Portimão: Opposition against the proposal linked to the Quinta da Rocha project approved by the PS

PSD and Left Bloc took public positions

The PSD, the Left Block and the CDS-PP voted against a proposal for a favorable decision by the municipal executive of Portimão (PS) on the Request for Prior Information regarding the new project for Quinta da Rocha, in the Ria de Alvor, which provides for the construction of a tourist development in this location. The proposal was approved at a Chamber meeting, on the 17th, with the PS's majority vote in this body.

The Chamber decided to approve the Request for Prior Information "subject to the maintenance of the current assumptions, that is, the validity of the DIA and the fulfillment of its conditions, in view of the filing of the administrative action in the TAF of Loulé".

An approval that deserves criticism from both the Left Bloc and the PSD, who consider, in taking public positions, that this proposal should never have received the green light from the executive, considering that this is a very controversial project, subject to requests for judicial challenge and to which several irregularities are pointed out.

In addition, they say, there is still no final decision on the Environmental Impact Assessment.

“The bill contains several illegalities and outstanding issues, which the Chamber should take into account. As there are two proceedings pending at the Administrative and Fiscal Court of Loulé, one of February 6, 2018, which requires the challenge of the approval of ICNF and CCDR/Algarve Opinions, and another dated March 6, 2020 , which requires the challenge of the CCDR/Algarve Environmental Impact Statement, in which the Chamber is cited as defendant and counter-interested, should await court decisions, considering the precautionary principle," defended the Left Block, in a note press release.

The blockists even cite the information dated May 4, from a city council technician, who argued that it is “convenient to wait for the conclusion of the process in Court, to assess the validity of the Environmental Impact Statement”.

On the other hand, the Bloc considers «very strange the positive opinions of the ICNF and the CCDR. As the “A Rocha” Association mentions, habitats recognized and protected by law were administratively eliminated”. On the other hand, «the company that carried out the study was hired by the promoter, which called into question the impartiality and independence of the study».

«Unofficial cartography is used, maps that are not homologated and are not registered with the National Geographic Information Service, where protected habitats, of priority conservation that are recognized by the Portuguese State and by the European Union, were “erased”, reinforced the BE.

For this reason, João Vasconcelos, the councilor of the Left Bloc of the Portimão Chamber and deputy to the Assembly of the Republic elected by the Algarve, promises to take the matter to Parliament and «request the presence in the Assembly of the Republic, to provide the necessary explanations, of the President of CCDR/Algarve, ICNF Regional Director for the Algarve and Secretary of State for the Environment and Territorial Planning, among other entities».

The PSD, on the other hand, speaks of the executive's “super-speed” in the approval of the Prior Information Request for the project and “expresses concern for a new demonstration of the complete lack of direction and urban planning strategy of the socialist executive”.

For the Social Democrats, in view of the approved proposal, the only path “is an evident responsible and conscientious lead due to the extraordinary environmental zone in question and the lack of legal and strategic force of the Municipality”.

For Carlos Gouveia Martins, president of the PSD Policy Commission of Portimão, it is “important to be aware of the importance of Portimão attracting promoters and quality private investment, we know the financial and economic benefits that this dynamic brings to a municipality like ours, however, you cannot put “the cart before the oxen”».

The social democrat argues that "in an area as sensitive in environmental terms as the Ria de Alvor", the PIP should not have been approved without the legal issue on the Environmental Impact Statement (DIA) being "previously settled in court".