Friday, 24 March 2023

Jarun Bridge - Has Zagreb Mega Project Been Shelved?

March the 24th, 2023 - Has a the long-awaited (and much talked about) Zagreb mega project of the construction of a brand new Jarun bridge been kicked into the long grass?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the would-be Jarun bridge would solve some traffic issues here in the capital by connecting western Zagreb with Novi Zagreb, but it seems as if things are stalling beyond the point of no return.

"I think that the first point we need to start with is strengthening the city's existing bridges before building any sort of new bridge, and this is something that may not be seen as desirable politically as much as a totally new bridge might be, but I'll still sleep peacefully because I know that I've done absolutely everything necessary for this city to be safer if there's another earthquake,'' said Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic.

This is nothing more than a very small consolation for Milica Sparavalo, whose house was damaged back during the earthquake of March 2020, and she's not allowed to rebuild any of it because it is located on the future road route that would one day lead to this as yet somewhat mythical Jarun bridge. Because of all this, her life has been turned into total chaos, and she isn't even allowed to sell the land, as reported by HRT.

"For us, waiting no longer makes sense. Just let us be able to dispose of our property," pleaded Milica Sparavalo, whose house is just one of the 150 buildings situated along the route awaiting demolition. Experts say that the Jarun bridge is a classic example of the violation of various laws that ultimately put the City of Zagreb into a deeply unfavourable situation.

"Construction permits were issued for corridors that were defined by the GUP and some other documents, and there lies the problem. The problem is that the state has legalised some things, and some things only," said Marko Sevrovic from the Faculty of Transport Sciences in Zagreb.

The potential Jarun bridge would, as stated above, finally connect the western part of the city and Novi Zagreb, and 15,000 vehicles would travel along it daily, and a tram line is also planned. The continuation of the Jarun bridge project was also supported by part of the opposition, and they even proposed an amendment to break the deadlock.

"With that amendment, we provided two million euros for the creation of the project documentation, it was flatly rejected, that is, not reduced, but totally and utterly rejected, and it could clearly already be seen that this project wasn't a focal point for them,'' said Kristijan Jelic, a city representative of HSLS.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Stricter Controls Surrounding Proper Zagreb Waste Disposal Planned

December the 14th, 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic has stated that he thinks that more than enough time has passed since the introduction of the new Zagreb waste disposal system and the much talked about ''ZG bags (vrecice)'', and that it's time to come down harder on those still bypassing the new rules.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Tomasevic recently said that he really things we've had enough time to adjust to the new way of doing things here in the capital, that there are enough blue ZG bags for communal (mixed) waste being sold in stores, and that it doesn't make sense that some are still refusing to stick to the new Zagreb waste disposal rules and use the blue bags for that.

''It really doesn't make any sense that only 60 or 70 percent of people are correctly using the blue bags and the rest don't bother and thus don't pay for the variable part of the waste collection service,'' he said.

With these words, Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic announced that from this week onwards, municipal wardens and Cistoca employees will intensify their control of the use of blue ZG bags for mixed municipal waste across the capital.

They will, he added, check whether people are actually using the blue ZG bags for the disposal of mixed municipal waste. To just go back quickly for those who might not be aware, as of October the 1st, 2023, a new collection system and a new Zagreb waste removal system was introduced, whereby a variable part of the service price is paid through the purchase or use of blue ZG bags, while the fixed part is paid through Cistoca or Zagreb Holding.

Tomasevic also announced that in January 2023, wardens and Cistoca employees will start checking waste containers that are located still on public areas, especially those where the co-owners of the buildings haven't checked with Cistoca about whether they can be removed from public areas or if they should be put elsewhere out of sight.

He didn't mention the fact that many people never received a decision from Cistoca about their waste containers remaining on public areas or the specification of an alternative location for their relocation.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 10 October 2022

New Zagreb Waste Disposal Rules Failing to Solve Landfill Issues

October the 10th, 2022 - The brand new Zagreb waste disposal rules came into force at the very beginning of this month, which saw the introduction of brand new blue bags called ''ZG vrecice/bags'' and which have been the subject of a fair few jokes. The move by mayor Tomislav Tomasevic was made in an attempt to finally tackle the capital's dire issues with waste disposal and collection, encourage people to separate their waste and recycle, and only see people pay for the amount they actually discard. It sounds great on paper, but some are still less than satisfied.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the stomach-turning stench from Zagreb's Jakusevec site is a clear reminder to Novi Zagreb residents that the somewhat infamous city landfill is still very much in function. The site receives tonnes of municipal waste on a daily basis, but it also seems to be organic waste being dumped there that is causing a particularly vile smell. We're all still waiting for the city authorities to announce a concrete plan for closing this outdated landfill, and until then, so many people are left wondering about precisely how justified the new Zagreb waste disposal rules are, reports HRT.

