Fort repairs controversy – Part 2!

Port authority fight back

The fort,which is being repaired

Following on directly from this morning’s previous post, the Diario have an update, reporting that the port authority, Portos da Madeira (APRAM) denies that the work carried out at the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, also known as Molhe or Forte de Ilhéu, resulted in a “harmful adulteration” of the region’s heritage. This reaction follows the statements by the Juntos Pelo Povo (JPP) party reported here earlier.

“The stone masonry walls of the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, a building of patrimonial interest for the Autonomous Region of Madeira, were in a very poor state of conservation, resulting from erosion found in exposed marine environments, which caused not only the disappearance of the mortar that once existed between the constituent stones, but the actual erosion of the stones, causing their ’rounding'”, the justification for the intervention begins.

Stones falling from the fort

Incidentally, says APRAM, “this phenomenon has been causing, in recent years, the detachment of some of the stones, with the inherent consequences for the safety of users of the Port of Funchal, and it was important to restore the original conditions, having been asked, from the beginning, for guidance from the Regional Directorate of Culture (DRC), which promptly accessed the appeal”, they guarantee.

In the note sent by the president of the port administration, Paula Cabaço also assured the press that “the definition of the replacement methodology, the nature and colour of the mortar used and other complementary aspects that were necessary to be defined, were always carried out in close collaboration with the DRC, with the aim of replicating the original conditions of construction at the time, in which the mortar was not pigmented, only later obtaining the colouration that has now materialised”.

And so press release states that “contrary to what the JPP claims, there was no concrete or application of any varnish to the fort, but the application of a pre-mixed dry mortar, composed of hydrated lime, Portland cement, classified sand, and additives to improve workability and adhesion”.

Continuing, “as fresh mortar has now filled the voids caused by the disappearance of the previous mortar, always guaranteeing a distance from the top of the stone in order to highlight it and not create the ‘smooth wall’ effect. The only work performed on the stone was washing with water, in order to avoid further erosion”, he adds.

In short, for APRAM “it is easy to conclude that the work being carried out seeks precisely to respect the identity of the fort and safeguard the Region’s heritage, and not its harmful adulteration as the JPP claims”, he concludes.

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

Travel latest: requirements for entering and leaving Madeira: is kept up-to-date on a previous post

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