Jornadas do Arade: four municipalities will meet with dredging on the agenda

The event culminated in a special Teia d'Ideias gathering, on Saturday night, with the words of the municipalities of Terras do Arade

The IV Jornadas do Arade ended on Saturday with the promise of a meeting between the municipalities of Terras do Arade, having as one of the main themes the dredging of that river.

Over two days of intense work, a SWOT analysis was carried out on the sub-region, the challenges to its fluvial and industrial heritage were discussed, projects between municipalities were made known and the mapping of the intangible cultural heritage was carried out.

The event culminated in a special Teia d'Ideias gathering, on Saturday night, with the words of the municipalities of Terras do Arade on the valorization of this common heritage.

The de-silting of the Arade River was one of the hot topics of the meeting, raised by the Municipality of Silves, represented there by councilor Tiago Raposo: “We have reached a moment when all four (territories) have to look, and with some urgency, for this while joint project of ours and the whole Algarve”.

The councilor commented that this dredging and the enlargement of the Port of Portimão channel are “interconnected” to the extent that “we do not just want the river to be navigable as far as Silves, we need that in Portimão there are also conditions to receive cruises and people with the smallest possible environmental impact”.

For Tiago Raposo, “there is a lack of joint interest, political will and funding” for a project of this size, both at the regional and national level.


The mayor of Lagoa indicated the unconditional support of the municipality for this project, adding that “it is not a new topic”. It dates back to 2002-03 and the idea was “to allow vessels to leave Portimão, from the pier next to the sardine restaurants, to avoid the first crossing of the road bridge, and go to Silves”.

At the time, Luís Encarnação “believed that we would all benefit from this”, but adds that “we were not able to leave the first meeting, because we did not understand where we were going to put the sands of dredging”.

The mayor concluded that, “when we move from theory to practice, we need to be open-minded and realize that we have to find solutions that are good for everyone”.


The Municipality of Monchique has a new executive and vice-president Humberto Sério recalls that, although Monchique “does not share a bank of the Arade River”, it contributes heavily to its flow, namely through the Ribeira de Boina and the dam of odelouca.

The Municipality assumes that it is “important to distance ourselves from what is inland, bringing us closer and closer to these coastal municipalities”. already about the
desanding, although Monchique does not benefit directly from this, Humberto Sério stressed that “one of the great projects we have are the walkways and the Interpretive Center on Cerro do Castelo do Alferce”, a former lookout post for the Castle of Silves, and that could get more visitors that way.

“There must be conditions for us to sit down and do a SWOT analysis, understanding the advantages and disadvantages for each municipality”, he suggests.

The councilor responsible for Urban Planning in the Municipality of Portimão, João Gambôa, said that the municipality has a “masterplan to finally develop its Riverside Zone”, as it now has that jurisdiction. The objective is to “turn the city towards the river” and one of the investments will be the creation of an intermodal platform “so that maritime tourism companies can operate to Silves and Benagil Caves”. But he has no doubt that “what we have to do is de-silt the Arade River because this is our communication channel”.

For João Gambôa, there is a “series of restrictions in territorial planning instruments and, even, a culture that has settled in Portugal that does not let us do anything” and, in his view, “this is not what develops heritage”. Intervention in heritage is what “makes it evolve and, if there is no investment, we cannot value it. We have this great difficulty in finding sustainable and coordinated solutions”, he defended.

The councilor added that “we cannot be innocent when we all talk about one Algarve” as we have “a scale that is too tilted towards the Sotavento” for the so-called Golden Triangle, considered the most prestigious area in the region, integrating Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura.

He argues that the Algarve thus has “two weights and two measures” and that “Arade can be the key to attracting other types of investments so that we can move towards a balanced whole, from Vila Real de Santo António to Vila do Bispo” .

The mayor of Lagoa left as a final note that “one of the great added value that we have in Arade, and that we have to know how to exploit, is the complementarity between these four municipalities that share the river among themselves”. Each of these territories has its own identity and agenda, but it should be “aware that there are things we can do that are common to all and that, from the synergies to be created, there is a feeling that everyone will win”.


A disquiet about “valuing what unites us”

During the closing speech of the event, Nuno Vieira, coordinator of the Jornadas do Arade, explained that “we try to be this voice of civil society to appeal to the four municipalities to grow together and for us to value ourselves as a sub-region, as we will gain a lot more with that”. The president of the Teia D'Impulsos association, the entity that organized the Conferences, stated that “Arade is a good excuse for us to get together” and that the message to be conveyed is to “value what unites us” .Luís Gonçalves also noted that “these Arade Days will effectively have a consequence, which will involve a meeting between the four municipalities, so that we can take a sustainable step of growth at the level of Arade”.

The IV Jornadas do Arade had the support of the Municipalities of Lagoa, Monchique, Portimão and Silves and the Parish Councils of Portimão, Alvor, Ferragudo and Monchique. From the Portimão Museum and Friends of the Portimão Museum, Algarve Wines, Adega do Convento do Paraíso, Faina, Delta Cafés, Intermarché, Alvor FM and Sul Informação.


Video summary of the Special Teia d'Ideias with the Municipalities: