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Posted by portugalpress on November 05, 2018

It’s the latest ‘environmental war’ affecting fishing communities and scores of businesses, but it echoes of the struggles in the Algarve where historic communities are battling against an apparently intransigent government.

Today’s issues are playing out along a 117 km stretch of coastline in the far north, between Caminha (near the border with Spain) and Espinho, just below the city of Porto.

The battle centres on the POC-CE (initials for the Caminha-Espinho coastal plan) which calls for the demolition of hundreds of buildings, including Porto’s ‘iconic’ Edifíco Transparente - a massive glass structure built only 17 years ago by Porto City Council to commemorate its position as European City of Culture in 2001.

The project cost the council 7.5 million euros. But, according to the embryo POC-CE - described by the council’s director of urban planning as a document so “internally inconsistent” that its contents are “discredibalised” - Edifíco Transparente and umpteeen others that hold places in people’s hearts - if not lives - have to go due to the risk of “extreme weather phenomena” that could prompt flooding and increased coastal erosion.

Not surprisingly, seven mayors (six from along the stretch of coastline affected) are demanding a meeting with environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes as soon as possible.

This is largely because they have no faith in the ‘homework’ behind POC-CE.

Porto’s director of Urban Planning Isabel Martins has “drawn attention” to an alleged “internal inconsistency” that presents “incomprehensibly different lines” delineating coastal domain which “discredits the contents of the document itself”, writes Público.

The situation is as much a ‘mess’ as the ongoing battles in Ria Formosa where fishing communities are fighting to remain in place.

In the Algarve, the fight is about only three communities (Farol, Hangares and Armona). In this case, it is about 14, plus a well known disco, various restaurants and other viable businesses.

The draft POC-CE is now under a 60-day period of public consultation. A source for the environment ministry has told Público that “during this period all contributions will be collected and eventually included in the proposal”.

How this can possibly ‘work’ is what the various mayors mean to find out.