On Thursday, 8 April, Jonathan Silva, an activist and member of the DiEM25 movement and President of Solemage (https://www.solemage.org/), delivered a letter to Lagos Chamber signed by over 500 citizens who aim to protect Ponta da Piedade, an area of natural beauty in the Algarve.

According to Jonathan Silva, who was born and raised in Lagos, when he returned to the city during last year, he found a strange situation at the Ponta da Piedade with fences that did not respect the mandatory 50 metre spacing from the coast.

“The area less than 50 metres from the coast is considered to be of public domain, but it was closed without access to the public. I was shocked when I saw that. This is natural heritage and everyone has the right to enjoy it as I enjoyed it when I was younger.

“This movement is based on the desire to protect this area for future generations and for the current local community as well”, Jonathan Silva told The Portugal News.

Despite all the months in which the activist emailed Lagos chamber asking about the projects for Ponta da Piedade and were ignored, according to Jonathan Silva, the result “was positive.” “The mayor told us a lot of information about the projects. Many of the things seem to meet with what the community also wants - there are no plans for a hotel or for large constructions”, he said.

The campaign to save the cliffs of Ponta de Piedade started with three demands: Safe access to the cliffs by removing the fences; Withdrawal of any current development plans for the cliffs, or construction permits; A public consultation so the community can decide with the municipality what should happen with the area. “The community should have the right to vote for different project proposals as to how the area could best be used or developed”.

Lagos Council already reacted with a statement saying that they are developing a project to improve the area, which includes the construction of walkways for greater safety and security for citizens who enjoy the place.

The county also announced they will make parking spaces and will make the Ponta da Piedade more pedestrian to preserve native flora. They will also put public lighting, new viewpoints and a memorial in honour of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, said the municipality.

The chamber adds that these projects will cost approximately €2.7 million, of which 60 percent will be financed by the European Union.

Regarding the illegal fences placed less than 50 metres from the coast, which at the moment has a sign saying “for sale”, was placed by landowner, according to Jonathan, who also argues that this area of public domain cannot be sold. Therefore, the mayor told Jonathan that the county is already dealing with the owner.