Your daily news portal

Posted by portugalpress on September 14, 2018

Ria Formosa islanders on the Culatra community of Farol are up-in-arms over a guest article published in this week’s edition of the Algarve Resident.

Penned by Charles Frew, managing director of a multi-disciplinary company based in Hong Kong, it seems, they say, to be “trying to blame islanders” for debris left on the island following enforced demolitions.

“It looks like a new campaign against us”, said furious islander Vanessa Morgado. “Now people are coming here, taking photographs, not talking to any of us and writing what they want.

“These words have to be challenged”, she stressed.

Frew dubbed what he called “action committed by some homeowners” as “disturbing and completely unacceptable”.

“It seems their belief is that they have a given right to protect their shoreline property with shambolic and totally illegal hard engineering experiments that make the beach resemble more like the Lebanon coastline”, he continued.

“Construction rubble has been partially buried by beach sand and used for house foundations, in the hope that ‘out of sight out of mind’ avoids the need to dispose of any waste properly or of having to dump it in deeper water. As the sand erodes, the full extent of this is blatantly apparent and larger chunks of concrete end up being used as anchor points”.

Frew talked about “dumpy/ rice bags packed with yet more construction waste placed in straight lines to make wave erosion barriers” as “both illegal and visually appalling”.

But as Vanessa Morgado, a leading light in the fight to officially recognise islanders rights to their homes, “why didn’t he try and talk to any of us?”

“This man has completely misunderstood the situation.

“The rubble he is talking about is what has been left by the authorities of the properties they bulldozed!

“We spend our lives trying to look after this island! Every summer we band together to try and clean things up.

“I wrote only a few weeks ago that for those who see a beach littered with broken masonry, for us who live here it is testimony to lives that have been destroyed.

“On August 21 we managed to gather more debris created by those who, in the name of the environment, demolished lives and left them behind as rubbish”.

“It is absolutely true that we have been leaving bags on the shoreline, but did this pseudo-journalist not try and discover why?

“First, they are not ‘dumpy rice bags’: they are bags used for transporting shellfish and they have have much greater resistance.

“Second, we placed them there because during the last demolitions, Polis Litoral displaced sand to such an extent that yet again the sea has been allowed to encroach.

“It is always the same! We try and protect our island; the authorities destroy it!”

“I have to say this in the name of everyone on Farol”, Vanessa concluded. “Please explain to this man that if he had spoken to any resident here, he would have understood the reasons behind the sights he seems to consider so terrible.

“This article was too much! We have had it with people who think we’re “taking advantage of what belongs to everyone”. What we are doing is defending our island. And when we carry out clean-ups, we’re left on our own to do them. No one else turns up to help”.

As to the wider issue of the islanders’ futures, this is meant to be under discussion.

No further demolitions will be sanctioned, homeowners have been told, until a new coastal plan is decided. But few believe their problems are over. Much more likely seems that authorities are ‘leaving the subject’ until after next year’s elections, and then the issue of what has been described as Ria Formosa’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ will reappear with avengeance.

“We are under no illusions”, said Vanessa, representing campaign group SOS Ria Formosa. “That’s why negative articles like these cause us so much distress”.

Image: a photo of islanders involved in the recent clean up of spilled palm oil out to sea which washed up onto the beaches