Stara Ada – public or private interest?
Banja Luka - 14 April 2016
Today’s session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska decides in an urgent procedure on the adoption of the zoning plan for the river island Stara Ada on Vrbas, which makes this project a project 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 on a plan, that notes that it is necessary to do a strategic environmental assessment in the regular procedure, while the user / investor has already provided the necessary opinion of 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.
This period 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 of the construction machinery and threatened to abandon their nests – said Jovica Sjeničić, an ornithologist from the Society for research biodiversity.
We do not know the reasons, intentions nor the purpose of the Ministry of Spacial Planning, Construction and Environment as the proponent of the zoning plan for putting this in the procedure on an expedited basis, without prior Strategic Studies and 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 revenue. So are we talking about the plan of public interest or is obvious that this is private interest – said 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. And only after that should it be referred to the Assembly of Banja Luka for the adoption procedure .