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Progress for the people’s vehement call of action to save Alagoas Brancas

hope wetlandsSome closure may be in sight for the people’s online petition to Save Alagoas Brancas, the natural freshwater wetland area in Lagoa, which is a resting place for multiple species of migratory birds.

This comes following a call for action by the new mayor, who has protested that “nothing has changed” regarding his own council’s stance to have the site concreted over because this was the municipal plan (called the PDM) drawn up more than a decade ago. The glimmer of hope lies in the fact that a notice appeared in State newspaper Diário da República, saying public discussions on the current municipal plan are to open for a period of 45 days.

Starting on Friday of this week, “interested parties” will be given the ability to “present their complaints, observations, suggestions and requests for clarification”.

These should be via written letters “addressed to the president of the municipality”.

For those who lack the accumulated knowledge on this conflict that has been underway for the past few years, recent environmental studies and other documentation will be made available at the council’s ‘balcão único de município”) every working day between 9am and 4.30pm.

Information has also been put on the council’s website at www.cm-lagoa.pt, and can also be consulted at the borough’s parish council offices.

This exhaustive fight has seen council officials warned by experts that the municipal plan to urbanise the lagoon could have disastrous consequences.

They have warned that any kind of construction on the freshwater lagoon could lead to the area collapsing, and the contamination of aquifers that supply local farms and domestic boreholes.

Last month, new mayor Luís Encarnação was quoted as saying that the council wants to find a solution but needs to safeguard its position with the developer (believed to have connection with supermarket chain Sonae).

“There have to be compromises”, Encarnação told the Barlavento newspaper. “If the council decides to unilaterally suspend the developer’s rights, with no consideration for the law, it will be obliged to compensate the developer. This would probably mean spending a lot of money”.

On the other hand, PAN, who saw impressive growth in Sunday’s election, sees the situation in a different light, highlighting not only that the council can change the outdated municipal plan, but that it is morally obligated to, in the interests of protecting a vital natural environment.

Since PAN’s intervention, matters had gone silent, thus the recent development in the Alagoas Brancas fiasco points to a change.

Without a doubt campaigners have made progress in saving the wetland area.

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