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Alvor waterfront area is being revamped

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Improvement works being carried out on Alvor’s waterfront between the Prainha and the estuary have come under fire from some local residents who claim that it will destroy the area’s natural environment.

The work, under a plan called Plano de Intervenção da Frente de Mar de Alvor, will follow the model carried out at Praia da Rocha, which was praised by Turismo de Portugal for its excellence.

A spokesman from Portimão Câmara told the Algarve Resident: “The project will include a walkway which will be suitable for people with reduced mobility. There will also be 3,000 car parking spaces to be located in three separate car parks.”

The project also includes the dredging of the Alvor estuary, with the sand removed being used to replenish Praia dos Três Irmãos, which lost sand during last winter’s storms.

Besides the wooden walkway and additional parking spaces, the work also includes the construction of a walking and cycling route, the redevelopment of the entire Alvor sports complex including the Restinga Stadium, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a new synthetic football pitch, a parking facility for motorhomes and the creation of a support structure for water sports.

“The project will cost around €18 million and will be financially supported by private entities, the government, Portimão Câmara and EU funds,” added the spokesman.

While Portimão Câmara is feeling positive about the project, local residents have spoken out about the pressure the works are placing on the environment.

A local resident who asked not to be named told the Algarve Resident: “Discovering this incredible area was a magic moment. Walking my dog in this peaceful beachside area with the calming rush of the sea and cheerful twitter of many species of birds was heaven.  And then came the diggers and bulldozers overnight, removing copious amounts of sands and dredging the estuary in order to build up receding beachfronts in Alvor. Fair enough, a necessity for tourism.

“Seeing the wooden walkway emerge was fantastic and seems ideal for the aged and those with reduced mobility. But the new development works mean access to more cars, noise, pollution and, in my eyes, more destruction to this protected natural area. I am very torn about whether all these developments are good or bad; we just have to see what happens.”

Marcial Felgueiras, operations director from A Rocha, the local nature conservation and environment protection organisation, said that once the project is finished, residents will see that the works were actually set out to protect the environment, not to destroy it.

He told the Algarve Resident: “The project, in an initial phase, can cause alarm among people because of all the machinery that is needed for the works. When the walkway is finished, it will actually benefit the environment, stopping people from walking on the protected dunes and, instead, on the provided facility, which also allows better access for people with reduced mobility.

“Visitors and residents will be able to enjoy direct contact with nature and benefit from improved conditions.”

For more information about this project, please call Portimão Câmara on 282 470 785 or 282 470 837, or email [email protected]