Lagos council has decided to examine the government’s new plan to lease the Forte da Meia Praia, known more correctly as Forte de São Roque, to a commercial enterprise in the Revive programme.
Aware that the monument on Meia Praia beach is on the government’s first list of 30 national monuments that are to be leased from between 30 and 50 years to corporate owners, the council is going to make a comment.
Councillors suddenly seem concerned that the fort, in a shameful state of repair, is to be snatched from under their noses and have started to make statements about its historical importance and the fact that in 2014 the fort was classified as a monument of public interest.
Built in the second half of the seventeenth century, the fort was part of a network of military installations defending the region against potential invaders, pirates and privateers.
The fort was severely damaged by the 1755 earthquake and has needed care and attention ever since, something the council has resolutely failed to undertake.
The fort was controlled by the council until it became State controlled in the nineteenth century.
More recently there have been attempts to have the fort handed back to the council as there appear to be no records kept of the original transfer.
The council now is saying that it would have done something to repair and maintain the fort if it owned it and had a plan to turn it into a museum or centre for environmental activities.
Now the government is to hand the fort over to a private company to turn it into a tourist related property and the council seems unable to halt the new Revive scheme which aims to turn abandoned monuments in tourist sites so as to "monetise and renovate the buildings and open them up to citizens, using private funds," according to the Minister of the Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral,