Stara Ada – public or private interest?

14.4.2016 - Banja Luka

Today’s session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska decides on an urgent procedure for the adoption of the zoning plan for the river island Stara Ada on Vrbas which makes this project one of public interest. In fact, it is a plan that is adopted for special purpose areas while earlier the company, Stara Ada Ltd., obtained a concession for the use of the river islands.

The MPs need to decide on an expedited basis for a plan. This plan should note that it is necessary to do a strategic environmental assessment in the regular procedure after the user or investor has already provided the necessary opinion for the Agency for Water RS ​​to perform preparatory work. Wasting no time, the investor has already started preparatory work which is directly threatening a colony with about 120 nests of gray herons.

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"This time is extremely sensitive for birds because their eggs are now in the process of incubation. Instead of preparing for the chicks, the parent birds are frightened by the construction machinery and threaten to abandon their nests," said Jovica Sjeničić, an ornithologist from the Society for Research Biodiversity.

Kolonija-gnijezda

 

"We do not know the reasons, intentions, nor the purpose of the Ministry of Spacial Planning, Construction and Environment for being the proponent of the zoning plan which makes this in the procedure expedited without prior Strategic Studies, a conducted public inspection, or the concessionaire who has already started work. What we assume is that all this is just to avoid legal obligations and bypass regular procedures as that would certainly prolong the process and reduce potential costs. So are we talking about the plan of public interest or is obvious that this is private interest?" asks Viktor Bjelić, coordinator of the Aarhus Centre at the Centre for the Environment.

We believe that this zoning plan has to go back to regular procedure where it is necessary to do a strategic assessment of the environment in which a special mention should be made about the animal species, the measures to protect against floods, and also provide public scrutiny and public debate. Only after that should it be referred to the Assembly of Banja Luka for the adoption procedure.

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