Prédio Coutinho – the 13-storey ‘eyesore’ in Viana do Castelo that has seen its remaining residents under siege – will cost Portuguese taxpayers 35 million euros to demolish.
In the interests of “restoring urbanistic aesthetics”, the local municipality appears prepared to spend 22 million euros more than originally budgeted for when environment minister José Sócrates decided, back in 2000, that the building had to come down.
While the courts are expected to settle the issue one way or another very soon, the public appears to be cottoning on to the scandal that has seen the council literally besiege Prédio Coutinho’s elderly residents (click here).
Reacting to the latest revelations on how much demolition will actually cost, readers have questioned whether it is really necessary.
The official story is that the building ‘has to come down because it is ugly’, and the council believes a municipal market would be so much better in its place.
But as one reader remarks in Sol online newspaper: “After expropriation, demolition and construction, how much can a kilo of potatoes at this market cost to make this make economic sense?”
“Couldn’t this money be better spent elsewhere”, asks another, while Correio da Manhã reveals that back in 2004 when Durão Barroso was PSD prime minister he said there was no money available for demolition, and the building enjoyed a brief reprieve.
All that is certain today is that the nine stalwart residents refusing to leave are still in place, though supplies of gas have yet to be reinstated (click here).
Sol meantime maintains that the local council cut electricity supplies last week ‘illegally’ (without the knowledge or authorisation of EDP), leaving it open to criminal prosecution.