GNR red-faced as Silves campers return

After being unceremoniously kicked out of their winter parking spots by the GNR last month, the Silves ‘happy campers’ are back – this time for good.
River-facing land between the municipal pool and the Fissul building has now been declared ‘open to motorhomes’ by Silves council as they say the travellers are vital to the local economy through the low season.
The Resident travelled to Silves this week to find out how everyone was feeling.
Far from hearing moans and groans from residents who were meant to be fed up with the gleaming line of camper vans, everyone seemed delighted.
“These motorhomers are extremely important to local commerce,” one resident told us, “especially in the winter time when many Algarve towns are left almost deserted. The nearby town of S.B. Messines is yet another example.”
As for the campers, they are all over the moon. Newly-reinstalled in the idyllic location, one told us: “You open your door and all you see is the river and the surrounding green of the trees. It is wonderful.”
But why then all the fuss that devastated the travellers as they were moved on from the site by bands of GNR last month?
According to the council, it was a bad case of “lack of communication”, following “a number of complaints from local residents” about motorhomers littering the area and taking up valuable parking spots.
In a press release, the municipality claimed police acted “without consulting” them – but the council also acknowledged that it failed to inform the police that it was perfectly happy for the status quo to continue.
“We failed to inform the GNR police in due time,” the council admitted.
Still, the municipality said it was “strange” that it was not informed of the GNR’s operation before it took place. Using admirable tact, it said “more patience was required – especially during times of grave economic, financial and social crisis”.
“The presence of these motorhomes in Silves represents a boost to local commerce that should not be undermined”. Thus, the municipality will now be turning the parking lot into a service area for motor homes.
It will have 60 spaces and new infra-structures are expected, although the council has yet to confirm details. A spokesperson told us: “We will also be setting some prices for motorhomes which will only serve to cover the costs of the construction work – not to gain profits.” For the time being, however, the happy motorhomes can all remain on site free of charge.
Meantime, the council stressed it did not intend to compete with the privately-owned Algarve Motorhome Park located a short distance away.
By Michael Bruxo [email protected]