Sports for all

In an unusual move, private building company Oceânico has combined forces with the Junta de Freguesia da Luz and the Câmara Municipal de Lagos to build an outdoor multi-sports complex in Luz for the use of both the general public and private residents of the surrounding condominium.

The Estrela da Luz development contains 146 apartments and the facilities built for residents include a court for basketball, volleyball, football and handball. There will also be a swimming pool and art gallery on the site when the entire phase is completed in 2005.

It is rare for a property development company to open the doors of its private facilities to the general public, so The Resident reporter, George Fletcher, went to the official opening of the sports complex to find out the thinking behind the move.

“We are a fairly new company and have had three very successful years since we started up,” Jorge Santos from Oceânico Leisure explained. “We are currently in the process of building three separate phases of a new development and this (Estrela da Luz) is one we are very excited about because of the fact that our facilities are not limited exclusively to residents of the resort. Our main focus is to improve the facilities offered in the Luz community and, by combining our efforts with Lagos Câmara and the Junta de Freguesia da Luz, we have made something different and special.”

The company’s philosophy for the development was that it was time to give something back to the community. But, often, the whole point of purchasing an apartment in a condominium is to ensure that the facilities are private and uncrowded. However, according to Jorge, this is not an issue in this case. “We have already sold 80 per cent of the apartments and penthouses of Estrela da Luz,” he commented. “Each person bought their properties in full awareness of the uniqueness of this development.”

The sports facilities will operate on a rota, which will mean the general public and the private residents have access to the facilities at different times. The Junta de Freguesia will manage and co-ordinate the use of the sports facility and, when a school wishes to use it, they will have to reserve the facility as required, assuming it is available. According to a spokesperson from Lagos Câmara, it is an idea that has been discussed for 10 years, as Luz is severely lacking in sports facilities. “Combining our efforts with Oceânico ensures that everybody in the community can benefit,” he explained.

The sports complex opened recently, with school children from the surrounding area on hand for a football tournament and a knock about on the tennis courts. Dr. Júlio Barroso, the President of Lagos Câmara, said he was “thrilled” to be part of the team helping to improve the seaside town of Luz. “It is a very special occasion, and a dream come true, to be able to offer the facilities to the local community,” he commented. “The Câmara is very grateful, as a sports facility project has been planned for several years but, for various reasons, has not been possible until this partnership. The sports facility will be of great benefit to the young people of Luz and will allow them to improve their sporting ability and give them other social interests. The next Figo may be created here!” he joked.

Before the football tournament kicked off between the Escola Barlavento and Escola Primária da Luz, Simon Burges from Oceânico presented two cheques, totalling 23,000 euros, raised at different events from three charities – The John Alridge Charity Golf Tournament, the Oceânico Developments Annual Charity Golf Tournament and proceeds from the Oceânico Developments/EuroPro Tour Championship Final, which The Resident reported on last October.

The money will be split between NECI (Núcleo Escola Crianças Inadaptadas), a charity for disadvantaged children, and the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, a day centre charity. Maria Eduardo Oliveira, from NECI, whooped with joy when she received the cheque and jumped up and down holding it high in the air for all to see while onlookers clapped and cheered. She was not the only delighted person at the complex. Children from the local primary schools were ‘over the moon’ at the prospect of utilising all the new facilities.