With owners and promoters ducking all press questions, Algarve Left Bloc MP João Vasconcelos has called for an ‘urgent meeting’ with the secretary of state for territorial planning to address environmental concerns over the newly-dubbed Praia Grande Eco Resort, on Silves’ borough council’s only stretch of coastline.
Interest centres on the many aspects of the controversial mega-development that are simply not being addressed: the fact that legal challenges over protected flora on the site have yet to be settled, that concerns persist over the implications for adjoining birding wetland Lagoa dos Salgados – and that resistance to the plan has resulted in the largest environmental petition ever to have been raised in Portugal (at last count: 34,133 signatures).
Only last month, NGO Almargem issued a call to arms to nature lovers, encouraging a mass email campaign to save the site from the ravages of what it calls ‘unsustainable development’ (click here) – and now this initiative coming from an MP whose party has previously labelled the project an “absurdity” (click here) promises to keep the issue current.
Says Vasconcelos in his letter to the president of the parliamentary commission for the environment, territorial planning, decentralisation, local power and habitation: “Bearing in mind that there is the possibility that the mega-development will be allowed to go ahead in this protected area, the parliamentary group (of Bloco de Esquerda) considers it necessary that the situation is clarified and public interest safeguarded. The area in question has ecological importance and protection relating to coastal erosion”.
Posting Vasconcelos’ bid on its Facebook page, Almargem carries an image with the words “Let’s keep up hope in Salgados”.
This has been a heroic fight, fought tooth-and-nail five years ago and only now returning due to Millennium BCP’s recent ‘takeover’ of the site, as a result of former owner Finalgarve of the Gallilei Group (ex-BPN/ SLN) going bust (click here).