Having to close their windows due to the unpleasant odors that spread from Zagreb's Jakusevec landfill has become quite normal for the tenants of the Novi Zagreb settlements. The former councilwoman from Dugave, Mirela Mikic Muha, claims that the stench is stronger because the procedure for covering the waste with soil is not being properly followed.

"Now it's being driven from the early hours of the morning, as far as I know, from around 05:30, until late into the evening, 22:00, 23:00... I don't know when they can cover it with earth and it stinks because they're no longer adhering to the conditions that they had scheduled in the environmental permit," claimed Mikic Muha.

Residents on the other side of the Sava river are also noticing that the stench is much stronger than it used to be, Most of them have already gotten used to it, but the question is how long this will actually go on for, because people throw away all sorts of things.

"It smells terrible, but it's the worst in the morning," said Mira.

One of the Jakusevec residents' associations claim that everything isn't being done according to regulations. The reason for the increased stench, they claim, lies in the fact that Cistoca disposes of bio-waste in a place where it isn't allowed to do so. Even back in June, they filmed vehicles bringing the waste, and then reported everything to the environmental protection inspection. At this rate of waste delivery, the landfill will soon be full, they claim.

"I'm afraid that in three years, the people of Zagreb will be littering Ban Jelacic Square. I blame the state inspectorate, that is, the environmental protection inspection. They didn't react to several of our reports as they should have," said Ratko Bedekovic, president of the Jakusevec Environmental Protection Association. Accusations that the law is being violated and that bio-waste is getting dumped on the hill due to the undercapacity of the composting facility, are being vehemently rejected by the City of Zagreb.

"Only mixed municipal waste is disposed of at the Jakusevec landfill - so this isn't true," claimed Dinka Zivalj, spokeswoman for the mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomasevic.

A statement from the City of Zagreb also said that 175,000 tonnes of mixed waste were disposed of last year, and the compost plant processed 35,000 tonnes of bio-waste. With this new Zagreb waste disposal model, these numbers will gradually decrease, which is also a condition for closing the landfill entirely.

"I expect that the amount of waste going to the Jakusevec site will decrease because people are separating their waste more and this is an important step in closing the landfill," said spokeswoman Dinka Zivalj.

In order to close it completely, it is necessary to build facilities, among which is a sorting plant owned by the city, but as things stand, the mayor's promise that everything will be done by the end of the mandate now seems almost impossible.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Zagreb Mayor: City Administration Wants to Cooperate with Mainz in Green Transition

ZAGREB, 27 July 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Wednesday held talks with a delegation of the German city of Mainz, led by Mayor Michael Ebling, focusing on cities' adaptation to extreme climate conditions and the development of new renewable energy sources.

The German delegation, which also included business people, visited Zagreb on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the two cities' agreement on cooperation.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Tomašević said that the green transition was one of the biggest challenges in all European cities in the context of climate change and extreme temperatures this summer.

Apart from the green and energy transition, the meeting between the delegations of Zagreb and Mainz also focused on the so-called models of civic energy.

"This is about encouraging the use of renewable sources of energy owned by citizens. Such a model exists in Mainz, where there are foundations and funds facilitating energy transition by citizens. This is politically important to us and we would like to see it also in Zagreb," the Zagreb mayor said.

Tomašević and Ebling discussed economic and cultural cooperation, IT sector development, modernization of the public transportation system and Zagreb's post-earthquake reconstruction.

Mainz is ready to help Zagreb with the post-earthquake reconstruction and is willing to provide a modest contribution to its reconstruction as a token of solidarity, Ebling said.

He noted that Mainz, too, was experiencing the consequences of climate change and heat waves, as evidenced by the fact that the river passing through the city has almost dried up.

Before leaving Zagreb on Thursday, the German delegation will also visit Zagreb's ZICER enterprise centre at the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre.

Ebling said the meeting discussed possibilities of investment in startup businesses.

