Ski Centre Bansko - The Pride of UNESCO

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gushter
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Ski Centre Bansko - The Pride of UNESCO

Postby gushter » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:31 am

The Google photo of the Bankso Ski Centre posted on the following website

http://forthenature.org/news/289

gives a very clear and dramatic picture of just what damage the illegal development of the Bansko Ski Zone has done to what is a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The photo clearly shows how the construction of pistes, lifts, reservoirs for artificial snow, and roads and access tracks have totally ravaged the mountainsides within the National Park above Bansko. It is a striking rebuff to those who state and/or believe that developing ski-zones in protected territories has little or no environmental impact.

Sadly, this picture now is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of destruction to Bulgaria's mountain environment and protected zones. The plans are to extend this destruction over a vast swathe of the northern slopes of the Pirin National Park above Dobrinishte and the Predela pass and Kulinoto region. Indeed the proposed Kulinoto Ski Zone will not only destroy vast new areas of the National Park, but also the 'Bayuvi Dupki - Dzhindhziritsa' Biosphere Reserve, one of the most valuable mountain reserves in Europe which is itself supposedly under UNESCO protection!

But it is not just the Pirin National Park being destroyed. The Rila National Park is about to be similarly ravaged with developments above Govedartsi and in particular above Panichishte with large scale encroachment into the Seven Lakes area, a region whose beauty has long been regarded as almost sacred among most ordinary Bulgarians. And then there is the enormous Perelik Project in the Rhodope Mountains which will see the ancient forests and extensive meadows of the 'Trigrad-Mursalitsa" NATURA 2000 site similarly ripped to shreds like the mountainside above Bansko in this photo.

Next time you think about skiing in Bulgaria, just give a thought to the true price of your holiday or property investment...the real cost is the obscene environmental destruction that you are sponsoring!

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Re: Ski Centre Bansko - The Pride of UNESCO

Postby stevetheyorky » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:57 am

gushter wrote:Next time you think about skiing in Bulgaria, just give a thought to the true price of your holiday or property investment...the real cost is the obscene environmental destruction that you are sponsoring!


Would that it were so but I fear that most are more concerned with the cost a furniture packs, guaranteed rental income and capital gains then the destruction of Bulgaria's natural habitat.

In fairness, it was ever thus, look at the apls, andes, etc etc

Problem is we never learn

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Postby gushter » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:23 pm

Yes I am afraid you're right Steve, the vast majority of people investing in the mountain resorts and clamouring for new pistes and lifts seem to be all too willing to accept and condone the environmental destructing taking place in Bulgaria. As long as it means they make a few bucks on their properties and can get in a few years of cheap skiing holidays before they die, they are all too happy to ignore the environmental destruction they have bought into and the fact that they will be leaving behind a severely degraded natural heritage for future generations.

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Postby MOD » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:43 am

2011 - more on the illegal ski facilities at Bansko...

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=129768

Bulgarian Cabinet Vows to Legalize Illegal Ski Runways in Bansko

Bulgarian environmentalists vowed to bring down eco-minister Nona Karadzhova after she announced that cabinet will take measures to legalize illegal facilities in Bulgaria's top ski resort Bansko.

The controversial lifts and runways were found to overstep the area given for exploitation to the Yulen company, which manages the Bansko ski zone, in an area that is protected both as part of Natura 2000 and as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

"Yulen has in fact broken into territory it should not have been," confessed Wednesday Minister of Environment Karadzhova, after a number of checks of the territory had established that Yulen had illegally used some 250 acres of protected forest.

Minister Karadzhova went nevertheless on to nonplus journalists and environmentalists by saying that the government could do nothing against that.

She cited the alleged fact that terms of concession contracts cannot be changed according to Bulgarian law.

The Envrionment Minister also argued that otherwise cabinet would have to pull down facilities, something that in her words her colleagues Minister of Economy Traicho Traikov and Minister of Sport Svilen Neykov would be against.

Karadzhova went on to contradict herself by saying that the center-right GERB cabinet will make the amendments necessary to make those facilities legal by extending the territory given to Yulen.

"Destroying facilities will mean bringing down the whole of Bansko for 5-6 years, which is just crazy," said the Bulgarian eco-minister, arguing that the move is in the public interest.

Environmentalists united in the "For the Nature" network have already started a petition for her resignation, and have vowed massive protests to protect the Pirin National Park in the area of which the Bansko ski zone is located.

