land near the town’s high school. Mayor José Carlos Rolo assured that the project will be moving forward soon.

Another major project will see €13 million being ploughed into the revamp of Avenida Sá Carneiro, also known as the busy Oura bar district.

The project aims to transform the area, limiting traffic and creating pedestrian paths as well as new green and leisure areas, while the area’s piping will be replaced.

Due to it being a tourist hotspot attracting thousands of holidaymakers each summer, the mayor said the Oura project will be an “extremely difficult” one, although residents and local business owners are aware of the plans. The council hopes to begin works in October.

The council has also set aside around €10 million to carry out improvements in Albufeira’s downtown area such as to “pavements and street furniture”.

A further €2 million will be invested in the renovation of Rua do MFA, one of the main access roads to Albufeira’s oldtown, while €3.1 million will go to continuing the improvements to the town’s main Avenida dos Descobrimentos.

The council will also be fulfilling the wishes of local citizens by finally moving forward with improvements to the road that links the local bus station to the Montechoro roundabout, although it is analysing what to do with the palm trees that are occupying an area where the council plans to create a cycling path.

“They may have to be pulled out and planted somewhere else. We are currently expropriating some plots of land so we can start the works,” the mayor said.

Around €2 million is also being invested in the renovation of Rua do Município with improvements also planned in the area north of the Ferreiras sports complex as well as on the road linking Vale da Parra to Guia.

The council said that a further €20 million will go into paving or repaving roads all over the borough.

Affordable housing and social support
Providing affordable housing to those in need is another goal of the local council, which plans to invest €12 million in the construction of social housing.
Two buildings with 28 apartments are due to be built on Rua Samora Barros (€2.5 million) while another 26 apartments will be built near the Caliços market (€2 million).

Outside Albufeira, the council plans to invest €5 million in the construction of 60 to 70 apartments in Fontainhas and €3 million to build 40 apartments in Ladeira da Fonte, Paderne.

The council will also invest €16 million in the improvement of social services and around €500,000 in providing rental subsidies for families.

Other major plans involve building a kindergarten, old people’s home and day care centre in Olhos de Água (€5 million) and an old people’s home and day care centre in Fontainhas (€6 million).

A long-term care centre, which will be managed by Fundação António Silva Leal, is also planned near the existing home in Guia and will feature 20 rooms and represent a €2.5 million investment.

In the heart of Albufeira, there is a €4 million project to build the Cerro Malpique Social Centre, while the council is also planning a new headquarters for the local scouts (CNE Albufeira) and improvements to the tune of €240,000 at the Guia crèche.

In terms of education, around €8 million has been set aside for improvements to schools.

Around half of the money will go into expanding the E.B. 2 and 3 Diamantina Negrão and Dr. Francisco Cabrita schools. At the first school, the works will involve building four new laboratories, four new classrooms and expanding the sports pavilion and dressing rooms. Works at the latter will involve building 16 new classrooms, two computer rooms, a multipurpose room and a public auditorium with a capacity for 180 people “which can be used by the whole community at any time”.

Flood prevention and safety
The council will also be investing €21 million in a plan to improve the drainage network, thus preventing more floods in the future. In 2015, flooding wreaked havoc in the town causing widespread devastation.

Included in the project is the construction of a lifting station at Praça dos Pescadores, the main beachside square, which is already completed, as well as a series of renovation works in downtown Albufeira and near Inatel beach, which are among the areas worst affected by flooding when it rains.

“It is difficult to solve the problem of flooding, but we will be able to mitigate the situation,” José Carlos Rolo said.

Increasing the coverage of the municipal bus network, implementing a CCTV system, recruiting more municipal police agents and making Albufeira “greener and more animal-friendly” are other major goals for the coming three years.

In fact, the council has €750,000 reserved for the construction of a new pet cemetery, municipal kennel and dog agility course in Vale da Parra.

There are also plans to revamp the town’s gardens and green spaces, plant new trees and start using wastewater to water them. The municipality also plans to start installing LED lightbulbs in streetlamps, with the hope that the whole public lighting system will be equipped with LED lighting in the next three to four years.

José Carlos Rolo also said the council will continue to invest in “sports, culture and heritage”.

The council will be spending around €1 million into improving sports facilities in Guia, Paderne and Ferreiras.

In terms of culture, an extension of the municipal library will open in Ferreiras in the former parish council building while a revamp is in the pipeline for Albufeira’s municipal archaeology museum. The town’s main church is also due to undergo €1.6 million renovations. An art centre is also due to be set up in the former courthouse.

The mayor also said the council is committed to continuing to promote the town as a top tourist destination by participating in tourism fairs around the world and continuing to invest in the popular New Year’s celebrations.

Original article written by João Chambino for Barlavento newspaper.