11,7 million euros to change the riverside areas of Tavira

Four finished projects (or almost, almost), 11,7 million euros of planned investment, and the guarantee that it will […]

Four finished projects (or almost, almost), 11,7 million euros of planned investment, and the guarantee that there will even be money for all this…or, at least, for a large part. This is the summary of the presentation of the projects of the Sociedade Polis Litoral Ria Formosa for Tavira.

Let's go in parts: three of the projects are related to Quatro Águas and Ilha de Tavira, but it is already predicted that, at best, it will only be in the next year of 2013 that works will be completed.

The fourth project is the requalification of the waterfront between Pedras d'El-Rei and Santa Luzia, and, as it is cheaper (458 euros), it already has the project ready for execution, as well as funding applied to PO Algarve 21, and, on top of that, being, of all, the least complicated to put in the field, should be the one that will advance first.

Thus, the requalification of Quatro Águas, the improvement of the banks of Arraial Ferreira Neto and Ilha de Tavira, the intervention and requalification of Ilha de Tavira and The landscaping of the Santa Luzia seafront link to Pedras d'El Rei are projects in the municipality of Tavira, which are in the final stages of approval.

All of this was presented on Tuesday, in a very popular public session at the Municipal Library, by Valentina Calixto, president of Sociedade Polis Litoral Ria Formosa, Jorge Botelho, mayor, and the technicians responsible for the projects of the four interventions.

In Quatro Águas, the main pier is currently located, providing access to 600 thousand of the million people who visit Ilha de Tavira every year, located opposite, on the other side of the Ria Formosa. Here, the main novelty is the construction of a new, modern, safe pier, with all conditions and two floating jetties.


Quatro Águas: 4 million euros


According to the landscape architect Ana Paula Carvalho, coordinator of the project's team, the current pier dates back to the 50s and has structural and corrosion problems, which is why it will be demolished. The new one will be built by the Port and Maritime Transport Institute (IPTM), one of the numerous entities that had to be brought together within the scope of projects coordinated by Sociedade Polis.

But the requalification of Quatro Águas also involves improving the access road (from the curve of the warehouses), with the creation of a pedestrian and cycle path, the transformation of areas that are currently chaotic car parks into a public, pedestrian area, with trees and seating areas facing the estuary and the River Gilão, which flows into it.

It will also be built – finally! – the sanitation network, the bars and other support structures that exist there were relocated, and the current buildings of the GNR and the Maritime Police were improved. Everything to give a completely renewed face and, above all, orderly, to a place of great beauty, but also of great confusion, especially in summer.

The Quatro Águas project also provides for the creation of warehouses for the Clube Náutico and a dock for 54 boats, in front of the club's facilities. But for this, as revealed by the mayor of Tavira Jorge Botelho, "it is necessary to find a private partner who is willing to invest in the creation of this recreational dock." Precisely anticipating these contingencies, the project was divided into four blocks, the first of which will be the new wharf.

In the public session for the presentation of the Polis Society projects for Tavira, in relation to Quatro Águas, one of the questions posed by Alexandre Ferreira, concessionaire on Ilha de Tavira, was parking, as the intervention foresees the creation of only 221 parking spaces, all paid. “There are half a dozen dealerships on the island. I alone have 25 people working, 15 of whom have a car. How many places are there left for tourists, for people who come to the beach?”, he wanted to know.

The answer was first given by the engineer Poejo, from IPTM, who explained that «public river transport to the island will become a priority from Tavira and not from Quatro Águas, as now. It will be in Tavira that parking and mobility solutions will have to be found».

Ana Paula Carvalho added that the solution will have to go through, necessarily, by expanding the offer of public transport, whether land or river. «It is necessary to think about what is intended for Quatro Águas: a car deposit? Or requalification?» And mayor Jorge Botelho would say that this will involve the offer of a shuttle every five minutes, in the summer, between Tavira and Quatro Águas. “These are all issues that we are already thinking about and that we will have to resolve, together with other entities”.

The interventions foreseen in the project for Quatro Águas will cost, in total, 4 million euros, of which one million for the construction of the new wharf.


Margins of Arraial Ferreira Neto and Ilha de Tavira: 3,5 million euros


But on the other side of the Ria Formosa, on Ilha de Tavira, there are also interventions to be carried out, namely with the construction of a new loading and unloading dock for passengers, and another, also new, for garbage and goods.

All of this is foreseen in the project to improve the banks of Arraial Ferreira Neto and Ilha de Tavira, presented by landscape architect Paulo Simões, coordinator of the Rio Plano team.

As the name indicates, this redevelopment also extends to the north bank of the estuary, in front of Arraial Ferreira Neto, now transformed into the Hotel Albacora, where a new and orderly parking lot and walkways to the sand on the riverbank are planned, to prevent further trampling. But the bulk of the intervention will be on Ilha de Tavira.

A new wharf will be built here – with separate jetties for boats from Tavira and for those from Quatro Águas -, another for water taxis, emergencies and small boats, and another for perishable goods.

A little to the side, the so-called Cais do Lixo will also be repaired, as well as the picnic park. All lighting will be guaranteed by photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the passenger dock. As Paulo Simões pointed out, "we must not forget that we are on an island, where all supplies, even electricity, are difficult."

For this project, the estimated total cost is 3,5 million euros, with the construction of the piers – for passengers and for garbage – taking the largest share of the investment.


