By NATASHA SMITH
PLANS HAVE been approved for the construction of an autodrome in Portimão, which could be completed by September 2008 at an investment cost of 195 million euros.
Despite opposition from the Left Bloc and right-wing CDU party, the Portimão Municipal Assembly has allocated two plots of land in Pereiro to be used for the construction of the International Autodrome of the Algarve, heralding a great step forward in the lengthy bureaucratic process, which will be over after the project’s final detailed plans are approved.
This latest development has been warmly received by câmara president Manuel da Luz, who said that construction could begin early next year.
He stressed the importance of this project for the area and said that this could stem the flow of residents leaving the inland areas to find employment and accommodation in urban zones. The autodrome could create as many as 1,800 jobs and around 3,000 during the construction period.
Project director, Paulo Pinheiro, from Parkalgar, was delighted with the municipal assembly’s decision at this crucial stage and he foresaw that the autodrome would be up and running by September 2008.
One of the key aspects of the autodrome is the potential for the venue to be considered as a circuit for Formula One races as well as a venue to host motorbike and go-karting competitions.
A five-star hotel with 200 rooms and 160 apartments will be constructed near the autodrome, along with a technological centre, which will service the automobile industry.
With the assistance of universities across the country, the autodrome will assess the viability of using alternative energy including solar in an effort to reduce pollutant emissions.
A viaduct from the A22 highway to the autodrome will be constructed, which will reduce the distance travelled from Faro airport.
Sources say that Parkalgar will pay the câmara an annual amount of 40,000 euros for the 231 hectares of yielded land, worth an estimated two million euros. The company will be exempt from paying tax for 10 years, which will save the company two million euros over the decade.
Despite much opposition from environmental groups over the past two years and a petition with 1,740 signatures to stop the autodrome from being constructed, the project will go ahead with the blessing of the Ministry for the Environment.
Pinheiro expects that the autodrome in Portimão will be one of the best equipped and state of the art in Portugal and told The Resident he was very excited about the future.