Doublespeak On Second Gondola Lift In Bansko?

Nov 21, 2017 No Comments by

Picture Taken: 14th February 2015

Agreement has been reached with environmental conservation organisations on the building of a second gondola lift in Bansko, according to Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov – a claim denied the following day by at least one of those organisations.

Simeonov told a November 20 2017 briefing that the second gondola lift would be built in the Bansko skiing area after completion of the procedure to amend the management plan for the Pirin National Park.

He said, as reported by Bulgarian National Television, that “everyone present at the meeting” with environmental conservation organisations had agreed that a second gondola lift would solve the queue problem.

According to Simeonov, the Greens had agreed to the plan and that the change to the management plan would go ahead.

But on November 21st, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio reported Katerina Rakovska of the World Wildlife Fund as saying “we never said yes to the plans”.

Rakovska said that her organisation believes that there are other solutions to the queue problems, such as greater capacity and longer operating hours. No-one had discussed these suggestions with them, she said. Their position had been presented incorrectly, Rakovska said.

Also on November 21, Mediapool reported that the Save the Nature in Bulgaria coalition also rejected the claims made by Simeonov and Environment Minister Nino Dimov that they had agreed to the second gondola lift plan.

“We would never agree with proposals that destroy nature and violate environmental legislation,” the coalition said, adding that it would no longer take part in any talks with the government or the Environment Ministry unless a verbatim transcript was released afterwards.

Is there doublespeak, confusion and misunderstanding on the second gondola issue? Is a second gondola the answer? Your comments are welcome on BanskoBlog’s Facebook page.


The announcement of a second Bansko gondola lift

Lift Queue At 08:10, 8th January 2010

BTA reported the news. Here is an extract:

“…The construction of a second gondola lift, which is the main purpose of the amendments to the Pirin Management Plan, will improve the tourists access to the skiing area. Simeonov and Environment Minister Neno Dimov said the new facility would reduce both waiting times and the damage to the environment because now many tourists drive up the mountain.

Simeonov also said the concessionaire, Ulen, would have to pay twice as high royalties as now for using part of a protected area in the Pirin National Park. He stressed that only new skiing facilities (lifts, tows and runs) and no hotels and guest houses would be built in the concession area.

The Environment Minister said the concession agreement of 2001 should be amended because the lack of experience at the time of its signing showed in provisions which led to disputes. For instance, it does not provide for sanctions for damage to the environment.

Both Simeonov and Dimov explained that the construction of a second gondola lift in Bansko would be subject to environmental impact assessment and public discussion after the government decides to amend the concession agreement on the Bansko ski area.

The participants in a roundtable concurred that queuing for hours at the only gondola lift must end. Simeonov said that the environmentalists’ only concern was about possible tree-felling which may cause flooding.

Environmentalists and pro-development groups have been locked in a war of words over the fate of the Bansko ski area for several years now.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the state and prospects of the Pirin Park as follows: “Disturbance and fragmentation of the site associated with the exclusion of the skiing areas incompatible with World Heritage status (now part of the buffer zone) is of high concern, particularly considering the possible impacts of a further weakening of the conservation regime of the property, which might result from the new management plan, if approved as drafted.

“The management is relatively effective regarding daily tasks, but the power of the Park administration in the face of increasing interest in tourism development and resource use is very limited. The park administration is under severe economic constraints. Moreover, poor legal enforcement strongly affects the protection and management of the site. This, together with plans to approve a new management plan which would allow significant development of tourism infrastructure within the property and its buffer zone, as well as increased logging throughout the property, results in the overall assessment of protection and management as of ‘Serious Concern’.”


Thank you to the for the assistance in writing this report.


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