By: NATASHA SMITH
FARO IS on the verge of becoming the next city to have a facelift along its waterfront area with the construction of a luxury marina, hotels, leisure area and accommodation but the site is located on protected land.
The project is being developed by Parque Expo, the company responsible for transforming Lisbon’s northeast waterfront, and Câmara President José Apolinário said: “It will have a marina dedicated to nautical recreation, but it will maintain a service dedicated to the commercial side.”
The câmara emphasised the need to utilise the existing canal, which runs from the edge of the Ria Formosa nature reserve at Farol beach to Faro mainland.
As part of these plans, the canal will be dredged to a depth of eight metres. This will enable larger boats and small cruise liners to gain access to the marina.
The proposed location of the luxury redevelopment lies on the Ria Formosa nature reserve and the project will cover the Faro riverside area from Bom João to Patacão. The câmara has spearheaded this project for some years but it has been met with criticism.
The original project was rejected by the Ministry of the Environment and the authority for the Ria Formosa, ICNB, but despite the rejection, the câmara restyled the project’s proposals and aims.
This latest edition of the project has been met with less criticism from environmentalists and the feeling surrounding this latest attempt is said to be positive.
A spokesperson for the ICNB told The Resident: “We will have to wait for the outcome and see where we stand. The project’s priorities have changed since the first one and we must see if it is adequate”.
The marina is due to be constructed in Horta da Areia, where petrol tanks belonging to Galp and BP are located. These tanks have been used to supply fuel to the airport and a spokesperson for the câmara told The Resident: “This is the part of the process that presents great difficulties” and negotiations are said to be complicated with Galp.
According to the câmara, a top priority will be to remove the tanks safely and decontaminate the area before any construction on the marina can begin.
The reclamation of this land is likely to increase the cost of the project, and another serious issue that must be resolved before construction can begin is all the people illegally living on the land must be rehomed. This is a mandatory clause of the project and the câmara must provide adequate housing for the people who will be affected by the construction.
The final approval should be given next week after it was delayed at the request of the opposition party to allow for a debate. According to the câmara, if all goes well, work could begin within six months.
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