Why are people from Novi Sad protesting against the city’s spatial plan?

On Thursday, the Novi Sad City Assembly adopted the disputed General Urban Plan (GUP), valid until 2030, which, according to environmental activists and experts, together with the construction of a new bridge over the Danube, paves the way for the construction of the residential building complex called Novi Sad Waterfront, which will lead to the devastation of nature there that is a valuable habitat of protected animal and plant species, as well as jeopardize the city’s the natural flood protection.

Last week, protests took place in front of the town assembly in Novi Sad because of the adoption of the General Urban Plan. The security forces reacted violently against the activists. A new protest is planned for Thursday.

“The citizens of Novi Sad will have quality access to the river with a variety of sports and tourist facilities, while in the location of the former shipyard and the current river fleet barracks, complexes with residential and commercial facilities will be built, surrounded by public spaces, that will include pedestrian zones, green areas and bicycle paths…,” reads the proposal adopted by the Novi Sad GUP.

In this planning document, Kamenička Ada, Dunavac, Ribarsko Ostrvo (on which the former shipyard is located), and Šodroš are indicated as suitable for residential construction of the so-called urban centres with high-rise buildings.

There are also plans for the fourth bridge, which has been declared a project of national importance, to be built here. The preliminary construction work has already been carried out by knocking down 100-year-old white poplars on Ribarsko Ostrvo near Šordoš beach.

Vesna Jakovljević Galečić from the Organisation for the Conservation of Nature and Animals (OSNA) is one the activists who have been camping on the site of the trees that had been cut down for over a month, preventing further devastation of the poplar forest.

“Our mayor has been quoted as saying that only a few trees would be cut down to make way for the bridge, but we are not talking about just a handful of trees but 74 square metres of forest, an entire green coastal strip. Moreover, the lot where the trees were cut down is not part of the general plan of the bridge. The bridge is just an excuse here,” says Jakovljević Galenčić and adds that it is unbelievable that in the planning document, the Dunavac green oasis has been designated as the location for the construction of skyscrapers. “The Galens Company owns this site and everybody knows that they are planning on building hotels and an international marina here. They are also planning on cutting down a forest area of 160 square metres and relocating the river bed,” says the activist.

Citizens and activists see the project as a danger to precious biodiversity and increasing the risk of flooding. This is why they have submitted objections to the Novi Sad government. Also, Dunavac Šordoš citizens’ group submitted an initiative to the relevant institutions in February last year for Ribarsko Ostrvo, Šodroš, Dunavac and Kamenička Ada to be declared protected areas. None of these objections and initiatives has been accepted.

(Nova.rs, 26.07.2022)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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