The Algarve will have €780 million in community funding to spend on vital projects as part of the Algarve 2030 programme, which was officially unveiled on Monday (April 10) in Faro.
Among the main projects to be funded by the programme is a new Oncology Centre to be built near the long-promised Central Hospital at Parque das Cidades, near the Algarve Stadium, between Faro and Loulé.
“We are in a situation of discrimination, as we do not have treatment structures to provide support to people who suffer from this disease. The Algarve cannot be left behind in the fight against cancer,” said José Apolinário, president of the regional development commission CCDR Algarve.
As readers may recall, cancer patients requiring certain treatments are often taken to Lisbon or Seville (Spain) as they simply do not exist in the region.
The project is estimated to cost around €9 million – with Algarve 2030 only expected to cover 60% of the cost, meaning the State will have to cough up the rest.
Another cornerstone of Algarve 2030 will be sustainability.
As Apolinário pointed out, the previous community programme CRESC Algarve 2020 – which provided the region with €318 million, only 4% of which was set aside for sustainability – the new programme has around 45% of its funding reserved for projects based around making the Algarve more sustainable.
Around €8 million are reserved for a project “that has to be carried out by the Sines and Algarve Port Administration (APS)” and which “aims to advance the decarbonisation of Portimão Port by 10 years.”
The idea is that cruise ships arriving at the port will be able to “turn off their motors” and connect to renewable energy sources – wind, solar or hydrogen – in order to reduce pollution levels in the Arade River.
Another project highlighted by the CCDR boss was the ‘metrobus’ project to link Olhão, Faro and Loulé. The 38km bus rapid transit (BRT) system, served by an electric bus which will travel in its own bus lane, was initially unveiled as a light metro system, which was deemed simply ‘too expensive’ an option.
The new bus system will feature 24 stops and aims to serve a population of around 185,000 people in the three municipalities – in other words, around 40% of the Algarve’s population.
Algarve 2030 will also focus on education, with plans to build two new campus buildings – one in Faro and another in Portimão – to serve the University of the Algarve.
The programme has also secured funding for the renovation of the region’s earthquake and tsunami simulator, which was set up in 2008 and is currently considered outdated.
José Apolinário has called on the region’s entities to take advantage of the opportunity that this new programme is offering, as the funding “can transform our territory, and that is our ambition.”