A new wave of coastal property demolitions – costing €20.5 million – is on the horizon.
The only detail seemingly in bulldozers’ way is ‘funding’, explains Expresso in an online text published late on Saturday night.
Community funding that was available has ‘run out’ and the environment ministry will have to apply for a new tranche in the next (2020-2030) programme of support from Brussels, says the paper.
Areas highlighted include a 122 km stretch between Caminha and Espinho, a slice of coast between Ovar and Marinha Grande, and the Algarve barrier islands.
The ‘timing’ of Expresso’s article has been questioned by seasoned campaigners in the Algarve who do not accept the government’s contention that it is acting in the interests of people’s safety.
Convinced the demolitions are a ruse to signal the way for high-quality eco-tourism, SOS Ria Formosa has interpreted Expresso’s short text as an underhand threat.
“Now we see their true intentions”, said the group over Facebook.
“Everything they told us was nothing more than fallacious discourse to hoodwink the people: to keep us quiet and ineffective.
“They (the government) promised there would be no more demolitions, that there would be equal treatment and recognition of all the nucleii (villages on Culatra island), that the POOC (coastal plan) would be revised
“Now here they are preparing the way, advising and predicting the future. Not the future of people who have always been here, but of those who are waiting to take possession of these areas”.
SOS’ remarks ring true in that the government DID promise a moratorium on demolitions and a revision of the ‘obsolete coastal plan’ that recommended so many houses had to go (click here).
Indeed, the timing of this isolated news story (no other media has yet picked it up) and the fact that it follows reports on coastal erosion along Costa Caparica (click here) does ring alarm bells.
Expresso’s text ends with a quote from geophysicist Filipe Duarte Santos, in which he describes the coastline as “one of the most energetic in the world, suffering extreme erosion” and the stripping of sand by up to a million cubic metres per year, “less than 10% of which is ever replaced”.
Nonetheless, says Duarte “they still authorise new constructions along the coast”, which suggests SOS’ concerns that up-market developers are just waiting to move in could really could hold water.