Tavira Island: 2 million euros


For Ilha de Tavira, there is yet another project, presented by the architects João Ferrão and João Costa Ribeiro, from the Extrastudio/Oficina dos Jardins consortium. This is also a complex intervention, as it involves many entities with tutelage, several concessionaires, interests that are not always converging. “There was a great effort to incorporate the input of everyone, the entities, the concessionaires and the people who use the beach”, guaranteed João Ferrão.

This project had already been presented before, but it underwent profound changes.

Thus, the restaurants and bars will be housed by a shading structure, inspired by the slats that characterize Tavira's coulter doors and windows. The objective, according to João Costa Ribeiro, is «to have here something that belongs to Tavira and nowhere else». Initially, for this lath, the architects had thought of using recycled plastic, “but it was very expensive”, so they opted for “a metallic structure, covered with wood, which guarantees a minimum of maintenance”.

Another big news is that the walkways will not be made of wood (a material that does not withstand the heavy summer load and that requires a lot of maintenance and therefore ends up being more expensive), but in concrete. In concrete? Yes, in concrete that is nothing more than a “solid area”, combined with other materials, the architects guarantee. But concrete pieces made with sand in the same color as the one on the island will be used, developed by a Portuguese company.

Bearing in mind that in Ilha de Tavira there will be a need to demolish what is there, build new public infrastructure (electricity, sanitation, water), five restaurants, a bar, a fast food restaurant, a toilet block, a medical center, as well as building a new wharf (in fact two), the great fear of the concessionaires – and of the City Council itself – is that the works will drag on and cause them to waste time, business and money. All the more so since the works, being carried out on an island, will have to take into account more or less imponderable factors, such as time and tides.

These concerns were not fully answered by Valentina Calixto, president of Polis Ria Formosa. But Jorge Botelho, despite the Chamber not having any responsibility for these interventions, would explain that "it will not all happen at the same time, it will be phased". Not least because, as will be seen later, the realization of projects depends “on the financing conditions”.

In the intervention to refurbish the Ilha de Tavira, the total investment will be two million euros, including what will be spent by the private sector, who will have to pay for the construction of its restaurants and bar.


Marginal from Santa Luzia to Pedras d'El Rei: 458 thousand euros


The fourth project is therefore the landscaping requalification of the Santa Luzia waterfront link to Pedras d'El Rei, under the responsibility of landscape architect Miguel Marques Pereira, from Land Design.

This is an intervention in an area where works had been carried out five years ago, but which proved to be somewhat inadequate for use and are now suffering from lack of maintenance.

On the other hand, there are entirely new proposals, such as the one that intends to organize and solve the problems at the intersection of Pedras d'El-Rei with the road to Santa Luzia and the access to the train at Praia do Barril. Today, confusion reigns in this place, divided between more or less cluttered parking, street vendors, people on foot.

Thus, the area will be reordered, with its use oriented towards pedestrian use. The parking lot that will be “stolen” in this way will be created along the promenade, on one side of the road. In this access, a pedestrian and cycling path will also be created – or rather improved and defined –, separated from the road and parking lot that accompanies it by an area of ​​bushes. To top it all off, and to make the area "more pleasant", a boulevard with stone pines will be created.

This intervention costs 458 thousand euros and he is just waiting to see his candidacy for PO Algarve 21 approved – which is “about to happen” – to advance the works.


And where does the money come from?


After all the projects had been presented, the question that hung in the room was: but where does the money come from?

Jorge Botelho, mayor, before anyone asked the question, replied: "one of the projects, from Santa Luzia to Pedras d'El-Rei, was nominated for PO Algarve 21 and we hope that the candidacy pays for everything."

As for the rest of the interventions, explained Valentina Calixto, there is the money that comes from the share capital of Sociedade Polis Litoral Ria Formosa, which, on the part of the State, is already fully paid up (paid). Therefore, on the part of the central administration, in this case, it will no longer be possible to argue with the crisis and budgetary restraint. The money is already there. And then, guaranteed the president of Polis, there are applications for community funds, which are also more or less guaranteed.

But, in the case of the share capital that the Chamber of Tavira is responsible for ensuring, there is still an important part. Jorge Botelho explained that the municipality is responsible for «realizing 2,25 million euros, of which 405 thousand have already been handed over to Sociedade Polis [to pay for the works on the Cabanas seafront, already built and inaugurated], with the remaining 1,6 millions". "There is money from the Polis Society, there is community money, and the 1,6 million that are due to us will be paid as projects are made and progressed."

"I don't want things in the project, I want things on the ground, made real!", guaranteed Botelho, to add, pointing to the model of Quatro Águas displayed in the living room, that "I already see at least one model, something I've never seen before." . “The Chamber, despite not being responsible for these works, is very, very committed to making these projects go forward”, he concluded.


And for when?


Valentina Calixto guaranteed that it is "in the final stage of the execution projects", admitting that it will take "another month to close all the projects, then another month for the final opinions of all entities, plus the tenders for the works, which may or may not involve the Court of Auditors». All this so that the works, at least in their bureaucratic phase, are launched "still in 2012". "If all goes well, we believe that the process, from an administrative point of view, will be concluded by the end of this year", guaranteed the president of Polis Ria Formosa.

As for the works themselves, Jorge Botelho recalled that «we have a year and a half to do this, which is the lifetime that is left to the Polis Society». And the time that remains for the current community support framework, from which a good part of the funds involved come.

It's a real race against the clock!


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