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Postby brianj42 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:26 am

Hopefully Miss Karadzhova will have the chance to explain this one to Unesco and the EU directly. In order to help her in getting it ratified in the EU and Unesco I have forwarded a copy of the news report to the top 100 people in both organisations.

:lol:

Can we change the title to Ski Centre Bansko - Taking the p*ss out of UNESCO

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Postby Mat » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:11 am

Well its a lot easier to get all high and mighty about it when you are no longer investing in the region. What was the ministry supposed to do? Tear down lifts? Under UNESCO rules you can anyway use up to 15% of the park for this kind of thing (I don't make a judgement on whether or not its a good thing) and the mandate of the national park has already been changed from 2014 to allow this from the current 3% exploitation. So the ministry would have to remove the lifts only to give permission to rebuild them again in a year or so.

I'm more concerned about mercury leaching in the gold mines of the Rodope and the deforestation of the ancient forests in the quiet places where no-one but a few go.

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Postby jadamwilliams » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:20 am

gushter wrote:. As long as it means they make a few bucks on their properties.
- it seems most people have managed to lose vast quantities of money (massive fall in property value) - apart form possibly the Bulgarian and Russian developers, many of whom bought farm land outside the old village of Bansko and have now created a concrete lanscape spreading up towards the mountain area, many of which are unoccupied and unfinished - There seems to be less snow each year, possibly due to people flying backwards and forward all the time and buying kitchens coming half way accros the world from China. There has been little thought for planning/ infrastructure
The many reasons this place was attractive have now gone... I understand some new development can be good for the local economy - but there is little extra employment, now the majority of construction has finished (or been abandoned) apart from in the short ski season itself - and there is a huge concrete blot on the landscape. What a shame that it got out of hand and went so far - now they seem to be concentratin on other areas in the region with Golf clubs country clubs etc - building self contained towns with no character with no consideration for environmental impact yet minimal benefit for the local economy/community - but at least you can get a full English Breakfast for less than you would pay in UK.
Full marks to free market capitalism and lack of planning regulation for making this area into an environmental black spot....

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Postby brianj42 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:27 am

Mat wrote:Well its a lot easier to get all high and mighty about it when you are no longer investing in the region. What was the ministry supposed to do? Tear down lifts? Under UNESCO rules you can anyway use up to 15% of the park for this kind of thing (I don't make a judgement on whether or not its a good thing) and the mandate of the national park has already been changed from 2014 to allow this from the current 3% exploitation. So the ministry would have to remove the lifts only to give permission to rebuild them again in a year or so.

I'm more concerned about mercury leaching in the gold mines of the Rodope and the deforestation of the ancient forests in the quiet places where no-one but a few go.


Mat, not quite sure how me no longer being in the region has anything to do with my concerns over Environmenal issues in a place that I used to live, but I suppose you have the right to have a dig if it floats your boat.

I got a lot high and mighty about it when I WAS living in the region, but to no avail...... and do actually still have commitments around Bansko.

Investing with the Environment and peoples futures in mind is one thing and what we should all be doing. Blatently ignoring rules, regulations and the Environment and ripping down 75,000 trees is another. They were told by Unesco and the BG government what they could do and they totally ignored this.

What was the ministry supposed to do was simple, don't let them do it in the first place with proper policing and then they wouldn't be in this position.

PS: I am not investing in Japan either but that doesn't stop me trying to stop illegal whaling in the region, or lobbying the EU about mercury leaching in the rhodopies, or uranium leaching in Sofia's drinking water :wink:

silky4015

Postby silky4015 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:14 pm

At the end of the day there is no need to stop the lift and pull it down at this moment in time. The company could build a new lift where it should have been and once in operation, remove the old lift and leave the land as it should be.

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Postby brianj42 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:28 pm

Hi all

Just received a response from the Director of Unesco.

Thank you for your letters concerning the state of conservation of the WorldHeritage Property of the Pirin National Park, Bulgaria.

Please be assured that we have taken due note of your concerns regarding this site and the press release included highlighting the attitude of the Bulgarian Minister. Therefore, we are sending your letters to the competent national authorities, in particular to the Permanent Delegation of Bulgaria to UNESCO and the National Commission of Bulgaria for UNESCO requesting further information and comments.

Please note that a copy of the appeal is also transmitted to the Advisory Bodies, ICOMOS International and IUCN.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Yours sincerely,
IKiShore Rao
Director
World Heritage Centre


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