Algarve environmental organisation, Almargem, has called on the public to help in a campaign to put a stop to the ‘Salgados - Praia Grande ‘eco’-Resort’ near Galé.
Almargem asks that everyone who prefers open countryside and nature to more yet hotels and golf courses, to help change the hearts and minds of those in power.
The project's sales agent CBRE and owner MillenniumBPC so far have refused to answer some pretty basic press questions so, while they are deciding what to do next, Almargem has started an email campaign and asks everyone that is concerned about the environment to email:
Exmo. Sr. Presidente da Assembleia Municipal de Silves
Exmo. Sr. Presidente da CCDR-Algarve
Exmo. Sr. Presidente do ICNF
Exmo. Sr. Ministro do Ambiente
Exmo. Sr. Presidente da Assembleia da República
Exmo. Sr. Primeiro-Ministro
Exmo. Sr. Presidente da República
with the following letter in Portuguese and cut and paste this:
O troço costeiro entre as ribeiras de Espiche e de Alcantarilha, conhecido por Praia Grande (Silves), constitui um dos últimos redutos ainda não ocupados do litoral central do Algarve, albergando um conjunto excepcional de valores naturais e paisagísticos, únicos na região.
Para além das zonas húmidas da Lagoa dos Salgados e Sapais de Pêra, esta área alberga um interessante conjunto de valores, enquadrado num cenário rural, único no litoral do Algarve: uma extensa área de campos agrícolas, património cultural (antiga quinta, moinhos de vento), um notável cordão dunar consolidado, um pinhal sobre arriba fóssil e uma magnífica praia. Já foram por aqui observadas mais de 150 espécies de aves, sobretudo aquáticas, sendo um local muito conhecido e visitado por birdwatchers de todo o mundo. A flora é também muito interessante, salientando-se a presença de uma população de pombinhas (Linaria algarviana), uma planta endémica do Algarve.
Neste maravilhoso troço do litoral está prevista a construção de mais um grande empreendimento urbano-turístico (falaciosamente designado por Eco-Resort da Praia Grande), que inclui um campo de golfe rodeado de hotéis e blocos de apartamentos, totalizando cerca de 4 mil camas.
Venho assim solicitar e, desde já, agradecer os bons ofícios de V. Exa. no sentido de poder ser encontrada uma solução alternativa para este maravilhoso local, onde a preservação da natureza passe a ser a prioridade número um, eventualmente conciliada com um verdadeiro projecto de turismo sustentável e não massificador.
Com os meus melhores cumprimentos
This letter translates as:
“The coastal stretch between the streams of Espiche and Alcantarilha, known as Praia Grande (Silves), is one of the last unoccupied strongholds of the Algarve's central coast, housing an exceptional set of natural and scenic values, unique in the region.
In addition to the wetlands of the Lagoa dos Salgados and Sapais de Pêra, this area has an interesting set of values, set in a rural setting, unique in the Algarve coast: an extensive area of agricultural fields, cultural heritage (old farmhouse, windmills ), a remarkable consolidated dune belt, a pinewood above fossil and a magnificent beach. More than 150 species of birds have been observed here, mainly aquatic, being a well-known place and visited by birdwatchers from all over the world.
The flora is also very interesting, emphasizing the presence of a population of doves (Linaria algarviana), an endemic plant of the Algarve.
In this wonderful stretch of the coast, another large urban-tourist development is planned (deceptively called Eco-Resort of Praia Grande), which includes a golf course surrounded by hotels and apartment blocks, totaling about 4 thousand beds.
I would like to request and, at the outset, thank you for the good offices of your Excellency. In the sense of being able to find an alternative solution for this wonderful place, where the preservation of nature becomes the number one priority, possibly reconciled with a true sustainable and non-mass tourism project.”
“Perhaps in this way, together, we can change the terrible plans that exist for this wonderful place” adds Almargem which is a founder member of Save Salgados and fully behind the petition that already has over 34,000 signatories making this the largest nature petition that the Algarve has ever seen.
Click on the Save Salgados petition
For background to the fight to save Salgados, Click HERE
The questions put to MillenniumBPC’s property man, José Araújo,are as follows, and if he replies I will be delighted to print the responses - in the meantime, why not drop him a line expressing your considered opinion? email@example.com
Dear José Araújo, I have some questions for you concerning the Salgados - Praia Grande ‘eco’- Resort which I understand MillenniumBPC now controls.
I have asked questions of CBRE through the HK communications consultancy but Francisco Sottomayor issued only a refusal to answer anything:
“CBRE was contracted by MillenniumBCP for the sale of Praia Grande Eco-Resort, and we do not have to make any additional declarations regarding the project."
Thanks, Carlota Burnay, Account Director (HK Strategies)
I am sure you will agree that this is a totally inadequate response to the media when an Algarve and international public already have signed the Save Salgados petition (34,109 signatories) and there is huge public interest in the area.
Not wishing to include MillenniumBPC in the list of those entities involved which refuse to engage, I would like answers to the following questions:
Q. Your promotional video shows an area of Praia Grande (beach) shaded and linked to the built area and golf course, as if for exclusive use. Does the Salgados – Praia Grande ‘eco’- Resort intend to section off the dunes and the beach for exclusive use of the development's owners and guests?
Q. Can you tell me when this project was acquired by MillenniumBPC?
Q. Can you tell me whether the issues currently in court, especially the inadequate Environmental Impact Statement from Finalgarve, have been settled?
Q. Are you aware of the 'Save Salgados' petition with 34,109 signatures to date and are you aware that this is the largest environmental petition ever run for a regional issue?
Q. What are your views on the public desire to keep the land as it is, and to improve the area to become a zone for 'nature tourism' in accord with current regional thinking on tourism.
Q. Does MillenniumBPC, or any entity controlled by MillenniumBPC, now own the land on which the resort is planned to be built?
Q. Can you tell me how the addition of 'eco' to the resort's name makes this an 'eco' project. ie how does the resort plan now differ from the one originally submitted by Finalgarve?
Q. What are you views on the recent statement from Rosa Palma from Silves Câmara?
Q. Do you think that MillenniumBPC could suffer reputational damage for promoting the sale of this natural area for building development? If so, how will you work to prevent this?
Q. Do you think that your appointed agency, CBRE, by refusing to engage with the media, is acting in the best interests of MillenniumBPC and its shareholders? Do you intend to keep this agency or find another one?