The councilors of PSD and CDU in the Viana do Castelo Chamber today requested an extraordinary meeting of the executive to discuss the felling of 20 trees foreseen in the contract for access to the sea port.
At issue is the construction of a roundabout for access to the city’s seaport, on Avenida do Cabedelo, in the parish of Darque, which should have started on Monday and which was seized by residents who contest the slaughter of about two dozens of the 170 trees (plane trees) in that artery.
Contacted today by the Lusa agency, the social-democratic councilor Cristina Veiga explained that the “joint” application was filed with the municipality today to “guarantee the quorum of one third of the elements that make up the municipal executive” of a socialist majority.
The objective of that session, he said, is to allow “clarifying aspects of the project that are not clear”.
“The president has already said that everything was transparent, approved at a chamber and municipal assembly meeting, but there are aspects that have not been clarified. Our perspective has always been to approve a work that is essential, in future terms, for the local economy. What was never very clear, in our view, and it was a big surprise, is this slaughter that is not mentioned in any document ”, explained the councilwoman who shares with PSD the council’s bench at Hermenegildo Costa.
Lusa attempted a reaction from the Viana do Castelo Chamber, but so far without success.
At stake is the construction, started in February 2019, of an 8.8-kilometer highway that will connect the commercial port to the node of Highway 28 (A28) in São Romão de Neiva, allowing the removal of heavy vehicles from the interior of urban roads.
The new accesses, claimed more than four decades ago, will have two carriageways 3.5 meters wide.
According to Cristina Veiga, the PSD “never had access to any environmental impact study”, despite admitting that “the issue of the slaughter of plane trees was implicit, but it should have been valued”.
“The way the process was conducted was unclear. The steps followed, but there were flaws and there were so many that it now culminates in this situation of the population being against the slaughter of the 20 plane trees. We will not cut down trees that are centuries old. They have their importance as an environmental heritage. There are factors that have to be considered and that were not ”, he reinforced, adding that“ the law gives the Mayor eight days, after receiving the request, to schedule the extraordinary meeting ”.
“The law is clear. Let’s wait, ”he said.
To Lusa, the only councilor at CDU, Cláudia Marinho, underlined that the party “is not against building access to the sea port”, being “one of the objectives of its activity plan”, but said that “since the beginning of the project the party has pointed out alternatives that were never taken into account by the socialist majority in the executive ”.
Cláudia Marinho added that, “in 2008, at the beginning of the project, CDU presented solutions, not only related to this situation, and which were not taken into account”.
“In the second revision of the project, which was under public discussion for more than two years, this slaughter was not specifically mentioned. I am not saying that this situation was not foreseen in the project, but it was not clear, nor was it ever mentioned. We think it was in the best interest that this had been said and not hidden ”, he stressed.
For the communist councilwoman, there is still time to “get around” the route contested by the population.
“Just wanting to, just listening to everyone involved. As far as I know the Cabedelo residents’ association was not heard. The Darque Parish Council gave suggestions at the time it had to give them, but they were never accepted. It is a recurring fact because the executive has the majority and often does not accept the alternatives and suggestions ”, he reinforced.
The work is financed by the Viana do Castelo Chamber and by the Administration of the Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo Ports (APDL).