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Decision made on Salgados development

salgados aerialThe State Secretary for the Environment has made up his mind on the controversial Salgados development in the Silves area, not that he has let anyone know yet.

The proposed Finalgarve development has provoked an unparalleled 22,000 signature international petition demanding that the area remains as a wildlife haven and important resting and breeding ground for indigenous and migrating birds.

A recent visit by bird expert and TV personality Bill Oddie confirmed the importance of this natural area, the last such green space adjoining the coast in the central Algarve. Oddie, no stranger to the Algarve, asked why it was felt necessary to add another massive tourist development for summer tourists when the birdwatching fraternity would flock to the area in the off season should it be remodelled and promoted as birding venue.

An Environmental Impact Study that covered only a part of the area to be built on was commissioned by Finalgarve, delivered to the CCDR and passed to the Secretary of State for his decision. The public consultation phase saw over 700 emails against the development of hotels, apartments and an 18-hole golf course over an estimated 350 hectares, most of which the developer does not actually own but hope to compulsorily purchase.

The change of local mayor seems to have had little affect as Rosa Palma, who took over from the interim mayor, is said to be against the development but has her own internal problems with no majority in the council and the opposition parties now ganging up to frustrate her plans for the Silves area. She refers to the Salgados area as an ecological oasis, but may now be powerless to halt the process should the decision be for construction, and the resulting destruction of this countryside zone.

Everything now depends on the State Secretary Paulo da Silva Lemos’s decision. On the one hand the government thinks it needs large building projects to create employment, on the other the tourism sector wants to develop projects and attractions that bring in off-season tourism in specific niche sector, such as bird watching.

It is not known when the decision of the Secretary of State will be made public but this may mark the end of the largest environmental objection protest the country has seen. The Friends of Salgados campaigning group has fought tirelessly to protect and improve the site and the developer has stuck to its claims of open dialogue while treating local sentiment and interested parties with arrogance and contempt.


To sign the 'Save Salgados' petition, CLICK HERE


The 'Friends of Lagoa dos Salgados' platform includes the following organisations:

A Rocha, Aldeia, Algarve123, www.algarvedailynews.com, Almargem, Birding in Portugal, Birdwatching Algarve, LPN, Portugal Resident, ProActiveTur, Quercus, SPEA

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+2 #5 Ann 2013-11-10 16:17
The Algarve local & federal government levels has a very bad reputation for having its wild life sanctuaries preserved.
Unlike other countries, where 'once a sanctuary always a sanctuary', there is a common thread of developing in wild or protected areas. I don't think we will be in for much of a surprise about the decision.
+2 #4 Ruth Hurst 2013-11-10 08:37
The passion for birding is huge in Portugal with 800 participants from all over the world at the last event in Sagres. A lot of money is made from bird sanctuaries in the UK with children being encouraged to take an interest at an early age. It could be the same here. The situation in Salgados is heartbreaking and very sad. One goes there one day to hear the sound of thousands and a big variety of happy birds and the next time one arrives to see quad bikes driving over the area. We have seen in just that one place, as many as forty different species on just one day. Don't let Portugal lose this opportunity to keep a national treasure.
+2 #3 Paul 2013-11-09 12:54
Let's see what the decision is first. In an opinion shared by 22,000 others, the Secretary of State has a chance to do something really good for this country, or alternatively show himself to be just another... politician.
-6 #2 gaz 2013-11-09 12:34
Quoting Hunt:
but should work commence, we will take ourselves elsewhere.

off you go then dont people need work!!
+7 #1 Hunt 2013-11-09 09:49
This will be a national disgrace if this development is approved. There is no need for more hotels, golf courses etc., and every need to preserve the open spaces.
We spend many months each year in the area specifically to be near this lagoon, but should work commence, we will take ourselves elsewhere.

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