BULGARIAN SEASIDE BEACHES SCRUTINIZED UNDER A MAGNIFYING GLASS
The interdepartmental commission, responsible for the implementation of concession contracts for the seaside beaches, has launched a series of inspections. All the 61 sites, for which contracts have been signed with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW), will be checked by the end of the month. A total of 28 beaches on the northern and 33 on the southern Black Sea coast will be inspected. The commission which includes representatives of the cabinet, the ministries of construction, ecology and finance, the Directorate for National Construction Supervision, and the Bulgarian Red Cross, will be checking the fulfilment of all obligations under the concession contracts. Life-guards' activities, medical service, and the so-called free zones on beaches will be all inspected. The free zones where anyone can put his parasole without having to pay to the concessionaire caused a number of scandals last summer season along almost all seaside beaches. The contracts stipulated that the area of free zones should be at least 20% of the concessioned area, the MRDPW explained. However, that requirement was not observed during the 2004 summer season and only a tiny space (between 1-3% of the concessioned areas) was left free, at that in the most unattractive part of the beaches. The remaining part was densely covered by parasoles, costing not less than BGN3/day.Sanitary and hygiene services (cleaning, WCs, bathing boxes, showers, etc.) and the offered entertainment and trade on the beach will be checked as well. The inspections should ascertain if the movable utilities on the concessioned area are in compliance with the approved scheme. If they are not, the mayors of respective municipalities are to remove them. Concessionaires will have to pay forfeits if they do not observe the concession contracts and they will be revoked in cases of more serious violations. The results of the inspections will be summarized in a special report that will be made public. The winners in the tenders for the concessioning of the beaches Dolphin and Kozlouka (Nessebar municipality), Lozents - Koumkashala (Tsarevo municipality), and Pomorie-south (Pomorie municipality) will become known in the beginning of next week. Proceeds from concessioning beaches totalled BGN4.7MN in 2004, up from BGN3.8MN a year earlier. Another BGN980,998 was remitted under concessioning contracts as of end-March 2005. Of course, there are things to be settled. The Albena resort, for instance, has not paid fees since 2002 and has already accrued liabilities of BGN2,147,000. The resort's managers are in a court battle with the MRDPW, claiming that the fee has been incorrectly calculated as per the total length of the beach and not on the basis of the usable part. Partially unfulfilled are four more contracts - for the beaches of Riviera, Obzor-central, Kabakum-central, and the central beach area in Tsarevo. However, there are regions for which no interest has been shown. They are along the northernmost Black Sea coast - Dourankoulak and Shabla, and in the south - near the Bourgas salterns and Pomorijska Kosa.