I see that opposition to the proposed Super Perelik Project in the Rhodope Mountains is growing ever stronger.
At the end of June a written question was raised in the European Parliament highlighting the illegality of the project:
25 June 2008 E-3599/08
WRITTEN QUESTION by Elly de Groen-Kouwenhoven (Verts/ALE) , Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE) and David Hammerstein (Verts/ALE) to the Commission
Subject: Illegal ski resort Super Perelik in Rhodope Mountain, Bulgaria
The area of Perelik in the Rhodope Mountain is part of the proposed Natura 2000 site BG0002113 named Trigrad-Mursalitsa. It includes well-preserved natural habitats of Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus nigra, Abies alba, Agrostis capillaries, Nardus stricta. It is extremely vital for the brown bear and the grey wolf, which are listed as priority species in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC(1). The forest there is the habitat of numerous rare bird species listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive 79/409/EEC(2), like: Bubo bubo, Sylvia nisoria, Picus canus, Alcedo atthis, Caprimulgus europaeus, Dryocopus martius, Glaucidium passerinum, Falco naumanni, Crex crex, Tetrao urogallus, Bonasa bonasia, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco peregrinus, Falco cherrug, Aegolius funereus, Ciconia nigra, Aquila pomarina, Lanius collurio, Lanius minor, Buteo rufinus, Emberiza hortulana, Circaetus gallicus, Milvus migrans, Pernis apivorus, Lullula arborea and Dendrocopos medius.
Despite its great ecological significance, the area is planned to be part of a new ski resort named Super Perelik. There are plans for the construction of ski runs with a total length of 200 km, and 100 km of ski lifts. The firm which is planning this destruction of the famous European natural heritage is named Super Perelik Tourist Centre and is owned by Mr Kiril Asenov, who is a relative of the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of the Environment and Water, Mrs Lyubka Katchakova. In total contravention of both Bulgarian and international laws and directives, the local authorities in the Municipality of Smolyan, led by the Mayor of Smolyan Mrs Dora Yankova, gave the green light to build this massive new ski resort.
1. Does the Commission know that this planned ski resort will result in a catastrophe for Europe’s famous natural heritage located in the area of Perelik peak in Bulgaria and what will the Commission do to prevent it?
2. How will the Commission ensure the fulfilment of Bulgaria’s obligations under Directive 92/43/EEC, and when will the Commission undertake infringement proceedings against Bulgaria?
(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(2) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1.
Then last week an open discussion and demonstration against Super Perelik took place in Smolyan and it was very interesting to see the great level of opposition to the project by the LOCAL PEOPLE who were totally opposed to their 'sacred' Perelik massif, the haunt of Orpheus and much of their traditional culture and history being sullied by a new mega resort.
Furthermore, it was also interesting and disturbing (but I suppose not suprising) that a number of elderly locals from settlements whose territory would be 'absorbed' by the project were reporting that they were being intimidated and threatened by developers into selling up their land!