More than 20 NGOs have written an open letter to Bucharest City Hall, asking the mayor not to consider a recent request from a private company for the Izvor Park concession.
The proposal in question was submitted to the town hall by a company owned by the organizers of the Untold and Neversea festivals, called Wunderpark, and envisages a year-long takeover of Izvor Park with the aim of bringing together “in one place, a multitude of artistic expression activities, which will be combined with food and drink, shops or an NGO development hub,” according to HotNews.
The company claims that Izvor Park is the ideal place to develop its project, that it is currently underexploited in terms of the possibilities it could offer, and that by investing there for its own needs, it would be doing something positive for the development of Bucharest, the community and local tourism.
Maintenance of the park would be the responsibility of WunderPark, which would improve the poor state of the park at the moment, the document says.
At the other end of the spectrum, the more than twenty civic groups and NGOs who signed the open letter to Bucharest City Hall are asking the institution to protect the park and not let it be taken over by a private company, attracting drawing attention to the damage caused to public spaces by festivals and concerts, and insisting that any event held in a public green space must offer unrestricted access, and not place the space even behind a paywall.
“We call on the Bucharest City Hall and the General Council to assume their role as protectors of the public interest and to make essential changes in the approval, control and application of sanctions, in accordance with the legal provisions in force, for the events of concerts and festivals held in the parks of the capital,” reads the open letter.
The open letter includes the following demands:
- Events held in parks must not restrict free and open access to public green spaces
“Given that we are well below the target of 26 m² of green space per inhabitant, we consider that it is deeply wrong to restrict citizens’ access to public green spaces or to condition it on the payment of a ticket.”
- Events that bring large crowds together and involve setting up large stages should not be held in public green spaces
“The most obvious proof that this type of event strongly affects the green space is the state in which the park of Izvor is after the events organized this summer, the lawns are destroyed, full of shards of glass, and cigarette butts and trees are impacted by the movement of heavy machinery during installation.
- Events using amplified sound should not take place near residential areas: noise pollution harms the environment and decreases the quality of life of people living nearby
“Legally, the noise limit in parks is 60 dB, which rules out the amplification of sound through large loudspeakers from the outset. When noise exceeds this limit, it affects the ecosystem of the park, the buildings in the immediate vicinity and the quality of the habitat, thanks to the vibrations generated by the amplified sound.
- Clear and transparent notification, control and sanction mechanisms should be established, leading to the accountability of event organizers in the public space.
“The way in which the protocols for holding these events are developed are strictly formal, with vaguely worded rules, insufficiently detailed to protect the spaces in which they take place and not responding to the particular requirements of each place.”
HotNews spoke with Bucharest green space manager Horia Tomescu, who said he “was not aware of any such proposal. No such request has been submitted to my office. After nostalgia” (here he refers to the three weeks that Izvor Park was closed to the public because of the festival) “and what happened in June with Cișmigiu Park, I asked the administration of lakes, parks and leisure facilities in Bucharest to be very careful what they sign”.
On June 27, Bucharest Mayor Nicușor Dan told G4Media that “it is a proposal that needs to be discussed. The decision is far from being made.”
He added that he was “a supporter of private operators organizing festivals in Bucharest. However, how these festivals will be organized remains to be determined”, and that the proposal could potentially be a good thing, because “at the moment Izvor Park doesn’t have a very clear identity, it’s not defined in terms of landscaping. A bad project can do a lot of harm, a good project can take it to a new level.”
(Photo credit: Adina Munteanu | Dreamstime.com)