Authorities dismiss preliminary study for new resort inAlvor

AQUAZUL, A developer that recently presented a project to build a five star hotel, 20 luxury properties and 18-hole golf course in the interior of Ria de Alvor, has received a negative response to its proposal from Portimão Câmara, the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Algarve (CCDR) and the Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico (IPPAR).

The area in question is Abicada, a peninsula situated at Nascente da Quinta da Rocha, home to the remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman villa, one of the greatest collections of archaeological findings in the borough of Portimão.

The proposed construction area totals 27,000sqm and the plans include the construction of luxury properties with a private swimming pool, in the northern section of the land, and a three storey, five star hotel with 116 rooms. An 18-hole golf course is also planned for an area totalling 45 hectares.

The proposal also includes the refurbishment of some existing agricultural warehouses, the erection of buildings to support the golf course and 30 moorings on the Ria de Alvor, to the extreme south of the resort. Another component of the project is the creation of a centre offering direct access to the Roman ruins, with an exhibition area and laboratory that would be managed by IPPAR.

According to the president of the board of Aquazul, José Costa Lima, it was IPPAR that instigated the development of a tourism project for that area, contemplating the recuperation of archaeological patrimony.

IPPAR officially recognises its interest in the project, but is demanding a rigorous delimitation and characterisation of the archaeological site, including what could exist underwater, at the boundaries where the construction of a small harbour is planned.

The area where Aquazul hopes to build the resort is situated in the Reserva Agrícola Nacional and is classified as a Rede Natura 2000 site (protected nature reserve). Its sensitive location provided the motives for the CCDR and Portimão Câmara to fail the preliminary study.

The project must now be revised if Aquazul is to finally receive the green light to build the resort.