Arsova: Who’s the one deciding on Lake Ohrid’s shoreline?

“The beach that has been foreseen is supposed to be built in the water, because the width of the existing shore is between 2 – 5 meters. It’s precisely because of this that Lagadin is a well-known and attractive place. Because of its natural beauty and rich wildlife. It is no coincidence that nature has selected the reed as the ‘responsible purifier’ of the lake waters. Trust me, that is a difficult task and also a great responsibility, which man can never replace!...

Therefore Nikola, if your offer for assistance and service is still valid, I would like to use it and ask you to join us in the struggle to preserve the natural rarities of Ohrid! As in this way your decedents and the whole world would be grateful and bless you”, states the letter with which  Ilina Arsova, the first Macedonian alpinist who climbed the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, addresses the President of VMRO-DPMNE, Niloka Gruevski, because according to her, “ he has power to decide, but also to prevent”.

CIVIL Media spoke with Arsova about her motive in writing this letter, and also about the effects that the project for construction of the “Mediterranean beach” in Lagadin might have on the environment.

She speaks about the problems and ignorance that the members of the Initiative Ohrid SOS encounter every day, and how the responsibility of the competent authorities keeps shifting from one to another. Arsova also asks who is this person that is so motivated in realizing this project, and is this person aware of the damage that will be done to the Ohrid Lake?

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“The process that is determining the fate of our natural resources, not only national, but I can also say worldly, is so confusing that each of the competent authorities that are involved in this entire game can easily disclaim any responsibility. That is why we are trying to appeal in several ways to all competent authorities. With the last letter of SOS Ohrid, to the Municipality of Ohrid, we also tried contacting the Ministry of Environment and the Ohrid Municipality and the Government, because every time anyone of them were contacted, they all denied responsibility.

With my last letter I am addressing the top of the state, the man I know has the power to decide, but also to prevent things. Even though I am aware that with my emotions I will most probably not touch the investment-oriented mind, nevertheless, I decided I should try, as I have nothing to lose.

We are all interested, specifically for Lagadin – 98% of the local population in Lagadin signed a petition, all of whom are temporary or permanent residents, namely, all those who own property in Lagadin. In addition to the signed appeal, and the signed declaration of several local communities, along with a signed petition that has been signed at the international and state level, all of these agreement somehow are ignored. Therefore, I am intrigued, we have followed regular procedures, six-seven months ago we requested from the Municipality to examine the documents, in terms of what is going to be built there. The information that we requested is public information, we would like to know what is going to be constructed, so that the public opinion and the opinion of the local population may be taken into consideration, so that we can decide together what the best solution is for the environment and also for the tourism from which we all live. We are interested in the motive and who is the person that is pushing this project so much, and whether this person or persons have taken the right to decide on how the shoreline of the Ohrid Lake is going to look like, which millions of years ago was decided by tectonics.

It is not our right to decide if the coast is narrow and if we should expand it, or if it’s wide and for us to narrow it. Is that someone, to whom it is so important to push forward this project for any which reason, aware and prepared to take on the responsibility of what follows next? I am not saying what follows – tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I am saying what will follow after ten or twenty years, when the irreversible damage to the lake will show up”.

Marija Tegovska

Camera: Dehran Muratov


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