LISBON Câmara President, Carmona Rodrigues, was placed in a tight spot recently over the future of Parque Mayer. The run-down former theatre land site off Avenida da Liberdade is earmarked for redevelopment into a cultural centre for the people of Lisbon.
Under the mayorship of Pedro Santana Lopes, the Portuguese ‘vaudeville’ site had been mooted to house an ambitious new casino project. However, two Lisbon PSD deputies have expressed extreme reservations over the planned financial deal to redevelop the site.Domingos Pires and Dias de Almeida believe that the way the deal has been worked out is unclear.
At a council meeting, they suggested that the report that has been produced for the redevelopment project may allow for preferential treatment to a particular private institution in a way that could prejudice the Câmara financially. Favouritism could also violate the rules of fair competition and contract-bidding for the site’s redevelopment. The deputies also suggested that the Câmara’s executive committee has “omitted” or “kept back” facts and figures from the voting deputies.
At the meeting, which should have been a straightforward rubber-stamping of the project, Pires and de Almeida declined to vote on the report while certain details are still unclear. The report into the future of Parque Mayer was voted in favour by the Communists, Socialists and Greens – representatives of Partido Popular (PP), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Block) and the Monarchist Popular Party (PPM) were absent.
The two PSD deputies believe that the financial deal should not be closed until it is known exactly how much the Câmara intends to spend on the site. The redevelopment is to involve a consortium of three entities – public urbanisation enterprise EPUL is to invest 17.5 million euros (35 per cent), Bragaparques 20 million euros (40 per cent) and a financial institution 12.5 million euros (25 per cent).
Plans include the construction of new theatres and other cultural attractions, restaurants, cafés and shops.
Carmona Rodrigues said the Câmara will be re-examining the financial model so that all the deputies will approve it.