Algarve MP slams barrier-island demolitions for being “divorced from reality”

In the tense lead-up to the compulsory seizure of homes on Ria Formosa’s barrier island community of Farol on Thursday, Algarve MP João Vasconcelos has taken to print to give his views on why the plan is “divorced from reality” and fails even to answer the environmental issues with which it claims to be concerned.

Under the title: “The barrier island communities are people too and deserve respect”, Vasconcelos claims the programme for demolitions pushed through by Sociedade Polis Litoral is “not seeing the whole problem” and “ignores” the history of people whose predecessors constructed the island’s basic infrastructures”.

Polis’ mantra for “renaturalisation” has to be a process “compatible with the legitimate expectations” of the island residents, and cannot hinge on “expelling them” from the place in which they have lived for successive generations”, says the Left Bloc MP.

The islands’ “renaturalisation and requalification” should involve dialogue with the “principal people concerned”.

“It cannot be done behind their backs”, Vasconcelos stresses in the opinion article published on Sunday in Jornal do Algarve.

A major campaigner for regional issues, Vasconcelos’ bid is just the latest attack on plans powered by Polis Litoral.

Last Friday, Olhão municipal assembly voted unanimously and overwhelming against the demolitions (click here), and since then the controversy has been setting social media alight, with hundreds of people vowing they will turn up in force on Thursday to help islanders defend the rights to remaining in their homes.

As Vasconcelos concludes: “On October 27, when new demolitions are due to go ahead in the communities of Farol and Hangares, a new project for resolution from the Left Bloc will be discussed in parliament”, proposing “among other measures” the immediate suspension of demolition plans, and the entering, finally, into dialogue with “the principal people concerned, the local populations and their representative associations”.

“Let us see this time how MPs elected by the people – particularly those from the Algarve – vote”, he challenges, referring to previous occasions where MPs have changed their minds according to which party has been in power.

Vasconcelos’ presentation of the Left Bloc’s new “Project for Resolution” is scheduled to be presented hours after residents on Farol are due to be compulsorily relieved of their homes.

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