The densification issue
As was previously reported, the notorious presentation of the Detailed Design Project (DDP) of the quarter near the Academy of Sciences took place in Minsk early in April. The designers proposed to build a high-rise building, seven parking lots, a leisure centre, and a kindergarten within the borders of Yakuba Kolasa, Kalinina, Kuzmi Chornaha, and Surhanava streets.
Locals opposed vigorously the DDP, especially the idea of numerous parking lots, which they don’t need at all and which would significantly hamper their lives. But the people did not receive clear answers to their remarks, and many of those responsible for developing the DDP simply did not appear at the presentation.
Local residents have collected about a thousand signatures against the densification since the presentation. In addition, they proposed to include three local residents in the commission, but the administration included only one of them — Tatsiana Knatsko. Instead of two others, employees of the local housing and utilities service who reside in the DDP quarter were included there. The meeting, which local residents and activists intended to visit, began with a conflict — a policeman did not let anyone in the office except Tatsiana Knatsko.
As for a Radio Liberty correspondent, the policeman has pushed him out rudely. It turned out that the order not to allow people to the commission meeting was given by Pershamayski District Administration Deputy Head Vasil Kasavets. He is the commission chairman, as well.
As a result, the commission decided to recommend approving the quarter’s densification with seven parking lots. However, Tatsiana Knatsko attached her special opinion to the protocol, where the residents’ proposals are specified.
How did the activists decide to act?
“Not all of the questions filed were considered, violations at the project development stage were revealed, the gardening percentage was overestimated, although it actually doesn’t meet the standards that allow to build parking lots,” said Hubarevich about the commission meeting today.
According to him, the appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office with a complaint against the commission’s decision, which was filed immediately after the meeting, returned to the Minsk City Administration, which is the very requestor of this investment project.
On June 3, a complaint was filed to Minsk City Administration and a statement of claim was filed to Pershamayski District Court on invalidating the commission meeting’s decision. Hubarevich noted that the said situation is typical for other quarters of Pershamayski district, as well.
“Formally, the law obliges the authorities to hold public discussions. However, the representatives of citizens residing in the areas to be densified, whose rights may potentially be violated, aren’t able to join the commissions. Officials are doing all they can for this, and include those people from the communities who are under their control. Written opinions of citizens aren’t taken into account, as well,” he said.
Hubarevich noted that Aliaksandr Lukashenka had repeatedly called on the officials of Minsk City Administration to stop mocking at people and to stop clashing with the communities over construction and gardening.
“The opposition and citizens have the same position. And who is opposed to this single position? Apparently, some kind of construction mafia, entrenched at the level of Minsk City Administration. And its representatives in Pershamayski District Administration Mr. Kudrevich and Mr. Kasavets are doing all they can to prevent these presidential orders from being executed,” added Hubarevich.
“Therefore, in the very next few days we will draw up an electronic petition and collect signatures for the resignation of Kudrevich and Kasavets. The decision on their resignation may be made personally by Lukashenka. So here is the question for him: Will he tolerate officials who don’t fulfill his orders and ignore his messages,” said Hubarevich.
He noted the high interest of the district residents to seek justice.
“The community’s mobilization is so high that when we asked to raise funds for legal support of all these processes, about 2,000 roubles were collected in just a day,” the activist added.
In addition, the initiative group wants to hold a local referendum in Pershamayski district to ask people two questions: Do they agree that the presidential orders on terminating the densification and cutting down of trees have been executed in their district?
“Today, we are starting to form an initiative group of Pershamayski district residents who would agree to take part in collecting signatures to hold the referendum,” said Hubarevich.