The Municipal Council will Officially Support Sofia's Bid for the Winter Olympics
With a highly edited statement, the City Council will probably support the efforts of the Sports Ministry to raise Sofia's bid to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2024 and to modernize the sports facilities needed for the forum. At the moment the ministry's efforts to replace the facilities are undergoing a change in the management plan of the Vitosha Park.
The text of the declaration was voted on Thursday by the special municipal commission on the problems of Vitosha Park. The statement itself was proposed by the IMRO Municipal Councilor Carlos Contrera and must be voted on by all advisers.
The final version of the statement is severely curtailed in comparison with the initial intentions of the municipality to engage the municipality on this issue. Initially, the municipality urged local authorities to engage in a possible Olympics by oblige Mayor Yordanka Fandakova to support the proposals to change the management plan of Vitosha Park, made by a working group to the Minister of Sport Krasen Kralev. They allow the construction of facilities on almost the entire territory of Vitosha Park, while representatives of the Ministry of the Environment did not participate in their preparation.
Contrera wanted broad political support for this report to bring it. However, such a decision is no longer that such a solution is also a serious image issue for the Mayor and the ruling Sofia GERB party.
Consequently, Contrera's idea evolved into a statement in support of the Youth Olympics nomination and the changes to the park management plan. Its original text was also edited and severely shortened, but still contained a sentence related to the Vitosha management plan. At the meeting of the Temporary Committee on Mountain Affairs on Thursday, the declaration was revised and the commitment to support the controversial amendments to the Protected Site Management document was dropped.
The change was made to allow the declaration to receive the votes of opposition advisers who said they could not commit themselves to supporting the disputed amendments. According to Milka Hristova from BSP, the bid for the Olympics is more a pretext for changing the plan, which would allow Vitosha ski company to fulfill its plans for expansion of the Vitosha ski area. The company is related the chairman of the ski federation Tseko Minev, who was named by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as the owner of the concessionaire of the ski zone over Bansko.
Sofia's candidacy to host the Youth Olympics is in its infancy. It received the support of the President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach in September. The candidacy of Sofia is the only one announced at the moment. Potential candidates are the Argentinean city of Ushuaia, the Chinese Harbin and the Romanian Brasov.
According to Martha Georgieva of the Reform Bloc, it is "funny" for the municipal council to support Sofia's bid for the Olympics, given that the Sports Ministry can not select the capital by itself, and local government should be involved in the preparations.
The host city should be announced in June next year. According to Sport Minister Krasen Kralev, Bulgaria's chance to host the Olympics was great. However, it was necessary to modernize the facilities of Vitosha Mountain, to make a ski boot and to solve the problem with the missing track for the speed skating rally. Part of the starts would be Borovets.
Parking, buses, stops
Against this backdrop, at the committee meeting, the issue of the poor condition of most of the buildings in the mountain and the need to maintain the infrastructure - even the replacement of public transport stops - was raised again. Until December 22, the 10-kilometer diesel-powered second-hand bus will now have to move along the mountain lines. They have to replace the old vehicles with which tourists are currently going to the mountain.
It was explained that the municipality intends to designate about 30 existing parking lots in Vitosha Park as such. Next year, it would start with the first three - near Dragalevtsi Monastery, the Hyundai Hotel, which was not working for a few years, and in the "Final House" area. The idea is to inform about the available parking lots and the vacancies in them to be given at the beginning of the roads to Vitosha Mountain. The parking lots themselves will not be built, but just the places that are currently being used to stop will be cleared and marked with signs. It is still unclear what their capacity is, but it barely exceeds 400-500.
Next year, talks with the owners of abandoned mountain chalets have to begin to see what their real estate ideas are and what can be done to stop the demolition of the buildings.
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