Threatened Ria Formosa islanders band together to save family home on Faro Island

Threatened Ria Formosa islanders are once again on the warpath – this time for a family home on Faro Island which pays rates, and is connected to electricity and water.

Sociedade Polis – the environmental agency set up to preserve the nation’s coastline – wants to demolish the house, which it claims is illegal.

Locked in battle already with hundreds of islanders on Farol and Hangares nuclei, Polis is described as trying to press ahead with the demolition, even though the home is the only roof known to David Fernandes, the son of the original owners.

David’s parents currently rent social housing on the mainland, explains SOS Ria Formosa campaigner Vanessa Morgado.

“It never crossed their minds to put the house in his name as there is no law in Portugal that says if you leave your home to your children they run the risk of being ordered out of it and the place demolished simply because it is not in their name.”

Morgado has already tried to fight David’s case with Faro mayor Rogério Bacalhau, but he has shown himself to be in favour of government-backed Polis – and so the fight is on.

“We have to publicise David’s plight,” explained Vanessa.

One of Polis’ claims is said to be that David is “never at home” when officials come calling. But as Morgado explained, this is because Polis visits homes that it seeks to demolish during working hours when working people are generally at work.

“We have to propose that Polis should start working ‘extra’ hours,” she said. “That way they will find people at home.”

Meantime, David Fernandes’ papers clearly show he has lived his entire life at the property, she told us.

The Resident has attempted to get some clarification from Polis but the agency’s man-in-charge Sebastião Teixeira was out in the field on Monday, and locked in meetings on Tuesday.
Staff manning the switchboard said they had no idea whether Teixeira was intent on pressing ahead with demolitions when the government supporting them was expected to fall mid-week.

Meantime, SOS Ria Formosa – the campaign which has battled heroically to save fishermen’s and other islanders’ homes under threat of demolition from Polis – affirms it is “not asleep” and will continue to fight against all cases of injustice created by Polis, and campaign with people to “reverse determined decisions”.

SOS Ria Formosa’s online page adds that the PS Socialist party is committed to halting all demolitions on the Ria, as are other left-wing groups, including the PCP communist party and BE (Left Bloc).

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