Sanbank threatned: Paulo Lopes-SC, Brazil encourages urbanization in fragile areas

09/16/2010 - One of the last little-explored regions of the coast of the State of Santa Catarina, Paulo Lopes, located 50 km from Florianopolis, is undergoing radical changes in their territorial configuration. The disruption of the State Park Serra do Tabuleiro (SPST) by state law in 2009, allowed the use of certain areas that were previously fully protected.

The new territorial configuration was finally set with approval of the Urban Planning by the City Council in early September. With the plan, the town with a population of just over 7 thousand people can reach 80 thousand people.

The preparation of the Urban Planning, requested by the City Hall and designed by Gis Cartografia e Planejamento, had no participation of the population, as determined by the Statute of the City. “The city council ignored the participatory process. A public hearing was conducted based on a proposal that the community had not talked about yet. The councilors didn’t have enough technical information as well, it's a political issue”, says Luiz Pimenta, coordinator of the Visitation Center of SPST.

One of the most sensitive areas around the lake called Lagoa do Ribeirão, which previously had full protection by the park, becomes an Urban Macrozone of Sustainable Use and its continuation is now an Urban Macrozone and an Urban Expansion, interspersed with some predetermined green spaces, called Macrozone of Enviromental Enhancement. The proposal was made not considering a plan of management. “The creation of this macrozone transforms the whole protected area into an urban area with sustainable use. The limits of the AEPs (Areas of Environmental Protection) do not follow what determines the laws of Units of Conservation, such as the existing physical attributes. They were determined by political criteria”, continues Pimenta.

In the region of Lagoa do Ribeirão, currently with few inhabitants, the Urban Planning allows the construction of 12-floor buildings, and in a specific area of great interest to tourism, it allows up to 24 floors. In the adjacent area of urban and industrial expansion, the establishment of industries in unstable soils is possible. "They are areas of wetlands, which receive tidal influence, land of the navy (the strip of land with 33 meters wide, counted from the high tide line) land of the Union, so a plan like this should not be discussed", she argues. The average altitude of the city is 2 meters above sea level.

Eco-development proposals for Paulo Lopes, such as tourism, agriculture, sustainable fishing, the State Coastal Management Plan and also the fact that the city is part of the Baleia Franca Area (protection area of the whales) were hardly discussed in the Urban Planning. “They are areas of sandbank which no longer exist in the Coast of Santa Catarina. With this proposal, the verticalization that happened in Balneário Camboriú could also happen here”, notes the Projects Coordinator of the IHT, Guilherme Blauth. Those changes in the ecosystems of Paulo Lopes can influence neighboring cities. An example is the connection of the Lagoa do Ribeirão with the beach of Guarda do Embaú, in Palhoça.

Blauth gets the attention for what happened in the city, a public hearing on September 02nd on the proposal that had already been completed, without the population’s knowledge or discussion on what would be voted on later. “Despite of its approval in a supposedly democratic process, it is necessary to try to revert and reduce the impact, such as reducing the number of floors of each building”.2875 *Ribeirão Lake

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