Bulgaria Strandja Nature Park Faces Deadly ThreatSource: Sofia News Agency (www.novinite.com)
Published Date: 20 Mar 2009
The Strandja Nature Park in Southeast Bulgaria is threatened with destruction by landed interest of local mayors.
This was announced Thursday by the environmentalist from the Nature Park, Asen Yordanov, in an interview for BGNES news agency.
Yordanov has revealed that the Mayor of the two Municipalities located in the Strandja (Strandzha) Mountain, Tsarevo and Malko Turnovo, wanted to devour the lands and forests of the Nature Park.
Both Mayors, Tsarevo's Petko Arnaudov, and Malko Turnovo's Ivan Ivanov, are from the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party.
According to Yordanov, Bulgaria's State Forestry Agency had called up a meeting of all stakeholders of the Stranja Nature Park in order to discuss its condition and the interests around it.
The meeting took place in the nearby city of Burgas on Thursday but the representatives of the Nature Park, other environmentalist NGOs, and media were not allowed in the meeting and were stuck out in the hall, whereas both mayors were allowed to attend.
"Apparently, this was a meeting of the executors of the Park", Yordanov said claiming the two local mayors had issued orders for the removal of tourist facilities in the Stranja Nature Park in order to strip the park administration of its functions, and to clear the way for taking advantage of the Park plots and forests.
Yordanov also said he had submitted documentation to the Chief Prosecutor's Office about scandalous land swaps on Bulgaria's southern Black Sea coast, which incurred enormous losses to the state budget.
One example included a plot of 220 decares close to the resort town of Pomorie, which was valued at BGN 45 000, and was swapped for a plot with the same size close to the town of Topolovgrad (some 100 km from the Black Sea coast). The same Pomorie plot was then sold to Cyprus off-shore firms for BGN 9 M.