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Algarve mayors up-in-arms over “sneaky changes” to new coastal programme

AMAL, the association of 16 borough councils, is on a new warpath with Algarve environment agency APA – this time over what it condemns as institutional disloyalty “that puts the principles of trust and good faith in crisis”.

At issue are multiple “relevant alterations” to the new coastal programme (POC) for Odeceixe to Vilamoura.

Drawn up by APA following public consultation, it is so different to what AMAL says it was expecting that the association suggests it appears to be “a completely different programme”.

Particularly in the spotlight are west coast demolitions “without any kind of fundamentation” and without any hint of a back-up plan over what to do with displaced ‘recognised fishing communities’ (click here).

The row is something of a déja-vu considering the campaign waged by APA president Sebastião Teixeira to demolish hundreds of fishermen’s homes on the islands of Ria Formosa (click here).

AMAL waded into the controversy last March, calling for the “immediate suspension” of bulldozing plans. But fears are that the issue will be returning.

Thus the mayors are calling for an “urgent meeting” with environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes.

Issuing a four-point statement explaining their unanimous objections to what it termed APA’s “disloyalty”, AMAL president Jorge Botelho explains that “beyond the numerous lapses in transcription, writing and graphics” the new POC “presents incongruities and treats identical realities differently, overriding the positions of other planning entities”, namely the Algarve’s own borough councils.

While the region’s mayors wait for a response from the environment ministry, Ria Formosa islanders are also preparing for what they fear could be a new round in their own battles with APA.

Said one on Facebook over this latest issue row: “The man (Sebastião Teixeira) seems to have a demolition complex”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com