Green threats: “Environmentalists” utilize millions to sabotage Bulgarian economic projects
If you follow up the recent dispute on a second cabin lift in Bansko, you should be clear that neither it nor the development of ski tourism in our country as a whole, are actually environmental issues, but fundamentally different concepts on the economic development of Bulgaria. The last protests and counter protests only brought out the painful truth which the Greens have been trying to hide for years.
Their screaming and wailing for the Pirin Mountain are not at all related to the nature conservation, although many young people sincerely believe in that. The published concessionaire’s plans have shown that the new lift goes on or through already existing routes, with five trees planned to be afforested for each one cut, and that the ski zone has always been allocated to 2, not to 48%, of the Pirin Mountain.
So, then why do we discuss overbuilding in the mountain, concrete and other such nonsense? It is very easy to mislead a handful of young people concerned about the nature. Undoubtedly, they sincerely believe that by going out on the streets of the capital they contribute to a greener and more beautiful Bulgaria.
Alas, that's not the case. There are many times fewer ski facilities per 1000 sq.km. here in Bulgaria compared to almost all other European countries developing ski tourism. Many times fewer here and yet they continue to develop there!
Who is interested in things staying like that?
Toma Belev, the notorious former Head of the Vitosha Park, was a candidate of Hristo Ivanov’s, “Yes, Bulgaria” for Kardzhali and Sofia last year. This is his second attempt to enter politics. The first one was unsuccessful. He was then a MEP candidate for the Green Party of Aleksandar Karakachanov.
During the last parliamentary elections, “Yes, Bulgaria” did not qualify and Belev did not even get a seat in the Parliament. Just for your information Hristo Ivanov's nephew, Lyubomir Kostadinov, works with Toma Belev's wife - Veselina Kavrakova, who manages the Bulgarian branch of the WWF.
In 2012, Belev received the WWF international award for contributions to nature conservation. No wonder, because this “environmentalist” defends only their interests and not the Bulgarian ones.
Bulgaria is extremely suitable for the development of winter tourism and it will undoubtedly attract thousands of skiers with the good conditions and low prices. This will definitely hit the ski business in Switzerland and Italy.
In the most recent years, following the imminent threat of a terrorist attacks in Western Europe, the flow of tourists to the Balkans has dramatically increased. And this is not because of the ridiculous attempts of the Sand Queen, Minister Nikolina Angelkova, but just because people realized that it is safer, better and cheaper in our country.
That’s what will happen if we develop the tourism in our winter resorts. That's exactly why the Bulgarian pseudo-environmentalists are doing their best to sabotage the development of Bansko, Borovets, Vitosha, Pamporovo… They are holding out to those who offer more money, and for now they are the foreign organizations.
The pseudo-environmentalists are very interested in “protecting” the nature in this way, while money from both the EU and the state budget is lining their pockets. The environmental network in our country and its representatives, Toma Belev, Andrey Kovachev, Lyubomir Kostadinov, Konstantin Ivanov, etc. are bound together in various projects.
Only in 2016, for example, they split some 100 million between themselves under the “Environment” operational programme. And what can we say about Belev himself, who has become infamous for the fact that his company won, in 2013, a procurement for dolphin counting in the Black Sea, without a competitive tendering procedure. But what about the money spent on counting mosquitoes on the Danube river …?
Millions have been credited to the environmental organizations for years and their only contribution is to sabotage the Bulgarian economic projects. For the moment they are very successful in doing this.
So, the scandals about Bansko, for the moment, bring success only to the pseudo-right wing of Hristo Ivanov, which is trying to rise from the ashes, presumably protecting environmental interests and at the same time continuing to raise money on operational and any other programs. And not just to rise but rather to reign again, on the native political scene, especially after upholding Borisov 2 office for years – Hristo Ivanov was a minister of his cabinet and a humble servant and now he is a fierce critic of Borisov ... Oh, good Lord!
Where are we?
According to the most recent surveys, 67% of Bulgarians consider that a second lift should be built, and 64% of the respondents say that the so-called “environmentalists” tend to serve foreign interests.
Then, where is the problem? Perhaps, it is about manipulating the public opinion that building in Bansko will be allowed without any regulation.
Yes, in the last 30 years some people have become very rich on the edge of the law in Bulgaria. And yes, until 2008 some of them were building without observing any rules and regulations! But things have changed today and the business has learned the lessons from the collapse 10 years ago.
The other point of view
By its decision on the Pirin Mountain, the Government has given half of the Pirin Park as a gift, to an offshore company, allowing construction and the cutting in three of the six park areas, say pseudo-environmentalists. They believe that the amendment of the existing Management Plan of the National Park has been adopted, without considering the impact it will have on the nature, analysis for the development of the local economy and the state of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Battle for Bansko will not be over soon. This war is serious and with a great deal of money involved. According to the municipality of Bansko, the existing lift does not have enough capacity and this is the reason for many people waiting in long lines which only serves to cause more stress for the tourists.
The next drama occurred when the Mayor of the tourist town, Georgi Ikonomov, filed a request at the Ministry of Environment, to give effect to the procedure for partial amendment of the existing Management Plan of the Pirin National Park.
This procedure was adopted by Plamen Oresharski’s office in 2013 by Nona Karadzhova, the Minister of Environment at that time. The idea was for the amendment to affect only the ski zone on Pirin Mountain, which will allow the construction of a second lift. However, this procedure has not been implemented, and in the meantime, an entirely new Management Plan for Pirin Mountain has started to be drawn up, as the validity of the old one was only until 2014. The new plan, however, has not yet been adopted due to actions brought to courts which are against it.
The request of Ikonomov incited the people of Bansko to protest, as for a long time they have harboured a feeling of resentment against the racketeering of the “environmental mafia” and against the impossibility of having a second lift.
Borisov 3 office can easily break its teeth on the sharp stone of Bansko. For many years, the Prime Minister and his ministers stood behind the “environmentalists” and quite obviously filled their money boxes with million of levs. It is still unknown, however, why Neno Dimov decided to make a sharp about turn and suddenly give way for the second lift.
Switzerland is seen as a model for tourism and a green attitude towards the industry. There is not a single natural park, purely legally regulated, and there are trains and lifts to every peak that is close to a town. Furthermore, there are a number of hotels on the summits, and each of the hundreds of winter resorts own at least 200 km of ski slopes and many ski zones reach up to 500 kilometres.
The result of this policy is that Switzerland is a model for winter tourism, and you can be sure that the tourists do not stand around, losing endless hours of their holidays, waiting in lines for the lifts!