Faro islanders refuse to budge as bulldozers move in for demolition

Faro islanders refuse to budge as bulldozers move in for demolition

They are not giving up without a fight. Over a hundred islanders whose homes are up for demolition have decided to dig in their heels.
As the Resident reported last week, bulldozers have moved in on along Ria Formosa as part of the government plan to raze 808 dwellings to the ground in a €17 million operation.
The land is at risk of coastal erosion, environment minister Jorge Moreira said as earthmovers moved in on the first 23 homes on Ramalhete Island last week.
But locals are questioning the legality of the decision – maintaining it is something that should have been decided at local level.
They are also heartbroken that a lifetime of hard work, bill paying and other household-related expenses could be treated this way.
Thus 40 of those worst-affected by the plan – financed under the EC-backed POLIS programme – have banded together to fight the enforced eviction.
Jorge Moreira maintained that “no one will be left homeless” but this is not in fact the case. As islander Carlos Estevão explained, his home is to be levelled as his wife has one in her name in Faro – but that is in fact the home of their son.
It is a problem that is mirrored elsewhere as Olhão websites describe fishermen’s homes now full to the gunnels of displaced family members.
“People have to come together and stop believing politicians who are traitors and say they are against the demolitions only to appear beside the minister and his team as the demolitions begin,” Olhão Livre declared this week, pointing the finger at what it considers the less-than-exemplary behaviour of Faro mayor Rogério Bacalhau.
Bacalhau has urged homeowners to complain if they feel they have been unjustly treated, but at last week’s demolitions he joined Moreira acknowledging their need.
As the government has repeatedly explained, it will cost €9.7 million to destroy the islanders’ houses and a further €7.5 million to “recuperate” the ravages left behind.
The money – or “investment” as Moreira called it – does not allow for any form of compensation payments.