Zagreb City Assembly chair Joško Klisović said there was a lot of political will the two sides wanted to transform into concrete projects to promote their cooperation. 

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Mayor: Zagreb Ready to Help State Institutions but Not Responsible for Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 12 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Sunday, in a comment on the process of post-earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb, that the city administration was willing to help state institutions but that under the law, reconstruction was not the city's responsibility. 

"I have been in office for a year and I have already cooperated with two different construction ministers and two different directors of the Reconstruction Fund, and those are the two institutions responsible for the reconstruction of private buildings. It is unbelievable the process is taking so long," Tomašević said at the Projekt Ilica: Q’ART event.

Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets Minister Ivan Paladina has announced the opening of construction sites and concrete deadlines but it remains to be seen whether they will be realised, he said.

"If prices are the problem, they should be raised, both in public procurement and in the envisaged programmes," he added.

The mayor said that everything was in the government's hands and that it was unacceptable that the reconstruction process was taking so long to start. Maybe all political camps and the government have failed the most in the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb, while in Banija the construction of at least some replacement homes has begun, he stressed.

Asked about the proposal by public transport operators providing regular services for the country-wide introduction of an unlimited HRK 70 monthly pass for public transport, Tomašević said that such proposals had been made also for Zagreb and neighbouring counties but years had passed and they had not been implemented.

"The proposal is good in principle, but problems arise when local authorities, city companies and transport operators have to agree concrete tariffs and who will be in charge," he said, adding that Zagreb would accept the proposal, depending on the details of the agreement.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Festival of Equal Opportunities Opens

ZAGREB, 7 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Tuesday opened the Festival of Equal Opportunities, an international event in which persons with disabilities perform in a musical, theatre and art programme together with artists as well as in recreation and sport games.

The festival celebrates diversity and equal opportunities, which must be ensured for all persons with disabilities in Zagreb, he said, adding that all barriers to feeling equal must be removed.

The festival is taking place in Zagreb's central square until 9 June and has been organised by the Zagreb Association of Physically Disabled for the 20th year in a row. It features more than 900 performers from Croatia and abroad, including 600 persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities make up 13% of Croatia's population and due to countless physical, institutional and social barriers, they are excluded from everyday life and condemned to invisibility, which is a reflection of structural discrimination, so the public does not perceive it as a problem, said Viktorija Lisec, the Association's president.

The prime minister's envoy, Culture Ministry state secretary Ivica Poljičak, said the government was doing everything to make everyday life easier for persons with disabilities. Their participation in cultural events stimulates their creativity and contributes to society's diversity and to raising public awareness, he added.

Science and Education Ministry state secretary Tomislav Paljak said the festival was special because it enabled persons with disabilities to show the talents that equated them with others.

The deputy ombudsman for person with disabilities, Dario Jurišić, said they should have equal rights and obligations, and that the festival's purpose was a social approach to the inclusion of isolated groups.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Opposition Criticise Mayor for Ineptitude in Leading Zagreb in 1st Year of his Term

ZAGREB, 5 June 2022 - Commenting on the first year of Mayor Tomislav Tomašević's term, Opposition representatives in the city assembly agree that the new mayor and his administration have not showed aptitude in running the capital city and solving the crucial issues.

Gordana Rusak of the Labour and Solidarity Party says in a statement for Hina that she has nothing to assess as the new mayor and administration have not launched any of their projects.

"The city has never been so filthy and neglected. Grass is everywhere, holes are on roads, projects are left on the shelf," she said.

Rusak also criticises the new administration for keeping silent about its plans for the Zagreb waste management centre.

Mislav Herman of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) says that the residents of the city are "exposed to the biggest ever ideological divisions."

He criticises the administration for potentially illegal moves such as lay-offs in the Zagreb Holding utility company and the revocation of the scheme for the stay-at-home parents, while members of managements of city companies are given compensation for using their cars.

Herman says that the City of Zagreb is alive finance-wise only owing to the HDZ government and the grants of interest-free loans, and postponement of the loans' repayment.

He accuses the new city administration of increasing the city's debt by HRK 1.1 billion.

Trpimir Goluža of the Bridge party says that it is concerning how much inapt Tomašević is at his task of managing the city.

He criticises Tomašević over his lack of trust in employees who are not part of his We Can platform.

Goluža comments that the public transportation company provides fewer and fewer services and also it is make impossible for new users to get connected to the water supply network.

