Funchal CM owed €30m, The enigma of the roundabout, New TAP campaign, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … another orchid at the gardens in Boa Vista.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 15/2/2009

Main headline : Funchal council (CMF) has bad debts owed to it to the tune of €30 million. As a result it is having to take out a loan of €6 million, essentially to undertake work at Praia Formosa, where public works will in turn generate private investments. The debts are of various types of fees, and CMF are determined that they will be paid, but are taking a helpful approach with the debtors, in some cases extending the payment period for companies with difficulties. CMF itself has debts amounting to €60 million.

The parish of Arco de São Jorge looks to be the featured ‘Village of the week’. Situated in the district of Santana, it has seen little in the way of the many developments that have occurred here over the last 20 years. One exception though is the ongoing construction of a ‘via expresso’ that will connect it with it’s neighbours in São Jorge and Boaventura. It also has a modern building which houses the Social Security, Community Centre and the parish council. One local grape farmer believes that the new road will bring in problems to what is an already poor parish. He says there is no work there, and the youngsters do their studies and move out to find work elsewhere. The Diário reporter, who visited last Wednesday, said he could only find one place open to buy his ‘prego’ (steak sandwich), the other establishments were either closed down or stayed closed during the day, or did not do ‘pregos’. Sounds much the same story as the first featured village to me (Jardim da Serra), and I suspect pretty much the same story will continue with this feature, and the reporter will just need to change the name of the town or village each week.


‘Topsy-turvy with the roundabouts – Madeirans don’t know how to use roundabouts and complicate the flow of traffic’. Madeiran drivers continue to have great difficulty in using the traffic roundabouts. Consequently, not only are accidents  frequent, but the actual flow of traffic is not improved as it should be. The biggest problems happen on approach roads with two lanes. Through mere ignorance or fear of accidents, many drivers simply do not use the left approach lane, ultimately contributing to the bottleneck of traffic in the right lane and complicating the task of those others who want to access the roundabout. But accidents happen, usually when drivers want to change to the inside lane, often in the mistaken belief that they have priority over others, but also because they don’t use their outside mirrors properly. The police chief for Madeira says that the situation has improved in recent years, but is still far from ideal. One measure taken to try and improve matters is the painting of solid white lines between the the two approach lanes, to stop drivers switching lanes at the last minute. The roundabout at the Praça D. Francisco Santana, in the Cruz de Carvalho, is the one that had the most accidents last year. Undoubtedly a favourite topic with drivers here, frequently knocking the standard of driving,  with the use of roundabouts usually being the topic of most annoyance.

Other News :

Any carnival fans out there might like to know that Porto Moniz has a parade at 3.30pm next Sunday. There will be around 500 participants and at least 15 ‘troupes’.

To counter falling sales, the Portuguese airline TAP is preparing a aggressive campaign for Madeira. Poor sales in the first two months of this year, caused in the main by it’s new competitor Easyjet on the route between Madeira and Lisbon, are forcing TAP to rethink it’s pricing. One result may be that there are big price reductions for the passengers who book their flights very early (as does Easyjet).

The issue of Madeira’s high airport taxes just won’t go away, even more so now that the the European Union has said that airports should charge equal rates. A man called António Trindade has been given the responsibility to work towards a reduction in the rates charged by ANAM, who operate the airport here. An example given says that an Airbus A319 landing and taking off from here will pay €886, the highest charge in Europe, and four times more than for the same ‘service’ in Malta or Egypt, for example. The new European law sets out common principles for airport charges within the EU, but only applies to 69 airports, because it only encompasses the largest airport in each member country, and those with 5 million annual passenger movements. Madeira has way too few annual movements to be included. The other airports have two years to become compliant. One option being considered for Madeira is a 13 year extension of the repayment of the massive loan obtained for expansion, allowing for lower repayments.

Down as low as 12ºc tonight for Funchal, so wrap up warm.

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7 thoughts on “Funchal CM owed €30m, The enigma of the roundabout, New TAP campaign, & other snippets”

  1. The roundabout story reminds me of an incident which happened to us about 5 years ago in Funchal. We were stood dutifully by the pedestrian crossing outside the Mirarmar waiting for the "Green man" to appear so that we could cross.
    When it did we stepped onto the crossing when suddenly two police motorcyclists came whizzing down the road from the Lido area accompanied by two big limos going at top speed.
    As they were showing no signs of stopping at the red light we quickly jumped back on to the pavement.
    As the cavalcade passed us we realised that it was El Presidente Bertie rushing down to town obviously on some urgent business.
    So if El Presidente won't stop at red lights, what chance do the rest of us have?

    We are coming over to Madeira next week so perhaps you can have a word with Bertie to warm the place up a bit. We have been visiting for the last 11 years and we have always managed to get sunny weather at about 18 to 20 degrees C.
    Hope you can sort this with Bertie.
    –JG England

  2. Hi JG, I have just phoned Bertie and he has agreed to intervene with the weather for a few days on the condition that you stoop humbly when you walk past his palace, and shout out 'we love you Bertie' so he can hear you. He is very busy at present keeping the seas calm and curing the sick voters ready for the elections.

  3. The highest airport charges in Europe? I never realised that. No wonder Ryanair won't go near the place.
    Then again, with all of the newly built 5 star hotels we saw on our visit last December, the island's marketing authorities don't appear too interested in the price-sensitive tourist.

    How are those new hotels getting on these days?

    –DB – Dublin

  4. Judging by what is reported by Der from "The Diario" about Santana District it seems a campaign to "Save our Prego" is needed.
    Does Bertie, Madeira's perfumed leader, know that the Prego should be on the endangered list?
    Lobbyists should be appointed forthwith to ensure the democratic process forms a Special Enquiry to examine the difficulties facing Pregos in this World recession and the British Depression.
    Given a big enough budget and sufficient members this board of enquiry should have no difficulty producing a 350 page report within four years.

  5. you are right DB, Easyjet wanted to put one of their budget hotels here, but Pres. Bertie said he wasn't going to allow it as it didn't fit in with Madeira's image.

    I don't eat pregos Martin so can't help, but I reckon you could be the ideal to lead this campaign … I hear that Santana is very nice this time of year


  6. I think this prego story is a bit misleading, we have a house in Arco de Sao Jorge, it is a very small, beautiful village and as far as I know there are only two cafes/restaurants in the place, one is part of Quinto do Arco, which is owned by the Mayor of Funchal, Mr Albuquerque, this establishment is very rarely open except at weekends in the summer. I suppose that is why we like it there, very little exitement or change, which makes a change from Manchester where we live normally, where there is lots of change and excitment.

  7. Re New Hotels DB …… well the new "Vila Gale" hotel in Santa Cruz seems pretty empty compared to when it was the local football pitch – penalty indeed! Loads of Prego's available around here (Gaula) team ……


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