While scores of islanders are being forcibly evicted from their only homes on Ria Formosa “in the name of environmental safety”, 140 families living on Faro island’s rundown campsite are now being threatened by plans to turn their long-term home into a carpark.
Local communist MP Paulo Sá warns the plan is yet another ruse to push local people away from prime coastal spots.
“It has all been very well-thought out,” he told the Resident. “First the government talks of the environmental ‘need’ to remove people from Ria Formosa. Now it is the ‘need’ to move families who have been living years in the campsite – and then will come the ‘need’ to remove local people living in Ludo.”
“There are no ‘needs’ in any of these proposals. They have all been designed to clear the way for big business concerns in the future,” he alleged.
For now, a proposal by the PSD-led coalition council to turn the rundown campsite into a carpark has been overwhelmingly rejected by opposition parties and all the local people that live there.
As Público points out, the site lost its licence in 2003, leaving 140 resident families to run it themselves, like residents of a closed condominium.
These families are adamant that they will fight the plans to turn their home into a carpark.
“We’re not leaving,” president of the users’ association António Figueiredo affirmed at a meeting that lasted seven hours and ended in deadlock. Thus the possibility now of a local referendum to determine the site’s future.
Local PCP communists, meantime, are pushing for the council to reclaim control of the site and ‘revitalise’ it.
The council majority is “trying to hide the fact that it tricked” the site’s residents during the last electoral campaign when it “encouraged them to invest thousands” on their homes “with the promise that they could stay”, the party said in a statement.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]
Photo: The campsite, which lost its licence in 2003, is run by residents like a closed condominium
Photo by: LUIS FORRA/LUSA