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Public Announcement

Published date: 20.02.2016 10:04 | Author: Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism

Ispis Print

The fact that the Decision on Amendments to the Spatial Plan of Montenegro by 2020 was declared unconstitutional, in terms of protecting the Ulcinj Saltworks, shall certainly be assessed in a responsible manner. We would like to stress that this Ministry does not have the mandate or any intention of commenting on the decisions of the court. However, taking into account the importance of this landscape, the Ministry and other relevant institutions are clearly resolved to protect this locality. This has, so far, been rendered many times to both the domestic and the international public. This resolve has been reflected in the planning documents proposed by this Ministry, the documents it has been asked to provide opinion on, as well as the plans to use the Ulcinj Saltworks in our presentation at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, thus providing this complex issue with an additional, international, and sustainable dimension.

Moreover, the protection process in planning documents of the lower order shall not be affected by the aforementioned court decision. Therefore, we would like to emphasise that the Draft of the Special Purpose Spatial Plan for the Coastal Zone envisages the protection of this locality and the construction of complementary tourist facilities (flora and fauna observation and an eco-resort) in a smaller part of the Saltworks, where a construction area already exists, with the surface of only 6ha (of almost 1500ha, which is the total surface of the Ulcinj Saltworks). This implies that any major tourist or other capacities within the realms of the Ulcinj Saltworks, which are often discussed in the public, are out of the question. Spatial Plan of Ulcinj Municipality, which is in the proposal stage, was also created following those principles. Finally, even the state plan did not envisage the adaptation of the Ulcinj Saltworks complex into a construction area. For the sake of clarification, we would like to emphasise that the Draft of the Spatial Plan for the Coastal Zone, which is currently in the public hearing stage, envisages a broader tourist development zone of 70ha, which mostly includes the area outside the borders of the Ulcinj Saltworks.

Hence, no one shall be allowed to ask for any kind of building permit for this area, neither from Ulcinj Municipality nor from the Ministry, because, in accordance with the abovementioned facts, the required planning conditions for any kind of construction do not exist.

It was often stated in the public that the process of putting the Ulcinj Saltworks under protection was being put off. On the contrary. We believe that we all need to be aware of the fact that it is exactly due to the importance of this area built in 1934 that the sequence of steps in the process of protection is essential. Namely, this area demands both protection and sustainable management, considering the fact that this is an artificial ecosystem, which cannot exist on its own, i.e. it is maintained through human assistance. Thus, the intention of the Ministry is to additionally improve the entire process of proclaiming the Ulcinj Saltworks a protected area, especially from the aspect of managing this area, including the management resources. This is the only way in which we can avoid to burden the process of protection by possible damage claims (as was the case with the Tivat's salt plant), which could represent a major financial liability for Montenegro, i.e. for the future administrator.

For the sake of precision, we would like to emphasise that the Study on Protection of the Area is also a part of the Draft of the Decision on Proclaiming the Ulcinj Saltworks a Natural Monument of Ulcinj Municipality, which represents the basis for putting this area under national protection. The Study, among other things, envisages that the future manager of the Ulcinj Saltworks shall be in charge of organising the production of salt. However, the Study has not provided a model of financial sustainability for the future protected area – this is the part that we deem rather important for quality protection and sustainability of this system. Thus, bearing in mind the complexity of the subject, we deemed that additional analyses, which would solve these open questions, represented the only responsible and serious approach.

Consequently, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism engaged international and domestic experts, with the intention to use additional opinions, i.e. expert reports, as means of assistance in solving these dilemmas.

Of course, we commend, support and appreciate all the initiatives and monitoring of the protection process, and we hope that there is understanding that a responsible approach to such an important issue requires a certain amount of time and it does not collide with our indisputable commitment to the protection.