By: DAISY SAMPSON
A PROPOSED open sewage treatment plant in the Martinhal area near Sagres has been put on hold because of complaints by local people, developers and politicians.
Águas do Algarve (AdA) had planned to construct a much-needed new plant, referred to as an ETAR, in the Martinhal area.
Although all parties involved agreed that this was a very necessary project, the chosen location was disputed by many because it was to be built in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (PNSACV), a nature park on the western coast of the Algarve and Alentejo.
Pedro Vidoeira, whose family owns the land where the proposed treatment plant would be situated, has been fighting against the proposals for almost two years. The project was described by Pedro as being “the biggest environmental crime ever committed in the Sagres region”.
The Vidoeira family intend to give the land in question to the Vila do Bispo Câmara. “We are ready to give the plot in question to the Câmara as long as it is not used to build the open sewage plant,” Pedro Vidoeira told The Resident.
A meeting attended by representatives of all political parties of the Municipal Assembly, the President of Vila do Bispo Câmara, investors from the Martinhal Resort, the owners of the land and concerned locals discussed the proposals with members of the AdA on Friday.
The process used by the AdA in conducting surveys and their stance during the meeting was criticised by those in attendance. Previously, the AdA had maintained that the new treatment plant would not produce any pollution or discomfort to those in the area but this has been questioned by all that oppose this.
Chitra Stern of the Martinhal Beach Resort and Residences told The Resident that if the project had gone ahead “it would have been disastrous for the Sagres area” and said they were very thankful that the project would be relocated to another area.
They had a major interest in the project because it would have been less than 180 metres from their resort and believed it would have put the entire project in jeopardy. The Martinhal resort is expected to create 200 new jobs, a much needed boost of income for the Sagres region.
Although the ETAR is now on hold and a new location is being sought, Pedro Vidoeira is still sceptical about what will happen next.
“I am still very afraid that it may go ahead. The people in charge don’t care about the area, they just want to build in spite of all good sense,” he said.
Chitra Stern of the Martinhal Resort praised the political process that brought about the decision and said: “It was a very democratic process and the Municipal Assembly made the final decision that the ETAR would be relocated.”
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