Embargo bid lodged by Pestana hotel group ‘the only thing standing in way of Sado dredging’

Embargo bid lodged by Pestana hotel group ‘the only thing standing in way of Sado dredging’

A bid for a court embargo lodged by the Pestana hotel group is now the only potential obstacle in the way of government insistence to dredge the Sado river estuary, irrespective of the ‘irreversible effects’ this will have on the biodiversity of the area.

Explain reports, two previous attempts to block the project have failed.

Despite overwhelming protest from local people (click here) and endless attempts to persuade authorities that the plan will destroy much more than it could possible bring in benefits, the situation is looking horribly ‘lost’.

Said Pedro Vieira of Clube de Arrábida, which recently lost a bid for an injunction in Almada court: “This is practically a lost cause now”.

Clube de Arrábida has successfully managed to the Supreme Court, he agreed – “but it is unlikely to be able to hear the appeal in time”.

Reports tabloid Correio da Manhã, a Belgian suction dredger, currently working in Russia, is due to start work on the project at the beginning of December.

This is a project that “has been very criticised for its lack of transparency”, the paper stresses.

It was championed by the former Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino and is essentially designed to open the waterway up to much larger boats.

Portuguese construction giant Mota Engil has ‘won’ the €25 million contract that will involve sucking up and removing around 3.5 million sq metres of river bed.

Yet even businesses connected to tourism understand the devastating effects that the plan will have.

The gist of the bid for an embargo by the Pestana hotel group’s Troia Eco-Resort & Residences is that dredging will wreak “irreversible consequences on the economy of the region, as well as the unique environment of the Sado and the Troia peninsula”.

Keenly affected, say all protestors, will be the signature community of 28 bottle-nosed dolphin that live at the mouth of the estuary, feeding off the rich variety of fish and shellfish.

Dredging will destroy the dolphins’ feeding grounds, and almost certainly lead them to abandoning the river which will essentially destroy local ‘dolphin watch’ businesses.

Says CM, the boat due to start shifting the estuary’s make-up is the ‘Pearl River’, owned by Flemish company DEME and currently in the Black Sea.

A quick internet search shows that two industrial and financial groups currently control the share capital of DEME, one of them a publicly listed civil contractor controlled by the French Vinci-Group that happens to control ANA Airports authority in Portugal.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com