The project that foresees the construction of three hotels, in Ponta de João de Arens, in Portimão, was reformulated and is again in public consultation, until the 19th of June, after the CCDR Algarve in May of last year given Unfavorable Environmental Impact Statement (DIA).
At the time, the Evaluation Committee considered that, «regardless of the measures proposed in the EIA for the mitigation, prevention and compensation of the identified impacts, the project does not meet the conditions to be made viable, namely with regard to factors such as Biodiversity and Landscape".
In addition to the «destruction of almost three hectares of one of the most representative nuclei of algarvian linaria, a highly pressured plant species, exclusive to the Barlavento Algarve and holder of protection status under the Natura 2000 network, irreversible impacts on the structure and scenic quality of the landscape are expected to compromise the identity of one of the areas that preserves the original features of the regional coastal landscape», considered the CCDR Algarve.
Factors for the unfavorable DIA were also the fact that «the construction of buildings and infrastructures» caused «an irreversible transformation of the landscape structure and the pattern of land use» and the «predictable scenic/visual impacts on its surroundings, which do not have been duly evaluated'.
To prevent the project, which now foresees the construction of 353 rooms, with a total of 706 beds, from being “lead” again, the promoters, who remain, introduced several changes, which can be consulted in the Environmental Impact Study Report , available on the Participa platform.
From the outset, the maximum number of rooms, the maximum implantation and construction areas, as well as the maximum height (height) of the buildings were reduced from 15 to 12 meters.
The area for the provision of Green Spaces and for Collective Use was increased, including space for the parking lot provided for in the Praia do Barranco das Canas Plan.
Another of the changes involves the 'relocation of the implantation polygons, in order to ensure that the only protected plant species is not affected (algarvian linaria) occurring in the area of the allotment operation'.
The relocation of the implantation polygons, say the promoters, was also thought “in order to reduce the visual impact and the alteration of the landscape”, and one of the hotels foreseen in the initial project was separated into “different buildings, with better adaptation to the terrain and better landscape integration».
The relocation of buildings also avoids, according to the new EIA, «interference with the natural drainage network and occupation of the water domain's easement areas».
The shipyards were relocated in this proposal to avoid 'servicing areas of the water domain or the occurrence of algarvian linaria».
The possibility of being born in Ponta João D'Arens one more hotel development raised, last year, before the CCDR Algarve's declaration of unfavorable environmental impact, a chorus of protests, and motivated the creation of a citizens' movement entitled “The Last Window to the Sea”.
The group that, in February of this year, requested at the Municipal Assembly of Portimão the suspension of the UP3 Subdivision, which foresees the construction of these hotels, remains attentive and has already reacted to the new project for that area.
In a statement sent to Sul Informação, the movement emphasizes that «the Mediterranean forest of João de Arens, in Portimão, is once again under threat, two months before the controversial Loteamento da UP3 expires automatically by law».
For these citizens, this is a new attempt to destroy what is «the “Last Window to the Sea” of the municipality of Portimão».
The presentation of this new allotment project “is a desperate attempt to prevent the automatic application of the law that would save once and for all this territorial wealth of the municipality of Portimão”, they add.
For the citizens' movement, the “new project is full of administrative inconsistencies and visual illusions. There is no substantial change in the constructive load. Concrete continues to dominate, camouflaged in questionable greens. The fundamental issues that threaten the Environment remain in their entirety, since the last Unfavorable Environmental Impact Statement, on 3 May 2019».
The group calls "all civil society to unite around this cause" and asks for "a new mobilization for public consultation."
This group, during the public consultation phase for the first project, which took place last year, between 4 and 15 March, presented a text signed by 1444 people accompanied by three technical opinions: from the League for the Protection of Nature (LPN) and two specialists, one in the area of plant biology (invasive), the other in geology (Algarvian coast).
At the time, 176 comments were received via the Participa portal, while another 393 were sent directly to the CCDR Algarve email. Two Non-Governmental Environmental Organizations also participated in this process: LPN and the Almargem.
Now, since the opening of the public consultation for the renewed project, on May 7th, there have already been 4 contributions on the portal Participate, with the deadline extended to June 19th.
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