Igor Peternel of the Homeland Movement also agrees that the new administration has not showed good managerial skills over the last year. 

He bears a grudge against them over the proposal of the SDP party, a partner in the city's ruling coalition, for renaming the Trg Republike  square (Republic Square) after Josip Broz Tito.

He elaborates that the platform that claims that advocates human rights should not allow the renaming of a square after a dictator.

Peternel commended the new administration for being rather cooperative in addressing the issues concerning the local utility services. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Zagreb Mayor Announces Talks on LGBT Associations' Demand for Own Center

ZAGREB, 4 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Saturday he would talk with LGBT associations about their demands for getting their own center, stated at today's 21st Pride parade.

"There are various models to realize that. We'll see the details, what they are proposing," he said while taking part in the march.

Tomašević said the 21st Pride was a parade for the 21st century Zagreb, a city "which is open to every diversity, tolerant of all differences and open to all."

He also commented on a lawsuit filed against him by the organizers of the Walk for Life march because the city refused to hoist their flags on its masts. "I'm not afraid of that. It is in the mayor's remit to decide on putting flags on city masts."

He said that although Walk for Life organizers had not been allowed to hoist their flags, freedom of speech and assembly had been not jeopardized and they had stood in public spaces.

"However, hoisting flags on city masts means the city administration's support. Walk for Life's goals are completely opposite to our program, in which we promised to ensure the availability of abortion, which is legally allowed, and allowing that would have been hypocritical," the mayor said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 29 May 2022

Zagreb Mayor Speaks to Hina About First Year in Office

ZAGREB, 29 May 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević has given an interview for Hina on the occasion of his one year in office, talking about what has been done and future projects.

Asked about his biggest success, he mentioned the new model of running the city in every aspect, from public procurement to hiring in dozens of city companies and over 300 institutions, saying that people are no longer appointed based on party affiliation but their qualifications.

Another success is the financial stabilisation of the city, Tomašević said, adding that the budget deficit is the lowest in the last five years at HRK 30 million, which he said was almost negligible considering that the budget was almost HRK 14 billion.

The mayor noted that the city now has 16 instead of 27 departments.

He also mentioned big changes in waste management, including the construction of a composting plant

As for failures, Tomašević said that although it was the legal responsibility of the state, he was very unhappy with the reconstruction of private buildings after the 2020 earthquake.

Asked which changes the people of Zagreb had felt over the past year, he said everything the new administration was doing was the basis for changes they would feel much more by the end of the term.

Speaking of future projects, Tomašević mentioned the procurement of 20 new trams and 65 buses, the construction of at least 12 kindergartens in the next two years, more bike paths and pedestrian zones.

He said the unused Paromlin industrial facility in the city centre would become a multifunctional social-cultural-educational centre financed mainly with EU funds.

Other unused properties such as Zagrepčanka, Gredelj, and Badel Block, which have been the city's "dead capital" for decades, will be revitalised to build affordable housing as well as put to social and commercial use, he added.

The city's housing fund policy is to build new flats for rent to socially vulnerable groups and young families at affordable prices, the mayor said. Our population policy is to invest in kindergartens so that they are affordable to everyone as well as affordable housing, he added.

Asked if the decision to abolish the state-at-home-parent scheme had been hasty, given that a court put it on hold, Tomašević said the scheme did not have a demographic effect and that, according to polls, most citizens considered it unjust.

Spending 15 times more on that scheme than on building kindergartens cannot be the city's development policy, he added.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Mayor Wants Collective Conscientious Objection at Sveti Duh Hospital to be Dealt With

ZAGREB, 8 May 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Sunday it was unacceptable that all doctors and nurses at the Gynaecology Department of the Sveti Duh Hospital were conscientious objectors and that he expected the hospital's new management to deal with this.

"It is unacceptable to me that absolutely all the doctors and nurses in Gynaecology have conscientious objection and I expect this to be dealt with," Tomašević told reporters ahead of a ceremony marking the Day of Victory over Fascism and the Day of Liberation of Zagreb.

Asked if he agreed with the claim that in the circumstances of collective conscientious objection pregnancy terminations were carried out in private institutions, the mayor said that this problem could be dealt with in different ways.

"But I also want that all legally permitted pregnancy terminations can be performed in Zagreb's largest city-owned healthcare institution and that is Sveti Duh," Tomašević said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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