Why did the whole city management unanimously refuse to build a canal?
There are a number of reasons for the city’s negative attitude to the intention to build the Ostrava – Kozle water corridor: from economic, transport or urban planning. However, they are completely dominated by our legitimate concern about the irreversible and fatal damage to the environment that such a massive construction would cause.
Can you be a little more specific?
The water corridor would cause the loss of extremely valuable areas from a scientific point of view, entire habitats would disappear, and the strategic underground source of drinking water in the Ostrava-Nová Ves locality is also endangered. These objections were not addressed by the government-approved feasibility study, which is, moreover, explicitly stated in it.
So what does the Ostrava government ask for?
We are not dogmatists, but we demand that the preparation of this project be stopped at least until a comprehensive analysis of the impacts of the construction on all components of the environment is prepared and defended. We are against moving the elaboration of this analysis to the EIA phase, when tens, but rather hundreds of millions of crowns from public sources will necessarily be spent on the project. We consider it a waste of time and money, we want to prevent it.
For me personally, it is extremely valuable to find that this position of the city was adopted with the support of all representatives across the entire political spectrum (eight parties and movements), which often does not happen.
Ostrava’s deputies have also approved a letter to the government asking for the entire project to be stopped. What if it doesn’t help? How do you want to defend yourself further?
It would not be tactical to reveal our strategy in advance for the next phases, in case we do not agree with the state. We now considered it necessary to adopt this political declaration. This is also mainly because the state, ie the Ministry of Transport, has not negotiated with us in any way in advance, even though the project under consideration affects us essentially.
We will now expect an official response from the Prime Minister. It is clear that in a construction of this type, the city would be an indispensable participant in the proceedings because of the ownership of strategic land.
Are you planning to meet the Prime Minister in person?
Yes, we have already written with the Prime Minister and Minister Havlíček that it is necessary to meet in person for the whole matter. The date of the meeting has not yet been set, given the circumstances of the covid. I offered Karel Havlíček to ride the route of the water corridor with him, so that he could see for himself what would be destroyed or changed by this building. Maybe it will happen too.