A couple of weeks ago Nic and I met the Assistant to the President of the Camera Municipal de Monchique – Helder Renato – by accident (we were supposed to speak to Paula the designer but she was too busy to speak to us)
He has been in post since May and has lots of energy and passion. The Facebook page for the Camera (council) seems more dynamic and interactive than any Council in London I have seen. He goes so far as to wish people happy birthday on their special day!
The political system is very strange in Monchique. Below the Municipio de Monchique (the main regional council) there are three smaller councils to represent each area – Monchique, Marmalete and Alferce. All have different politics so do not talk to each other and try and oppose each other at every turn.
Monchique has a population of 6000
5000 are Portuguese and 1000 are foreigners.
Their current priorities are to:
- Attract and keep 200 old people aged over 55 (this will create new jobs for locals)
- Attract young people (incentives are paying 500euros for every new child born here)
- Create 7 new alojamentos (places to stay for tourists – businesses that bring in new people are prioritised)
- Develop the Via Algarviana in its second phase – the walking route between Silves