“We will leave when there are conditions and solutions to the problems we presented to the council,” said the president of the Praia de Faro Municipal and Social Camping Users and Friends Association, Luís Arsénio, at a press conference.
In September 2018, the Faro City Council terminated the lending agreement signed in 2010 with the users’ association, giving the space a year to be vacated, with a view to commencing the requalification works on 1 October.
According to the association’s lawyer, João Botelheiro, the injunction was filed on 16 September and, if accepted, will stop the administrative act in question, before the effectiveness of this judicial appeal is judged.
The president of the association stressed that during the last year, he tried to enter into dialogue with the local authority, but did not find the executive open to “finding solutions to the serious problems that prevent” the exit of users, who currently occupy 140 lots.
According to Luís Arsénio, two people who have lived in the campsite for more than 25 years “are sick and have no financial means” to have their own housing or rent a house or room in the city.
“No way can they come here in 15 days and turn off the water or electricity. Any more serious problem or fatality that happens, is the sole responsibility of the mayor,” said the leader, accusing the municipality of not having listened to the users in question.
The association also claims that there are some caravans that are no longer able to leave because the bridge they entered on to the site on has since undergone refurbishment work which inhibits their vehicles from leaving.
The association also has doubts about the future for those who are being asked to leave: “Where are they going to be placed? On the public street in the city of Faro? Is it legal? Is it possible? It is not possible. So it has to be the Câmara that helps us solve these problems,” he said.
The campsite on the beach of Faro closed to the public in 2003, but continued to be used by those who were already there.
“Our legitimacy in being in this place is totally real. We did not occupy this space. This space was delivered to us through a lending contract,” said Luis Arsénio, explaining that the association has always defended its openness to the public - because there will be at least a hundred lots available - but the contract “imposes that it can only be occupied by those who were there at the time”.
The association’s leader protested against the idea that users are occupying the space and do not want to leave: “It has created a discomfort, that we have occupied this space and only want it for ourselves, it’s a lie,” he stressed.
The contract provided for the association to be in charge of all maintenance of the infrastructures, but Luís Arsénio stressed that “the complete replacement of many infrastructures, such as sanitation and the electrical part” was made.
An investment of “tens of thousands of Euros”, funded by the approximately 300 members of the association, which has an annual budget of 130,000 Euros guaranteed by membership dues.