Bulgaria's Bansko Resort Seeks Official Approval for 2nd Gondola Lift
Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev informed Tuesday that the Mayor of the mountain resort of Bansko had submitted an investment declaration for the construction of a second gondola lift and the expansion of the ski runs with the Ministry of Environment and Water on Monday.
In a Tuesday interview for Nova TV, Dobrev explained that he expected representatives of the initiative committee demanding the development of the Bansko ski zone to acquaint him with the plans for the expansion of ski runs and facilities in a meeting on Tuesday.
Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister, as cited by mediapool.bg, insisted that a way to develop Bansko had to be found or the numbers of tourists visiting the resort would start dropping.
To illustrate his point, he cited the long queues at the ski lifts.
Оn December 19, an initiative committee headed by Bansko Mayor Georgi Ikonomov submitted a petition for the expansion of the ski zone with the Council of Ministers.
In end-December, locals blocked the road connecting Bansko and Razlog, demanding a swift solution to the problem.
The protests were supported by Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and GERB MP Lyuben Tatarski, who Chairs the Parliamentary Regional Policy and Local Self-Government Committee.
The protests stopped after Tsvetanov promised that the government would organize a discussion on the matter on its very first session in 2013, which did not happen.
A new protest was organized on Monday.
The initiative committee for the development of the Bansko ski zone accuses Bulgarian environmental activists of disseminating lies and provocations.
The proponents of the construction of new ski facilities claim that the activities will not cause any environmental damage in the Pirin National Park.
The Mayor of Bansko, a former MP of ruling party GERB, has said he will not negotiate with the Greens party unless OLAF, the EU anti-fraud office, probes how the environmentalists are using resources and spending money.
Environmentalists have argued that Bansko is already overdeveloped, with an excessive capacity of hotel beds and ski runs that have already harmed the nearby Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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