The Initiative Committee (IC) to restore the closed office of State Nature Park (SNP) “Strandza” in the town of Tsarevo is announcing the launch of its protection campaign. It will start in Sinemorets on August 16, 2014, with a protest concert, where a national petition for the reinstatement of the representation in the coastal city will be proclaimed. We reached this decision after unsuccessful negotiations with the management of the park.

On August 10, the IC held a meeting in Ahtopol with the Director of Park Strandza Eng. Petko Nanchev, to discuss possible options for re-launching the work of the Office of the Nature Park in Tsarevo. IC insisted that the office be restored immediately and offered to provide the amounts needed to pay the rent (135 levs per month). This possibility, along with other proposals announced more than two weeks ago by civil society organizations to undertake the maintenance of the office until the end of the year, was again rejected by the management of the Park, without presenting sound and acceptable for the public arguments.

For us, precisely the operation of the office in Tsarevo, which directly and daily, for ten years, was working for the sustainable development of the Strandza coast and the protection of its unique biodiversity, turned Nature Park “Strandza” into a symbol of Bulgarian nature. Here, for the first time, the civil initiative managed to prevail and demolish the illegal vacation village “Golden Pearl” and stopped a number of other intentions to make the Strandza coast a concrete ghetto, including the discontinued General Development Plan of the Municipality of Tsarevo, over which, in 2009, Bulgaria faced sanctions from the European Commission. We remind that the two employees of Park “Strandza”, appointed by the town of Tsarevo, have themselves paid the rent of the premises used for the office of the Directorate until the end of last month, while the renovation and furnishing of the building where Park “Strandza” plans to open a new office in Ahtopol, will take, according to expert assessments, at least one year.

Therefore, the IC decided to seek the last option to solve the problem – to hold a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the caretaker government, and it authorizes Atanas Tchobanov and Asen Yordanov to attend. At this meeting, to be organized by August 16, 2014, a decision should be made for the immediate restoration of the work of the Office and for the removal from office of the perpetrators who created the scandalous situation threatening the future of the Strandza coast – the only part of it remaining without concrete (between Tsarevo and Resovo).

For us, the liquidation of the office of SNP “Strandza” in Tsarevo is a deliberate intention to leave without oversight the “pillage assaults” of the coastal area of the Nature Park, which threatens the implementation of the European project “Sustainable Management and Development of SNP “Strandza”. We assume that this outrageous act aims at dealing a blow to the protection of the last preserved from concrete part of the Southern Black Sea coast. We also urge local municipal authorities to protect public interest and express their position on the actions of Park “Strandza”.

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If this does not happen, we invite all friends of Strandza and all media to the concert “For our Strandza Black Sea Coast” in Sinemorets, in the evening of August 16, where the launch of a national petition in its defense will be announced. IC urges eco activists to get actively involved in the petition that will be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and to the Representation of the European Commission in Sofia. We will also alert diplomatic missions of EU countries. As we realize that criminal intent should no longer dictate the course of events, we declare our readiness to proceed with more extreme actions.

Sinemorets, August 11, 2014

By the Initiative Committee

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