The population of Ferragudo is afraid to see the scenario repeat itself 20 years later, but this time it affects even the main beaches near the village. The dredging of the project of Deepening and Widening of the Navigation Channel of the Port of Portimão, whose public discussion of the Environmental Impact Study, which lasted only 10 days, ends this Tuesday, August 11, foresee the deposition of sand – and perhaps sludge – taken from the bottom of the Arade river on the beaches of Molhe and of Pintadinho.
In the early 2000s, dredging in the port of Portimão resulted in the creation of huge piles of sand deposited on the Ferragudo river bank, creating a wall between Ferragudo and the estuary, and destroying the small inlet on the beach that is still called, today, Angrinha. At that time, the then Autonomous Junta dos Portos do Barlavento Algarvio had guaranteed that the situation of deposition of the sands would be temporary…but it became eternal and some areas of the banks, such as Angrinha, never went back to the way they were.
To fight against the works now being promoted by the Administration of the Ports of Sines and Algarve (APS), which are intended to deepen and widen the «current navigation channel, with a view to receiving cruise ships up to 334 meters in length» , the Facebook page «Ferragudo» stimulates a movement of citizens, called «No to destruction! Yes to preservation! Ferragudo since 1520».
The Parish Council of Ferragudo, led by the socialist Luís Veríssimo, has already taken a stand against the works.
For the movement, the question is simple: «we don't want gravel and mud on the beaches of Molhe and Ferragudo», moreover because, if the port is «for Portimão», the mud must be deposited «on the beaches of Portimão», there across the river.
Analyzing the Non-Technical Summary of the Environmental Impact Study, which is available by clicking here, it can be read that, in the dredging necessary to widen the channel and the rotation basin of cruise ships, “the total removal of about 4 630 000 cubic meters of sandy materials and other detrital materials” is foreseen. And where will these materials be deposited?
The unloading of materials as silt and others «without characteristics for deposit on beaches» will be carried out offshore, at sea, «in an area identified for this purpose in the Situation Plan of the Maritime Spatial Planning (PSOEM), for the deposit of dredged products at the Port of Portimão».
But a “small fraction of sand” will be “used for direct recharge of the beaches of Molhe and Pintadinho (40 cubic meters), which are located in the area of jurisdiction of the Port of Portimão”. According to the EIA, taking into account that these beaches are suffering "strong erosion", the deposition of sand will be a "local compensation measure". In other words, according to the EIA, gravel or mud is not expected to be deposited on the beaches of Ferragudo, only dredged sand of sufficient quality.
The remaining sands, «in view of the articulation with the APA/ARH Algarve», «with conditions to feed the beaches (1 020 000 m3)» should «also be released at various points along the coastline to feed other beaches in the Algarve region (Praia da Luz, Alvor, Meia Praia, Salgados, Ponta da Piedade)».
But it is not just the citizens' movement or the Parish Council of Ferragudo that have spoken out against the deposition of sand on the beaches of Molhe and Pintadinho. Surfers also contest this intention, claiming that Molhe beach has a «national or even world-class wave», being a «meeting point for surfers. surfing, bodyboarding e Stand up paddle». They are visitors who know “how much the existence of more or less sand affects the formation of waves at Molhe beach”.
However, the works are not limited to the deposition of sand. According to the EIA, "two marginal protection works will be built, one on the foundation of the Marinha Pier [on the Portimão side] and the other on the improvement / relocation of the existing marginal retention next to the Instituto de Socorro a Náufragos building" , in Ferragudo, on the Lagoa side.
«The retention work next to the ISN building aims to replace the existing spur and embankment, as a result of the widening of the channel, and consists in the creation of a new embankment in the rockfill slope. The marginal retention will be 210 meters long and will have a curvilinear layout that adapts to an existing project, dated 2004, for the arrangement of this marginal zone».
Despite the explanation given in the Study, the population of Ferragudo, with the Parish Council and the movement of citizens at its head, fears that the construction of a wall will result from this, which will forever destroy the beauty of the town's riverside area.
The movement also highlights the effects it considers harmful on the underwater archaeological heritage and on the biodiversity of the Arade estuary.
perpetuating the eternal war between the two neighboring councils, the president of the Junta de Ferragudo, in his participation in the public discussion phase of the Environmental Impact Study, argues that the proposal is «aimed at strengthening the municipality of Portimão at the expense of the municipality of Lagoa».
For, defends the mayor Luís Veríssimo, «just bear in mind the choice of Praia do Pintadinho and Praia do Molhe, not to mention Praia Grande or Praia da Angrinha, all in the parish of Ferragudo, in the municipality of Lagoa, as chosen for the deposition of sand from dredging, when they could choose Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau, Praia do Alemão or even Praia dos Três Irmãos».
The president of the Parish Council concludes: "the proposal is poorly substantiated, it presents, according to the analysis carried out in record time, a potentially very negative impact on several sectors, in these deposition zones".
The Parish Council, revealed Luís Veríssimo, is even “prepared for a bloc resignation, if our intentions are not heard and taken into account”. "Then come here and hold early elections, we will be prepared for a boycott," challenges the socialist mayor.
Demonstrating that the theme of dredging the Arade to create conditions in the Port of Portimão for the entry of larger cruise ships is not consensual, Portal Participa has already registered 45 participations, from collective entities and individual persons. In 10 days, with little or no disclosure of the existence of this public consultation, which takes place in the middle of August, it is a participation that demonstrates the great interest that the situation arouses.
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