“After evaluating this solution [transferring sand], there is no doubt that the bypass is the most suitable way and, therefore, we are going to do it,” he said João Pedro Matos Fernandes.
The study presented 12 August by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), evaluates four different sand transposition solutions and concludes, for Figueira da Foz, that although all the solutions are “technically and economically viable”, the fixed system is the one “that presents the best results in long term (30 years)”.
The study places the initial investment with the construction of the bypass at around 18 million € and a total cost, at 30 years, which includes operation and maintenance, of around 59 million €.
“Obviously what we have, for now, is an economic and environmental feasibility study. We have to transform it into a project, so that, quickly, in time for the next Community Support Framework, it can be financed”, stressed the minister.
In his speech during the session, Matos Fernandes said that in the next Community Support Framework [Portugal2030] “there are clearly funds to pay for this intervention” and that “even though it is large, it corresponds to around 8 percent of the available funds” of community funds for the Portuguese coast.
“It is obvious that this work will be done. And, for this reason, with this study done, let the project advance and clarify the doubts that we will have”, observed the government official.
The fixed system of mechanical sediment transposition, known as bypass, whose installation on the beach, next to the north of the port of Figueira da Foz, the civic movement SOS Cabedelo has defended for a decade, will be the first in Portugal and identical to another installed on the Australian Gold Coast.
“Definitely, Portuguese beaches are better than others because they are sandy beaches and that's what we want to have on the beach. And south of Figueira da Foz we have little sand”, argued Matos Fernandes, reaffirming his opposition to the “fake” sands.
“The interventions that were being made, in the sense of faking the coast, ended up bringing more problems than benefits. And, for this reason, it is essential to put sand on the beach”, defended the minister.
“If we can do it continuously and with fixed structures, we can achieve the same goal of having sand on the beaches, without going around, every year, to dredge and replace sand. That way we have a definitive solution that we can adjust to our own needs. This idea of one million cubic meters (m3) of sand per year was presented here, let's see, maybe there are years when more will be needed, others less, but we also have this flexibility, later, in the exploration of the mechanism itself that we are going to create here”, emphasized Matos Fernandes.