Residents of Bulgaria’s Bansko demand ski area expansion
Residents of Bulgaria’s Bansko mountain resort plan protest rallies in the coming days, blocking the road into the town and demanding a meeting with Cabinet representatives on the expansion of the town’s skiing area.
In a statement sent to the media, Bansko mayor Georgi Ikonomov said that 8000 local residents had signed a petition in favour of further development, including the construction of a second ski-lift from the town to the skiing area and additional ski runs.
The statement blamed the lack of development on the “environmentalist racket” – a reference to the thousands of people that protested in Sofia in June against controversial amendments that would have eased regulations on resort operators. The amendments were vetoed after a week-long series of rallies both in favour and against the law.
But Bansko residents now argue that the town is failing to meet tourist demand and needed to expand its runs, within the existing resort boundaries, to cut down on the time that skiers spend waiting in lines.
The initiative committee that made the demands said that it would briefly stop traffic into town every day until New Year’s Eve, but was prepared to block traffic on the nearby E-79 motorway if its demands to meet Cabinet officials went unheard.
(Bansko’s old quarter has largely escaped the over-development plaguing other parts of the town. Photo: Klearchos Kapoutsis/flickr.com)