By: CECÍLIA PIRES
TAVIRA CÂMARA’S request for TMN to upgrade the quality of the mobile communications signal in Santa Catarina parish by installing a new mast close to some houses has been met by opposition from some local residents.
The inland parish, once abandoned by people who migrated to find a better life in the coastal areas of the Algarve, has in recent years seen an influx of people from the UK, Germany and Holland.
Although the newcomers, and the Portuguese people who stayed, are very nature oriented, they also have modern technology needs.
In response, Tavira Câmara asked TMN, the biggest mobile operator in the country, to improve the signal reception by placing a new mast in the area.
As well as meeting demand, the council hoped that the new facility would ensure a more efficient alert system against fires in the region.
Local councillor Fernando Viegas told The Resident that the placement of the antenna was just waiting for licensing from the Câmara when some residents contacted the council to voice their discontent about its location close to their homes.
The project had been submitted for technical analysis and approved by the Algarve development commission, Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento do Algarve (CCDR-Algarve), the national authority on telecommunications, Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM) and the local health delegate.
But some residents, like Claire and Loyd Rozzo, only realised late in September that a 35-metre mast was planned on a plot of land only 60 metres away from their home.
“When returning home, we saw a machine digging up some land,” said Loyd Rozzo, who lives in a refurbished house with his wife and two children.
Although the local parish informed them subsequently about the purpose of the digging, Fernando Viegas said that “no digging had been authorised yet”.
While they say they appreciate the need for such infrastructure in the area, the Rozzos and other residents set up a residents’ commission to ask for a new location for the mast as several eco-tourism projects are scheduled for the parish.
Loyd Rozzo said: “We are not against it. This village is 200 years old and more than 60 people have lived here. We are the new cycle of life.
“If the mast stays in the planned location we will not persist with our investment plans for the area. It makes no sense to invest in eco-friendly tourism projects with the shadow of a mobile phone mast over us.”
Although supportive to the residents’ concerns, Fernando Viegas said that following a meeting last week, a new location is pending on the results of technical and financial studies being carried out by the TMN experts.
In the meantime, a spokesman for TMN told The Resident that the company “believes it will find an alternative solution for the antenna mast relocation” and that “it revealed good will by suspending all works, despite having the planned site approved by all the authorities”.
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