Following the less than enthusiastic reaction of Millennium BCP bank to news that wetland areas in the borough of Silves are on their way to being declared a natural reserve, eight NGOs have come out in praise of the situation, declaring it will without doubt “constitute an economic and social gain”, not only for Silves, but neighbouring municipalities as well.
The eight – A Rocha, Almargem, Vita Nativa, LPN, SP Botânica, SPEA and ZERO – have been campaigning for years to preserve the 400-hectare stretch of land, straddling marshland areas around the Espiche and Alcantarilha streams as well as birding wetland Lagoa dos Salgados. Their belief is that nature reserve status will power all-year-round Nature Tourism in the Algarve – “a product of elevated touristic quality” which will help create stable (as opposed to seasonal) employment.
Protecting what is one of the last ‘untouched’ coastal areas of the region is in the interests of everybody, conclude the NGOs, and thus everyone should be called on to participate in its future.
A public participation exercise in this regard closed recently with over 800 commentaries – the majority of them backing the plan wholeheartedly; Silves municipality has already written the reserve into its new town plan (click here) and 32 foreign organisations dedicated to the protection of migratory birds have given it their thumbs up.
The only fly in the ointment – very possibly ‘swattable’ – is the threat from Millennium BCP (which inherited an old project for a high-density tourist resort on the site, and believes it should be ‘compensated’ for its ‘loss’).