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How to turn a racetrack into autobahn?2013-03-05 18:37
Tbilisi residents are concerned about the state of recreation area. Fewer and fewer green spaces remain in the Georgian capital. Soon, the last of public gardens will be replaced with another skyscraper, and the last park will be sacrificed for some sort of a new highway. The old racetrack is next in line for the urban development.
Tbilisi racetrack is without exaggeration one of the attractions of the city. It was opened back in the XII century, during the reign of Queen Tamar, and occupied the entire territory of the present Saburtalo district. In 1998, the racetrack occupied an area of 570 hectares; in 2004 - 67 hectares; and at the moment it was moved out of the city, and its past territory has turned into a construction site.
Endless construction of roads and buildings does not leave a single inch of unused land. As a result of this policy, in recent years, the area of the parks has reduced, and some of them are almost destroyed.
Century-old plane trees on the main avenue were cut down, and despite repeated promises, nothing has been done to compensate for the damage to the capital and its people. Not surprisingly, the statistics of recent years shows such high rates of growth of cancer.
Racetrack is another recreation space in the list for destruction. According to environmentalists, this area is very important to clean the air space of the capital.
As you know, Georgia is located in the hollow, so its aeration is a big problem.
In Tbilisi, there are very few so-called ventilation channels, which control the purification of urban air.
Environmentalist and human rights activist Lasha Chkhartishvili says that in the heart of the capital there are only two such vents: a small river gorge Vera and the area of racetrack. "Unfortunately, Georgian leadership is inclined to sell the best areas in the capital. Thus, compared with Shevardnadze, Saakashvili has sold ten times more gardens and parks, cut down centuries-old trees and built police stations, government offices, and a bunch of restaurants and shops in their place", says Chkhartishvili.
However, human rights organizations are going to struggle. "We start proceedings on the fact of the destruction of the territory of the racetrack by the Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Part of the territory has been purchased by the company "Jockey Club" in 2010", said Nikoloz Mzhavanadze, head of one of the organizations.
According to him, under the contract between "Jockey Club" and the Ministry of Economy the latter pledged to allocate $ 500 thousand for construction of urban road infrastructure. "City Hall has terminated the contract because the "InvestCapital", a part of which is the "Jockey Club", in turn was the part of the "Cartu Bank" of Bidzina Ivanishvili. City Hall has destroyed green area and started construction of the road in a completely different place. Termination of this contract by the mayor's office was an act of sabotage. On this occasion, in July 2012, we have made a claim to the prosecutor. Today, after the government had changed, the investigation has resumed", said Nikoloz Mzhavanadze.
Local people are also protesting against the gradual destruction of the territory of the racetrack, which is a favorite place for the townspeople.
Andria Ukleba lives nearby. He, like his neighbors, was affected by the urbanization in the first place: "At one part of the racecourse there is unbearable smell of sewerage; when I pass by - I run, holding the breath. First, they were to settle this problem. It would be nice to build there cycling trails, children's sandboxes and swings. I think that this requires the activity of the population".