The Algarve’s environmental protection association, Almargem, is pressing ahead in a race to list the Salgados area near Armação de Pêra as a National Nature Reserve or a Protected Landscape to thwart a revived threat of a 4,000 bed tourist development in a project now owned by MillenniumBCP.
Almargem points out that the Salgados - Praia Grande ‘eco-resort’ now being offered for sale is exactly the same as it was in 2012, when the initial project was presented to, and approved by Silves council and the government.
The only discernible difference, says Almargem, is the attachment of the prefix ‘eco’ to the word 'resort' which is only there to add a ‘green’ label to deceive people that 3 hotels, several tourist villages and a golf course somehow is a green initiative.
Almargem has decided to move forward with a presentation to the Institute of Nature Conservation (ICNF) of a project to classify this entire area as a National Nature Reserve or a Protected Landscape.
The association also is sending information to key local, regional and national politicians “so that they can make the necessary efforts to ensure the area’s natural values are the number one priority and not the interests of real estate speculators.”
The current promoter of this long-running project is MilleniumBCP which ended up with the development project when Finalgarve (formerly Galilei, former SLN-BPN banking goup) finally went bust last year.
Finalgarve’s project, plonked onto a rare natural landscape, was resisted strongly in 2012 by environmentalists and the general public, helped by the Friends of Salgados*, and an online petition set up by birding expert Frank McClintock which so far has attracted a staggeriing 33,900 signatories from all over the world.
MillenniumBCP now finds itself in the environmental firing line and its addition of ‘eco’ to a project that so far has shown little regard to the natural environment immediately has placed the bank in opposition to many organisations that it needs on-side.
Almargem says it would really like to believe the ‘eco’ bit of the new name and that the new promoters actually mean there is a radical change in thinking for the area, but the environmental lobby, after all, is dealing with a bank which will try and squeeze as much money from the site’s sale as possible.
The environmentalists say that the Salgados - Praia Grande ‘eco-resort’ is just a repetition of so many other projects along the Algarve’s coastline and continues a pattern of past mistakes despite the tourist board insisting that the Algarve is a centre of tourism excellence.
MillenniumBPC and the environment
"We are consistently implementing a programme of supporting culture and are acting for local communities and the environment." read the 2016 management Board report from the President of Bank Millennium.
Millennium bcp has pursued an increasingly responsible business in the management of its environmental aspects and impacts, and therefore maintained its investment in minimising its ecological footprint by promoting the adoption of good practices in terms of energy consumption, gas emissions with greenhouse effect and consumption of natural resources. The Bank promotes eco-efficiency by investing in two priority areas, (the second one being) environmental awareness - raising involvement of the employees and customers in promoting the adoption of more responsible environmental practices.
*Friends of Salgados: A Rocha, Aldeia, algarvedailynews.com, Almargem, Birding in Portugal, Birdwatching Algarve, LPN, Portugal Resident, ProActiveTur, Quercus and SPEA