Chief Tanya Manolova ignored expert opinion that EIA is needed
The construction of ten buildings in Natural Park Strandza has received the green light from Burgas’ Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters (RIEW) on February 11, 2015, with the signature of RIEW’s Acting Director Tanya Manolova. She estimated that the investment proposal, submitted by Rosen Popadiin, does not require an EIA and has approved it, despite the contrary opinion of experts from the Regional Directorate, Bivol learned.
The construction site is within the boundaries of Natural Park Strandzha and in two protected areas BG 0001007 Strandza for conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora and BG 0002040 Strandza for the conservation of wild birds.
The decision, signed by Tanya Manolova, was invoked as grounds to approve the construction with an order of the Mayor of the Municipality of Tsarevo regarding a draft Comprehensive Territorial Development Plan – Plan for Development and Plan for Regulation.
However, the required by law procedure through RIEW Burgas has not been carried out for these plans and they contradict the law.
Manolova’s decision was signed on February 11, 2015, but was disclosed on the website of RIEW Burgas on February 23, 2015, long after the seven-day deadline laid down in the Ordinance on the Terms and Conditions for Assessing the Compatibility of Plans, Programs, Projects and Investment Proposals with the object and purpose of conservation of protected areas. Bivol attempted to reach Acting Director Manolova for a comment, but she refused to answer her phone. After we reached her from another phone, which the Director did not recognize as ours, she categorically refused to provide any information, saying she has not been authorized to do so by her supervisors (the Ministry of Environment and Waters – MEW).
The former director of RIEW Burgas Anthoniy Ivanov was removed from his post last year over such approval without EIA of construction of a holiday village near the wild beach Karadere. Manolova replaced him in office as Acting Director. MEW announced a job competition for new head of RIEW, but it coincided with the peak of the scandals with construction on the southern Black Sea coast and the selection did not take place. Instead, the Ministry announced that it has begun another probe in the performance of the Regional Inspectorate.
Who has sold terrains that are public municipal property?
The most outrageous fact, however, is that according to the maps available to RIEW, this property is public municipal property. There is no way it passed into private hands without breaking the law, because, according to the Protected Areas Act, Art. 10 (1) the ownership of the State that is not exclusive State property and of the municipalities on forests, land and water territories that are included in protected areas under this Act is public.
Because of this situation with the ownership, RIEW Burgas refused to rule on the application for approval of “Cork and Fork” of Nedelcho Ginin’s daughter. Only after the scandal with dunes and concrete in Sinemorets flared, RIEW Burgas stopped the construction carried out by “Cork and Fork” and sent to the prosecution all land transactations with public municipal property within Park Strandza. The absurdity in officials’ interpretations of the law is that Popadiin’s investment proposal for land that is municipal public property has been granted approval. Bivol is asking all institutions in the country, whether this is sufficient ground for administrative corruption?
This way, it turns out that within two months the same civil servant has used a different approach for two sites in the same protected areas – one has been approved without EIA; the other was not approved and was subsequently stopped because there is no EIA.
A check of Bivol in the Property Registry showed that the ownership of the terrain is steeped in mystery. It was formed by the merger of several properties in Sinemorets. There is no information whatsoever on how they were acquired by the current owners – Rosen Popadiin and Russian citizen Galina Kebenkova. There are no entries in their personal accounts in the Property Registry about any transactions with those sites. The only entry is for a transfer of building rights from Popadiin and Kebenkova to two companies – Sinemorets Property Ltd, owned by Russian nationals Andrei Yudin and Alexei Golyaev and Neuma Ltd, owned by Stefan Popadiin. The fact that there is no trace of these properties in the Tsarevo Municipality’s account either is even more puzzling.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian