José Carlos Rolo, Mayor of Albufeira, has presented his plans for the municipality leading up to 2023, explaining how through his leadership in the municipal executive the council will sow seeds for the future of Albufeira. Education, Housing and Social Action are the main priorities for the municipality.
Although some plans are already in place, “there is still a lot to do” he concedes, claiming that he will harness his “perfectionism” to evaluate the rest of his term as the head of the municipality.
The mayor took office after the tragic death of predecessor Carlos Silva e Sousa on February 22, 2018. Mr. Silva e Sousa steered the region’s largest council with good sense and fiscal discipline after a long period of poorly controlled expenditure and slack management. The results were impressive and a legacy to his enthusiasm and wide-ranging abilities. As so far, Mr. Rolo has succeeded in not straying too far from the expectations set by the previous mayor.
Mr. Rolo estimates that in total, investment in the municipality will come to around 150 million euros by 2023. Most of the projects he has in mind are already approved, others are in the tender phase or about to enter the initial stage of planning.
One of the projects which the mayor has commented on as being “very desired” in an interview with the Barlavento newspaper last year is the new Park of Fairs, Exhibitions and Congresses. Integrated in an up-and-coming area of ??the city, next to the Secondary School of Albufeira, the land was recently acquired by the City Council, for a value of 1.2 million euros. The mayor guarantees that, after all the necessary legal procedures, it is certain that it will be a reality.
The mayor also hinted at the renovation of several long complained about locations in the city going ahead. He gave an example of the Avenida Sá Carneiro and surrounding areas (known as the Oura area), which will be the target of an extensive intervention project. This project will cover an array of issues, which will include new traffic lights to promote “mobility and pedestrian accessibility, with conditioned traffic”, as well as a series of new footpaths, green spaces, leisure areas and tourist attractions in the Oura area.
Mr. Rolo admits that it will be a tough job, stating that it is “extremely difficult, but we have already presented it to traders and residents and we hope to start in October”, in a large investment of 13 million euros. Rua António Aleixo, in the Cerro Malpique area, will also benefit from extensive interventions in terms of additional lighting, parking and traffic reorganization, costing seven million euros.
Addditionally, in the popular Baixa de Albufeira, there is much to do “in terms of pavements and urban layout”, admitted the mayor. In this area, the intervention will also be extensive, covering a large area, with a budget for improvements of 10 million euros.
Furthermore, promoting environmental conscientiousness is a priority for any council, and Albufeira is no exception. Mr. Rolo claims that environmental issues are “on the agenda” and the municipality will take care of the city’s green spaces, “which are not many, but exist”.
All will be tended to and upgraded, with emphasis on the Jardim do Montechoro, once a prime meeting point in the city. New species of trees and vegetation will be planted and water from the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) will be reused for irrigation.
Lighting will also be targeted for improvement, with the transition from conventional lamps to LED technology to cut costs, “with consumption costs 60 percent lower”, which Rolo hopes to see fully implemented in the city in the next “three or four years”. An investment of around two million euros.
Nor will animals be forgotten. The council is set to find a new Animal Cemetery, Municipal Kennel, and a Canine Circuit in Vale de Pedras, works that will cost the Council’s coffers 750 thousand euros.
Another area of ??great importance is Education, which will absorb eight million euros from this budget.
“A hinge area of ??any society”, as the mayor, also a former teacher, explains that “10 years ago we had a boom in the improvement of schools, though the crisis left us with several empty rooms in the establishments. A lot of people left here and took potential young students with them. Now, with the improvement in economic conditions, there are many returns to the city and this will force us to rethink the needs of the establishments”, he concluded.
An extensive listing of Albufeira’s planned projects can be found HERE (in Portuguese)