Concrete city from the southern Black Sea town of Tsarevo to the village of Lozenets – this is the plan shared by the Mayor of Tsarevo Georgi Lapchev in April this year at a meeting of the Municipal Council. Therefore, the current mayor, who is serving a second term after being elected on the ballot of the ruling center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) is acting as a zealous successor of his predecessor Petko Arnaudov from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and a former agent of the socialist regime security services with the codename “Ivanov”.

Here is what Lapchev said in April:

It is clear that Tsarevo and Lozenets will connect sooner or later, it is already beginning to be seen… This big thing, which will be called Lozenetz-Tsarevo or something of the sort, do not know exactly, neighborhoods or somewhat, but they are starting to pop up, they will happen – explains the Mayor (see the minutes of the meeting in Bulgarian here).

His speech is about the need to repair the old road Tsarevo-Lozenets as the summer traffic is intensive, but the road is in a poor condition. Lapchev sees this road as the main thoroughfare of a new tourist mega-settlement, similar to the concrete wall from the village of Ravda to the village of Vlas via Bulgaria’s largest summer resort “Sunny Beach”.

So far, there are still concrete-free terrains between Tsarevo and Lozenets. A sprawling development is located only north of Tsarevo, where one can see the ugly scenery of the abandoned town “Croco Beach”, built by Russian mobster Kostya Tsiganov more than ten years ago. After the expulsion of Tsiganov for being a threat to Bulgaria’s national security, neither the municipality nor the State undertook anything to secure or remove the ugly concrete ruins.

Lozenets-Tsarevo

Лозенец-Царево

The next built-up area is near the campsite “Arapya”, where there are no big hotels for now. The future Lozenets-Tsarevo development continues northwards in the direction the “Oasis” resort, whose ownership is associated with another organized crime figure – Evelin “Brendo” Banev. Just before Lozenets, on the beach are the villas of celebrities such as Evgenia Zhivkova, granddaughter of Bulgaria’s communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, and the singer Beloslava, among others. To the north of Lozenets, new hotels and villas are constantly popping up accompanied by construction plans for the pristine beach “Coral”.

Pour Concrete – Become Millionaire

The building enthusiasm of Georgi Lapchev, who rose to fame for his participation in the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” in 2011, is not limited to the north of Tsarevo, where the protected areas have long been liquidated. As it emerged from the case with the “Silistar” beach, he is ready to break the law by launching construction works on the territory of Park “Strandja”, located in Natura 2000.

Apparently, the investor pressure is huge because Lapchev did not comply with the political rebuke by Prime Minister and GERB leader Boyko Borisov and lied to the entire country that he had not signed a plan for construction and there is no investment intention either. Such documents, however, in black and white, had been submitted in a report prepared by him and voted by the municipal councilors.

Bivol first reported the illegal decision, analyzing why it is inconsistent with current legislation. Eventually, this analysis was confirmed by the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters (RIEWs) in the coastal city of Burgas and the case was taken by the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which ordered the Regional Governor of Burgas, Valcho Cholakov, to return the illegal decision back to the Tsarevo Municipal Council.

Along with the publication, Bivol filed an application for a compulsory administrative measure with the office of the Minister of Environment and Waters, Neno Dimov.

So far, we have no answer from Dimov, although he is the supervisor of RIEWs Burgas which is an accomplice in the attempts of illegal construction on “Silistar”. A RIEWs’ employee, named Pavlina Paraskova, is a member of the expert council of the municipality which has allowed the preparation of a detailed territorial plan for development in the protected areas. The situation is truly absurd because RIEWs later announced that approval by voting of such a plan for these areas is inadmissible. The Minister, himself, tried in a TV interview to escape responsibility, remaining true to his affinity to protect greedy interests instead of Bulgaria’s natural wealth.

“The law on territorial planning has been violated, requiring a decision by the RIEWs on what procedure to follow. If the terrain was normal, not part of “Strandja”, this would not have to be done,” Dimov said.

However, he was not asked about and did not volunteer to offer any explanation on the approval given by the RIEWs Burgas, through its inspector Pavlina Paraskova, to the plan to build a vacation village.

Last year, Lapchev made the headlines once again with the harassment of campers on “Coral” and nudists on “Dolphin” beach. Earlier, he reenacted a large number of building permits for the “Coral” area, which turned out to be illegal and were suspended by the Prosecutor’s Office. His term in office will be remembered also by allowing his fellow GERB members to carry out construction works during the active summer tourist season in another breach of the law. After the ensuing outrage, he imposed a minimum fine on them as individuals instead of sanctioning their companies.

In the footsteps of agent “Ivanov”

During his term in office, Petko Arnaudov AKA agent “Ivanov” rose to fame due to a number of construction outrages on the coast – the illegal holiday village “Zlatna Pearla” (Golden Pearl), the overbuilding of the “Butamyata” area near the village of Sinemorets, the illegal sale of “Coral” beach, the concrete nightmare of the Russian mafia “Croco Beach”, the destruction of and the construction on wonderful sites like “Nestinarka” and “Arapya”.

Arnaudov was not hiding his ambitions to turn Tsarevo into another “Sunny Beach”. In order to realize them, he even closed the “Strandja” Nature Park in 2007. Later, the National Assembly (Parliament) had to change the law and repeal the act of the Supreme Administrative Court which abolished the existence of this largest protected territory in Bulgaria.

Eventually, “Golden Pearl” was destroyed after ten years of court battles with Lapchev being photographed against the backdrop of the excavators, criticizing the law breaches committed by the former mayor in whose footsteps he is now going because the illegal attempts to build on “Silistar” and on the whole Southern Black Sea coast serve mostly people like politician Yordan Tsonev or architect Kalin Tiholov, owners of land on the still pristine coasts of the villages of Varvara, Silistar and Rezovo.

Four years ago already, Bivol was the only one to investigate and to find out that these most beautiful places are in fact lands seized from locals through fraud. (See here and here) The Prosecutor’s Office helped to cover up these crimes by postponing the investigation until the expiration of the statueте of limitations and eventually refusing to initiate criminal proceedings despite the proven criminal activity.

 

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