This week we received a report from a reader in Tavira describing the general feeling in the area about motorhomers using the local market’s car park as a campsite. Sue Hall writes:
If you try to get into the new market car park in Tavira, you will have to navigate the line of motorhomes parked alongside the road.
Local residents in Tavira have expressed concern about this nuisance, as they now have to struggle to park safely in the car park.
John Rowley, resident of 14 years, said: “Last Saturday was madness. Cars were backed up trying to get into the market car park and when they got in they had to drive around the car park looking for an empty space which was not taken by these large campers.”
John added: “In the last few weeks, I have seen, on two separate occasions, owners pouring their waste down the small drains that are there for rain water only.”
Some of the motorhomers I spoke to said they plan to stay for up to three months in the area and parking in these types of places was convenient. In the past, they used to park in the private land next to Pingo Doce but that has been re-fenced and they no longer have access to that space.
Many motorhomers are also parking near to the now derelict tuna cannery.
When asked if they would park in a campsite if there was one available in Tavira, some of the British motorhomers said they had parked on these spaces year after year and would not be prepared to pay per night to park in a campsite, and the nearby facilities in Cabanas and Olhão were too far away.
When asked where they put the toilet waste, some motor homers became defensive and said they used the municipal toilet, but it was not clear if that meant they disposed of chemical toilet waste into a toilet system not designed for this purpose.
A water authority expert has indicated that this is likely to do significant damage to a small waste system of this kind. There are also local concerns that the chemical waste may reach the salt flats causing untold damage to the local ecosystem.
A spokesperson for the local Câmara said that although Tavira welcomed tourists, they should obey the local laws.
“To park at the side of the road for more than one night or to park in the market car park is illegal and a plan was being put in place to move them on,” he said.
He also stated that the numbers of motorhome visitors was putting extra stress on the capacity of rubbish collections.
According to Tavira Câmara, there are no plans in the foreseeable future to create a campsite in Tavira for motorhomes.