Concession area will grow more than 10 times, the amount of the concession – only twice.
The contract with the concessionaire of the Bansko ski zone – “Ulen” AD will be changed. The area of the ski zone will be increased from 99.55 hectares to 1069.58 hectares and the concession fee will be doubled. Currently it is around 263 000 levs per year. That had agreed the coalition partners in the Government Council of Development on Friday afternoon.
The decision is a political and still does not mean annexation of the contract, but the Environment Ministry, which is party to the contract, commented that the agreement will be submitted for approval to Council of Ministers.
The draft for amending the contract with “Ulen” is from March 2015. It was prepared by an interdepartmental working group, which was supposed to help resolve disputes between environmentalists and investors about the development of the ski area, or more precisely about plans to build a second cabin. The Working Group then report to the ministers, which were considered many options to address the stalemate, even cancelation of the contract. But experts did not recommend this option because they think there was “no serious breach of contract” and the concessionaire may sentence the state to pay penalties. They recommend changing the size of the area written in the contract entered in 2001 – 99.55 hectares to 1069.59 hectares. This is the area locked between the outer borders to non-residential territories “ski area with the city center Bansko” determined by territorial development plan (TDP) of 2001 (amended in 2004).
Written in the contract 99.55 hectares should be the area occupied by slopes and lifts, managed by the concessionaire and approved by the state. Ski facilities of “Ulen” However occupy nearly 60 hectares more. This is confirmed repeatedly by the Environment Ministry, but “Ulen” rejects accusations that it is in breach of contract with the state, as there were many uncertainties. Another argument is that the concessionaire had no representative in the measurement. The lifts do have valid building permits and can’t be attacked as illegal.
With the proposed change are neglected all old disputes about area and generally reflect most claims to “Ulen” AD with shareholders – Bansko municipality (8.32%) and Cyprus “Marengo Trading” (owned by several offshore companies associated with First Investment Bank and the major shareholder Tseko Minev, chairman of the Bulgarian ski Federation). In the agreement approved on Friday indicated that new runs, lifts, service infrastructure and others can be constructed in coordination with the Environment Ministry after enacted detailed development plan and as long as they are within the so-called. a buffer zone with an area of 1070 hectares.
“This does not mean that we will build 1000 hectares, but we can have this area for sporting facilities approved after a detailed development plan and a positive environmental assessment”, told lawyer Petar Petrov from the board of directors of “Ulen” AD. “Moreover, this territory is not reasonable and we can’t have many facilities. The ski area is almost entirely densified, can be added to one or two runs and a link between them and second cabin, which transports the skiers” Petrov added.
According to representatives of the coalition “For the Nature” but tenfold increase in the concession area “will legitimize one of the biggest crimes against nature in Bulgaria and will actually give Pirin mountain to # WHO model. This will be a sure sign that the laws across the country apply for the oligarchs, who hide behind offshore companies owning the concessionaire Ulen AD, and that the state is working in their favor” states from the organization.
Environmentalists believe that the only solution that will establish legality and justice in the National Park “Pirin” and protect the interest of the state, business and society is to terminate the concession of the Bansko ski zone and seek new concessionaire through transparent competition.