Opposition to the construction of hotels in João de Arens guarantees that "it will not lower the tone"

Group of citizens “responded” to the project's promoters with an open letter

The Environmental Citizenship Group “The Last Window to the Sea” “will not lower the tone” of the challenge to the project that foresees the construction of three hotels in Ponta de João de Arens, in Portimão, and which is under public consultation.

In an open letter, which appeared as a result from the interview by João Jacinto, one of the project's promoters, to the Sul Informação, the movement emphasizes that, contrary to what the representative of the Areia Feliz company says, «any hotel project for João de Arens is and will always be, without any doubt, a “confrontational project” for us and for many people from Portimo».

João Jacinto stated, in an interview with our newspaper, that “it doesn't cross the minds” of the promoters “that the project should be failed again. In a state of law, that would make no sense at all».

In addition, he added, "we have been very careful and rigorous in the project, we have scrupulously corrected all the issues that led to the rejection of the first EIA [in 2019] and we are in the process of rehabilitating and taking care of the existing landscape. There will always be suggestions, or small repairs to the project, but it doesn't occur to us that there is a lead».

However, for the citizens' movement, “for those who put the benefit of a concrete project above the greater collective, environmental and identity benefit, “a lead” will never cross their minds. That's a fact».

The opinion of the citizens' group on the alleged correction of the problems that led to the lead by the CCDR of the first Environmental Impact Study of UP3, last year, «is precisely the opposite. This project, again, has little or nothing. There are as many or more inconsistencies than in the previous project», they guarantee.

One of the issues raised by the lawyer Rui Amores, who is part of this group of citizens, is that “one of the companies that own a parcel of land, with about 50 hectares, is insolvent and under this insolvency the land is being sold, as if nothing were. As if there was no urbanization plan, as if there was no EIA process in progress».

An issue that the project's promoters clarified to the Sul Informação. “There is no hidden letter”, they guarantee.

«The future H3 hotel will be built on a plot that results from the joining of 2 plots. One from Areia Feliz Lda and the other from Massa Bankrupt from EstorilInveste, whose judicial manager is following the instructions of the judge in the case and proceeding to the sale by auction. Which may or may not happen. This information is contained in the files'.

This land, owned by EstorilInveste, «has a mortgage that is currently held by Finangeste (before it was Banif and then Santander)» and «whoever buys this land will have 50% of the future plot that will be constituted following the process of licensing the subdivision and of the environmental impact statement'.

The Environmental Citizenship Group “The Last Window to the Sea” also criticizes the video presented by the project's promoters “whose sole purpose is to promote and justify the establishment of hotels, visual manipulation is evident”.

Ana Marta Costa, a biologist cited by the movement, says that “the video and images taken by the promoters make the buildings that look like glass in a dense forest, remain hidden among the pine trees that, by magic, gain more meters and multiply in a green thicket that swallows up the small glass buildings».

For Ana Marta Costa, «it's incredible how in the João d'Arens forest, where the stone pines or Aleppo do not exceed 5-6 meters, there are no buildings of 12 meters. It would be a mathematical hallucination to say that they are well observed from the sea, the road and everywhere. The concrete work of years and decades approved by the city's political power would thus continue in eternal perpetuation, contributing to the uninterrupted de-characterization of the coast of Portimão, covering the last green window to the sea with cement».

The movement recalls that "the project was rejected because the CCDR heard the population in the Public Consultation, heard Science, Law and Urbanism, scientific opinions, the 2.000 signatures, environmental and legal opinions that attested to the non-conformity of the project" .

In the open letter, the group says that, in the environmental impact statement, the CCDR wrote that “given the natural environment and the uniqueness and fragility of the coastal front (…) landscape management in this sector of the coastal territory implies the need to protection of its structuring matrix and its identity».

Now, for the movement, "there is no misunderstanding here, as the representative of one of the prosecutors alleges, but serious fundamental issues that cannot be overcome".

Also, according to the citizens who are against the project, the reduction in the maximum height of the buildings was reduced from 15 to 12 meters “because the 15 meters violated the urbanization plan, so the reduction was a legal imposition and not a “benefit” of the promoters. ».

For the group of citizens, «the impact on the landscape of the three buildings and all the associated infrastructure such as access roads, parking, swimming pools and others is enormous» and «the urban parameters presented by the developers and their «”pseudo-reduction ” are false and continue to violate the Urbanization Plan”.

In the open letter, opponents of the project say that "the promoter also wants to create a distorted and negative image of the Mata de João D'Arens to justify its pseudo-beneficial presence."

However, defends the group of citizens, «we don't need, as people from Portimão, private individuals to create a scenic route. It already exists. It was Nature who gave it to us. To improve and make a natural area like João de Arens a safer area for visitors, there is the Portimão City Council».

The civic movement believes "that the urbanization plan should have already been suspended for representing an environmental attack" and that, therefore, "it makes no sense for our contestation to diminish".

«Let's not lower the tone. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. Our tone will always be loud and loud so that we are heard from North to South of the country», they guarantee.

Since the opening of the public consultation for the renewed project, on May 7, there have already been 26 contributions to the Participate portal, with the deadline extended to June 19th.


Read the full letter here



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