Expatica news

Controversy arises over phantom illegal wall built on the shores of Ria Formosa’s Culatra Island

A concrete structure around 30 meters long, one and a half meters wide, and one and a half meters high has been illegally built in recent days on the coast of Culatra Island, in the Farol region. The ugly construction is in plain sight, just a few steps from the bank of the Ria Formosa and right in the middle of the Natural Park.

The structure was built without any official permission and is therefore illegal. The wall is directly next to a house situated very close to the floating pier associated with the nearby lighthouse. Still, there did not seem to be much concern in concealing the works, as even formwork was used as well as a large amount of concrete, which meant transporting materials to the island.

In Farol the illegal construction is the talk of the town, it’s in a starkly visible area, but no one seems to know who is behind it. When some houses were demolished in that area, as part of the refurbishment intervention promoted by Polis Ria Formosa, a row of rubbish and rubble was also removed. This rubble was considered by the inhabitants of that area as a kind of protective barrier for the houses. Since the withdrawal of the rubble, people have unsuccessfully requested that a protective wall be built there.

The point is that the Farol residents on Culatra aren’t too fussed about the wall, since they are probably behind it anyway. This is basically a situation similar to what happened in 2013 when the Culatrna population decided to build a heliport without anyone’s permission. The heliport is still there six years after it was built and remains as illegal as it was originally.

Although the construction of the concrete wall took place in a very visible area of ??the island, the competent authorities, who were contacted by press, claim to know nothing.

Castelão Rodrigues, Algarve regional director of the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), said he was not aware of the situation. The ICNF doesn’t exactly have an untarnished reputation though, so whatever he claims must be taken with a grain of salt.

He explained that, at least since taking office in May, there has been no request for licensing of such a work in Farol.

Without requesting permission from the ICNF, which oversees the Ria Formosa Natural Park, no intervention can be made on the barrier islands. And in this case, if authorization had been sought, it is doubtful that it would be given, given the type of construction work that was done.

Mr. Rodrigues added that since this is an area “where the Eastern Coastal Planning Plan (POOC) applies”, thus the jurisdiction “belongs to the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA)”.

José Pacheco, who just so happens to be the director of APA in the Algarve, claimed that he could not give information on this specific case because he is out of service due to health reasons, however he advised to contact, wait for it… the ICNF, because it is “a Ria Formosa barrier island”.

The question is, who paid for this work? It will have cost hundreds, if not thousands of euros. But without knowing who made it, you can’t know who paid it.

Mr. Pacheco advised Sul Informação, who are the ones to have uncovered this case, to ask for further clarification from the APA. Upon further probing, an internal source said that “only very recently” had they received “knowledge of the construction”, and they are “still in the dark regarding who is behind this”. “The authorities will assess the situation,” said the same source.

Perhaps this new magically appearing concrete wall at the tip of Culatra island would make a good tourist attraction?