ECO PANEL DISCUSSION

When are we going to swim in Lake Palić?

How soon the “patient” will react to the treatment is hard to tell. The experts think it might happen in two to four years, said Michael Rochman.

ZORICA DIMITRIJEVIĆ

A panel discussion regarding the progress of “Protection of Palić and Ludaš lakes biodiversity” project has been organized as a part of Eco Dox program of the 25th European Film Festival. Even though the project itself is, apparently, going according to plan, it is still impossible to provide the definitive answer to the most common question asked: when will it be safe to swim in Lake Palić again?

The German government has supported the project through KfW Bank with the amount of 6.5 million euros in 2016. Since then, several public awareness events, campaigns and exhibitions have been organized, along with the production of a documentary titled “The past, the present and the future of lakes Palić and Ludaš”. The screening of the film was an introduction to the new panel discussion moderated by Snježana Mitrović, the head of Arhus Centere of Open University Subotica.

On the behalf of Palić Park and GIZ, Michael Rochman, the advisor for the recovery of lakes Palić and Ludaš, said that “a lot has been done in the year since the previous panel, but also a lot of expectations have not been met”.

“The question I get every day is – when will swimming in Lake Palić be possible again? We have a thorough strategy for the recovery, we know what needs to be done to return the lake to its original balanced state – which will ultimately allow for swimming. The funding has been secured. The terms have been fulfilled and work will commence soon. However, how soon “patient” Palić will react to the treatment is hard to tell. The experts think it might happen in two to four years”, Michael Rochman said.

Ervin Molnar from the Department of city investment and development of Subotica addressed the common question about project’s current stage. He reminded the public that the sewer system in Palić is going to be attached to water purifiers in Subotica. He added that it was necessary to acquire the local citizens’ approval to connect their households to the sewer network.

“We have crossed the threshold of 700 signatures, so that term has been met, as well as KfW Bank’s preset condition that called for the creation of plan for coastal area of Lake Ludaš. Next step is the expropriation, so that we can start building the protective belt. We managed to find a solution how to proclaim the coasts of Palić and Ludaš a public interest”, Molnar said.

He pointed out that all the projects on pre-parcelization of Lake Palić have been completed and that the task is currently at 60% at Lake Ludaš. The debates on the expropriation process are on-going at the moment. The property has been claimed at the majority of Lake Palić, while the expropriation at Lake Ludaš will commence in the fall.

“As for the construction work on the sewer system, we are expecting the arrival of a consultant very soon. He will green-lit the international bid for the construction of the sewer”, Molnar added.

The public is also curious as to why Germany is paying so much money for this project. Leoni Reiners from the German Embassy pointed out that economic cooperation, established after the 2000 Serbia democratic changes, has a focus on good management, sustainable economic development and environment. “Germany has donated over 6 million euros for this project. The primary reason is because we believe the project will be a success”, she said while also explaining that Germany itself has received international help before and fully comprehends the fact that cooperation between countries is important for the benefit of everyone. Snježana Mitrović asked the citizens for patience adding that Arhus Center is present to monitor every step of the project’s progress and will continue to inform the public through such events.

There will be some swimming in the coming days, but – in an aquapark. Timea Tripolski, the assistant director at Palić Park has announced that an aquapark and a wellness resort will be built at 4,4 acres of land between Muški strand and “Sport” Hotel… The first half should be opened to public in 2019.