Belgrade Waterfront criticized, "lex specialis" sent to MPs

The Serbian government has submitted a draft "lex specialis" (special law) regarding the Belgrade Waterfront Project to parliament for urgent adoption.

Izvor: Beta

Tuesday, 10.03.2015.

11:43

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The Belgrade Waterfront model (file)

Belgrade Waterfront criticized, "lex specialis" sent to MPs

It has been estimated that the area along the river bank, spanning some 177 hectares where the project should be developed, will feature "one million square meters of housing space, some 750,000 square meters of business and commercial space and more than 62,000 square meters of public venues."

The new facilities are expected to create jobs for "more than 13,000 people and house some 17,000," the agency said.

On Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic said she would schedule a sitting for March 18 to discuss the bill, Tanjug said it learned from Gojkovic's office.

Previously, the project was criticized by the Academy of Architecture of Serbia (AAS), a professional association gathering 40 members, including 17 university professors, with extensive portfolios covering design and construction of structures in Belgrade and elsewhere in the country and abroad.

They warned the Serbian government and the city authorities that, should the Belgrade Waterfront project go ahead, they would be responsible "in the most direct manner" for the "chaos" that could occur.

"The Belgrade Waterfront is a complete failure and no addition of supposed corrections at a later date can help it live in a way that meets the technical demands and the potential of the space into which somebody would like to move it," a statement said.

The association added that a number of legal violations occurred, including of Article 89 of the Constitution that deals with cultural heritage and the general interest of the state and the nation, adding it was "unclear who, how, and why let foreign partners make decisions that are merely obediently worked out in Serbia."

The AAS further noted that experts of "the once highly regarded Urban Planning Directorate of Belgrade" are now forced to produce, in two months' time and based on a model, a plan that is "unsightly, fabricated, professionally absolutely unacceptable and unfixable."

Transparency Serbia also reacted on Saturday, pointing out that the deadline for the start of construction on the project has been postponed in the same manner in which it was originally announced - "through statements of politicians" - and with no explanation.

The NGO said that Serbians did not hear why the prime minister's promise was not fulfilled and why the announced public-private partnership contract with the UAE investor has not been signed yet.

"To this day, no expert with high credibility has stepped up to interpret and advocate the idea of the Belgrade Waterfront - instead, this is done by anonymous persons on the orders coming from political structures, or from abroad," said Transparency Serbia.

Also on Saturday, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was quoted as saying that construction works would begin "in the summer."

"Belgrade's descent to the rivers is a historic thing. We have been dreaming about it since the end of the Second World War," he said.

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