Environmentalists, despite agreeing wholeheartedly with the concept of rural tourism behind a recent proposal, are continuing their battle to desperately save the green region of Quinta da Rocha on the Algarve coast, close to the Ria de Alvor, from being practically demolished.
The current project that has been proposed for Quinta da Rocha, which is the second, has led environmentalists to claim that “those behind the proposal insist on the repetition of some vices of the previous one. “
The second public consultation on the project for the creation of a tourist resort in Quinta da Rocha, which ended precisely today, the 17th of October, came after the previously proposed project had to be reformulated after being shot down by campaigners.
Close inspection of all the relevant documents attached to the previous proposal confirmed that the plan was likely a “trojan horse”, and campaigners feared that if the “watered down version” of the major touristic complex that was initially planned for the site was given the green-light, further building will undoubtedly follow.
These doubts expressed by campaigners in the past led to a second public consultation, which is the most recent one. Moreover, the environmental protection association which has been dedicated to studying and protecting the Ria de Alvor zone for decades participated in this public consultation and expressed much criticism, especially regarding what is concealed in the process by the promoters.
“Finally, Quinta da Rocha is the object of a project that, specifically regarding the concept of rural tourism, we classify as positive and that we consider to be compatible with some values of its natural and built heritage”, said A Rocha in a recent statement.
However, at the same time the association stated in a note signed by Marcial Felgueiras, executive director of the “A Rocha” environmental association, that “those pushing the project insist on repeating some vices of the previous administration, that consists of introducing false technical elements, ignoring the official cartographies of the Rede Natura 2000, and opting for presenting their own mappings”.
These falsified mappings show “the elimination of a priority conservation habitat, among other changes”.
Therefore, Mr. Felgueiras has warned that "with the history of these promoters it is only logical to anticipate that these cartographies intend to function as trojan horses", with the expectation that “with the approval of the project, wrongful changes to the official cartographies will be approved and made official."
The association also pointed out that “another false and particularly important element in this project is the allegation that Quinta da Rocha is only partially integrated in the rear area of the Terrestrial Protection Zone which, if true, would allow further constructions to be put forward in the future.”
In light of this, the A Rocha association argued that “the reality is that 99.9% of the property is inserted in the Terrestrial Protection Zone, where they are not allowed to carry out new constructions”, therefore demonstrating the prevalence of corruption and lies in the promoters’ claims.
The environmental protection association adds that it is their hope that “the competent authorities will not let these trojan horses pass, and must demand that these elements be corrected, so that repeated lies often do not change in to truths.” However, calling for council officials to demonstrate competence may be too much to ask.
Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that the company that has proposed to build the “Tourism in a Rural Area” project at Quinta da Rocha is Water View SA, which just so happens to be the successor of Butwell - Trading, Services and Investments, which changed its name in 2016 after being ordered to pay a high fine and to restore the natural assets it has destroyed over the years.
In early 2016, Butwell, headed by businessman Aprigio Santos, was rejected by the Portimão Council for its project aiming to build a Ria de Alvor Tourism Development Centre (NDT).