Residents revolt against revamp failure

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

Redevelopment work in Carvoeiro, which was completed at the end of April last year, has left a sour taste in the mouths of business owners and residents in the fishing town.  

A lack of parking, broken paving in the main centre and “unsightly” fixed metal poles restricting access for larger vehicles through the town have led to members of the community forming an official group to present proposals to Lagoa Câmara in a bid to bring Carvoeiro back “to what it used to be years ago,” said business owner António Lopes, “a charming, family-friendly village that was a delight to visit and made us all proud.”

A meeting was held on February 18 at the Parish Council in Carvoeiro where more than 30 members of the community, both Portuguese and foreign, came together to discuss problems in the village, which resulted in the forming of the commission.

Suggestions made by the commission included creating parking spaces in the square “as in the past”, a proposal that was deemed “fundamental” by the members, metered parking areas in other parts of the town, better signage for parking, the creation of further loading and unloading areas at designated hours and the removal of the metal posts along Rua dos Pescadores and Rua do Barranco.

Geraldine Wilkinson from Smilers bar believes that the Câmara needs to address problems in Carvoeiro to help the tourism trade. “There are no parking spaces in the centre, so visitors drive in and drive out because they cannot park.”

“It is time for the residents and business owners of Carvoeiro to come together and work as a whole,” she added.

Jon Feasey from Burst Juice Bar said: “I think Carvoeiro looks better now but the changes are just not practical. Metered parking would help raise funds for the parish.”

António Lopes, owner of Casa Tilinha, a clothes shop established in Carvoeiro since 1940, said: “We hope this commission will help give residents and business owners a voice.  Since the redevelopment works, many visitors have been put off by the lack of parking spaces and choose to go elsewhere.”

Carvoeiro resident José Assunção represented the PSD party, the ruling party at the Câmara, at the meeting. He said: “With the reduced amount of property tax being collected by the Câmara, there is not as much money available for projects.

“We cannot blame fewer tourists on the new layout of the town centre alone,” he added. “It’s been a bad season in the village, like everywhere else.”

Lagoa’s public works councillor Jaime Botelho told the Algarve Resident on Wednesday morning: “Repairs on the damaged paving slabs by the square are due to start tomorrow (Thursday, February 25) and will last for one week.”

Jaime Botelho was not aware of the newly founded commission. However, he said: “If proposals are submitted to the Câmara, they will be seen by the President, who will respond to them.”

A meeting to begin the official signing of the proposals by the commission was held on Wednesday morning at the Carvoeiro Parish Council building. More than 40 people attended the signing, with the document now being made available for other members of the community to sign and show their support. The deadline for receiving signatures is this Sunday (February 28). Copies can be found in Pastelaria Central, Smiler’s bar, Casa Globo paper shop and the pharmacy in Carvoeiro.