The demolition of homes and shacks on São Lourenço Island in the Ria Formosa began today in the continuing purge of the inconvenient and the poor.
The families that live on this island are waiting to be re-housed or at least offered temporary accommodation in this close to freezing weather but nothing has been prepared of offered by Olhão council, according to local pressure group Olhão Livre, which asks mayor António Pina where these displaced people are meant to be sleeping from now on.
Olhão council staff, Olhão parish council's staff and members of the municipal assembly of Olhão appear stuck for words as to the care and shelter on offer for these displaced people.
Meanwhile the diggers continue their unpleasant task as part of the Polis plan to rid the islands of inconvenient shellfishermen and fishing huts, replacing them with carefully landscaped beaches and dunes in a multi-million euro project to return these islands to state control.
In the past, Olhão Livre has picked various examples of buildings that have been built illegally within 50 metres from the sea in the ‘public maritime domain’ - the law being used to demolish islanders’ properties.
Recent examples have been slected in Fuseta and Quinta do Lago which have substantial properties within the 50 metre limit. Opponents of the island clearances say that there is one law for the poor, and quite another for the rich – an assertion that has not yet successfully been countered.
Today’s choice which looks to observers as totally illegal is a property almost on the sand at Salema beach where this rather fine home is nearing completion.
Not only is this building on a cliff that looks like it is about to collapse, the ‘aviso’ notice is blank and the property is within a national park, as seen in the pictures below from the Al Gharb Facebook page
The Salema property is within the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, in the Vila do Bispo council area and questions will now be asked as to why this project has been given permission and who is the registered owner.
The ‘aviso’ notice should note when the construction was approved, who is the owner of the house, the surface area, who approved the construction, the builder, the permit number and the construction period.
Without this document being on display it is impossible to see if the project is a new build, an amplification or a renovation and whether it is legal or illegal.
Olhão Livre asks when the Portuguese Environment Agency will visit the building, what is the CCDR-Algarve’s opinion on this construction, what is the Government view on this construction as it is within the Dominio Publico Maritimo, what does Quercus and the other eco-organisations defending the environment have to say as the building is within a Natural Park?
There are plenty of other examples of new illegal building going on and the point being made by Olhão Livre is that the Ria Formosa island population can be displaced with impunity yet other illegal construction is continuing along the Algarve seemingly with official sanction.