On April 27, building company Archi Group started to cut down trees to start construction in Tamarashvili Street 13 that was protested by local inhabitants. Members of the Guerilla Gardening also protested the fact. They have been monitoring the territory of Hippodrome for several months already. Independent deputy of Tbilisi City Council Aleksandre Elisashvili is also against construction in the recreation zone of Hippodrome.
Population and Guerrilla Gardening held several rallies to protect the recreation zone. On April 28 they held demonstration under slogan “Do Not Cut Trees” and requested the City Council to cancel the order on cutting of trees in Tamarashvili Street.
Mariam Bakradze from Guerilla Gardening said the hippodrome was sold to investors. She said similar facts will happen in future too unless the city council and population timely react on this problem.
“The hippodrome territory is getting smaller and smaller every year. Members of the Guerilla Gardening permanently monitor the territory. After we started protest, head of the Ecology and Greenery Service of Tbilisi City Hall Bidzina Giorgobiani came and stopped the trees cutting-down process in the hippodrome territory,” Mariam Bakradze said.
Members of the Guerrilla Gardening blame Bidzina Giorgobiani in the situation and request to employee qualified specialists in the ecology and greenery service of the City Hall.
“Guerrilla gardeners plan to hold rallies in front of the city council and city hall to protect the green plants. We will not stop until they consider the public opinion and stop illegal cutting of trees,” Mariam Bakradze said.
The City Council deputy Aleksandre Elisashvili imposes responsibility for cutting trees in the territory of hippodrome on Bidzina Giorgobiani.
“Bidzina Giorgobiani is authorized to protect trees and he must not talk like a developer and builder; he must even protect the trees from an entrenchment if it is necessary. The city needs the laws which will automatically combat constructions in green zones. Unfortunately, nowadays only population can compel companies to stop similar activities,” Aleksandre Elisashvili said.
Member of the United Democratic Movement and member of the city council Tamar Tsintsabadze said hard ecological situation in the capital was caused by incorrect policy of the previous and acting governments.
“Georgian Dream turned up very weak to improve the alarming situation in the capital,” Tamar Tsintsabadze said.
Local population is concerned with the cutting down of trees. They said the City Hall should combat illegal cutting of the trees because it will cause ecological disaster in the city.
“We have information that they plan to construct 22-storied building in the area; it will completely cover view from the residential buildings, where we live now. The City Hall had promised us no tree would be cut and high building will not be constructed in the area; however the trees were cut. According to our information, the city council had issued the permission though at this moment the process is stopped,” Nino Charekishvili living in Tamarashvili Street 13 said.
Residents of Tamarashvili Str. 13 blame Bidzina Giorgobiani in negligence.
Bidzina Giorgobiani responded to the accusations of the city council members, Guerrilla Gardening and inhabitants. He said the developer hurried up and started cutting down of the trees though the city hall has not finished consideration of the project.
“We asked all developers to work out joint lay out regulation plan where all coefficients will be considered. We gave several remarks during the discussion of the regulation plan. We wish the construction met standards. The Ecology and Greenery Service issued the permission in order to enable applicants to submit the plan to the city council for further discussion. The developer hurried, did not wait for the council’s decision and started cutting of trees based on our permission. As soon as we have learned that the council had not approved the plan we stopped the illegal cutting of trees,” Bidzina Giorgobiani said.
The discussion and negotiations about constructions in the hippodrome continues. However, neither parties intend to give in.