«Pride» in Olhão is the legacy that António Pina says he leaves to the people of Olhão

Mayor of Olhão took stock of the (almost) three terms at the head of the municipality, about a year before passing the testimony

Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The main legacy he will leave to the people of Olhão and to Olhão, after 12 years as mayor, is «pride in his city and his municipality», but António Miguel Pina says he also leaves a municipality with a renovated school park and a large responsiveness, as well as work done in housing – which, even so, is an area where much remains to be done.

In an interview with Sul Informação, António Miguel Pina, who is entering the final stretch of his third consecutive term as head of the Chamber of Olhão - which, by law, prevents him from running again -, took stock of his performance, while President of the Chamber, highlighting, from the outset, the growth of tourism and the notoriety of the city and the municipality, nationally, but also internationally.

«Today, people from Olhar, those from the Algarve and even those who visit us, allow me to be immodest, look at the management of these last two, three terms as something that transformed the municipality. Olhão was a land that “smelled bad”, which was seen with some disdain, in addition to other clichés that I don't want to say (laughs)», he adds.

But, «suddenly, with the work of everyone, with the work of businesspeople and with the work of the municipality – whether with the urban rehabilitation it carried out, but also with the way it communicated the magic of the municipality – we changed!».

“He who was the ugly duckling The region has become one of the parts of the territory where people like to live, where people like to visit, where they like to stay, go to dinner, have lunch, go for a walk in the Ria Formosa. I think that, above all, what we leave to the people of Olhão is pride, that is the main legacy. Today, the people of Olhão are proud of their city,” he says.

Basically, Olhão «became fashionable», which brought many people from outside, namely new inhabitants to the typical neighborhoods of Barreta and Levante, located opposite the Ria Formosa and the Municipal Markets, who bought and renovated houses – and even created new businesses.


Photo: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação


This transformation was good, in António Miguel Pina's view.

«It's a good thing these people came, because the people from Olhão didn't live here, because they stopped wanting to live in these neighborhoods», he says.

The mayor of Olhão even considers «this lament that we sometimes hear about “oh, oh, oh, the historic centers are left without native people” to be exaggerated”.

«It's normal, because sometimes it's not easy to live in these types of houses, which are cramped, and in areas where parking is not possible. And the new generations moved to the outskirts, to subdivisions, houses, apartments where they have a basement with parking, where they have elevators, where they have other conditions», he believes.

«These historic areas are, in a way, charming, but to live parts of the year, when we are already at a stage of life where it is often just a couple, where, with a shopping bag, you can do your day-to-day life. day. You don't have to have a car, you don't have to have somewhere to park», he adds.

Despite highlighting that there are people from Olhão who are "returning" to these neighborhoods, mainly older couples, he admits that house prices in these areas are beginning to be prohibitive for many inhabitants of the municipality and the region and that, often, they are only investors from abroad who “have the capacity to buy and rehabilitate these houses”.

Almost at the time of departure, despite stating that he had no regrets about not being able to fulfill “all the dreams” he had, because “it’s part of it”, he points out housing as the area in which the most work remained to be done, despite having progressed constructions.

«Even before talking about this issue of the lack of housing, we were already building houses at controlled costs. The times of things... it's almost a mandate for works of this scale. There is more time to provide the quick and urgent response that people need in housing. In other words, halfway through our mandates, we realized that we had a serious problem and that it had gotten worse in recent years,” he admits.

«We started the housing process, but we are no longer going to finish it. But this is a large-scale work that will certainly be the center of the next mandates", namely "the project to build 300 homes in the old lithograph", houses that should be destined for affordable rental, very focused on families and young people from the lower middle class (but not only).

In other words, it will be «the next mayors who will have to deal» with these investments, although, until they see it, they lack «instruments for this».

And the mayor of Olhão explains why: «from a territorial point of view, it seems to me that it will be easier to acquire land at much lower prices, taking into account the possibility that the municipality has to decide on changing the use of the soil, that is, using rustic and agricultural soil to be able to build. There is a lack of a financial instrument».

«There were some lines here from the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), but it is necessary to create an instrument that allows municipalities to go into millions of debts. We are talking about many millions… these 300 new homes, if everything is for rent [affordable rents], we will be talking about 70 or 80 million euros. And there are only 300! Maybe the municipality needs another 700. It is necessary to be able to manage this debt, if the strategy is to have public housing for rent, which I think it should be. But this means that we have to be able to manage a tremendous debt, which will be paid off, but over 30 or 35 years».


Antonio Miguel Pina


António Miguel Pina highlights, on the other hand, the work that was done in the area of ​​education, «which was by far our biggest investment, not the one we made on the Riverside Front», of requalifying the Pescador Olhanense and Patrão Joaquim Lopes gardens.

«We managed to renew the school park, which was a challenge, we are increasing pre-school, leaving a network with almost 100% coverage», he highlights.

To complete the preschool network, “I would say there are 24 more classrooms left. Six will start right away, we are planning 12 more, there are only six more left to go».

«We invested at least around 15 million euros in schools. We went around almost all the schools. At Paula Nogueira alone, it was 5 million euros. And the rehabilitation of Basic School nº 1 will now begin. There are almost 20 classrooms, plus the construction of a pre-school, which involves another one and a half million in investment. That, yes, was our focus, we are doing very well in the area of ​​education», he concludes.



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