A new construction outrage in a banned area emerged before the Easter holidays at camping “Yug” (South), part of the bay of the “Coral” beach, the Association “Let’s Preserve Coral” alerted and provided photos of the works as well (see photos here).
The investor, who is known as the importer of Skoda in Bulgaria, had a permit, issued by the municipality of Tsarevo, to build a holiday village of 16 houses with an area of over 1,200 square meters. The villas are built on the dunes near the beach in violation of both the Black Sea Coast Development Act, and the ban on construction on dunes, which was introduced after the scandal “Dunes Gate”.
The entire “Coral” bay is known for the fact that the beach and the adjacent area are made up of dunes, unique zones and habitats, and thus constitute, under the law, a protected area, the Association reminds. Activists of “Let’s Preserve Coral” have already reported the violation to the Minister of Regional Development Lilyana Pavlova and to the State National Construction Control, and are preparing a signal to Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. The signals insist on withdrawing the construction permit for the vacation village in camping site “South”, similarly to the already canceled permits for the beach “Coral”, which involve exactly the same breaches as this current construction permit.
In the fall of 2014, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) established that 35 building permits have been illegally issued just for the beach “Coral” and alerted the prosecution. This denouement came after years of struggle to keep the camping site “Coral” free of construction works.
The sale by the Tsarevo Municipality of 130 decares of municipal land from “Coral” has become legendary as one of the most brazen corruption deals of the transition period after the fall of the Communist regime. The land was sold in 2003 to a group of swindlers, including Burgas Mayor Dimitar Nikolov, at a price of 7 US dollars per square meter against promises of investment. Instead of investments, what followed was the sale of the land at a price of 200-300 euro per square meter.
The terrains of camping “South” were originally State property and part of the assets of the State enterprise “Balkantourist”. They were sold after a murky deal through mass privatization. A large hotel is already built there, but the aim is pour concrete on the entire coast. In 2012, the Chief Architect of Tsarevo issued a building permit for a holiday village with a total area 1,173.00 square meters with an address of the site in the village of Lozenets in Tsarevo municipality. This effectively gave the green light for fully covering with concrete the campsite and the beach dunes.
The owner of the land is the company “Lazuren Bryag” (Azure Shore), established at the beginning of 2014. The shareholders in it include “Auto Bohemia” JSC with representative Ivan Angelov Todorov (52.2%), “Favorite Hold” with representative Hristo Vladimirov Iliev (14.5%) and “IF Favorite” Ltd with representative Ivan Todorov (33.3 %). Ivan Todorov has holdings in many companies, but is best known as the manager of Euratek – the Skoda distributor in Bulgaria.
MRDPW is hiding the dunes’ maps
The Association “Let’s Preserve Coral” attempted to obtain the specialized maps of the dunes, whose adoption was loudly advertised by the MRDPW and the Ministry of Environment and Waters (MEW) in October 2014. The Cadastre Agency refused access to these public maps on grounds there was “no regulation for them yet”… This prevents public scrutiny and opens doors for new construction outrages on dunes.
Bivol reminds that these specialized maps were adopted after the scandal “Dunes Gate” came to light in early 2013. In a series of publications, Bivol revealed how the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has changed the status of lucrative forest areas, part of which are dunes, in order for them to be acquired on the cheap by people close to the country’s rulers. Those who have profiteered include some “new” businessmen close to former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov’s Best Man, and architect Kalin Tiholov, known as the “architect of the backstage rule” who emerged as the mastermind of this operation. The creation of specialized maps of the dunes on which construction should be banned dragged on because of opposition from coastal municipalities, enmeshed in corrupt interests. This led to confessions by MEW that members of committees with the participation of local authorities are afraid to sign the protocol for the approval of the maps. The above provoked an angry reaction of caretaker Minister, Ekaterina Zaharieva, who ordered the completion of the procedure by the end of her term in office.
The concealment of the maps and the refusal of MRDPW to implement the ban means that the government “Borisov 2”, now featuring the right-wing Reformist Bloc, is bringing back to the front stage the “Dunes Gate” corruption practices and is preparing to serve its clientele of investors by bypassing the law. Camping site “South” is the first major scandal, but according to information obtained by Bivol, other bombs with illegal construction along the coast are yet to explode.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian