Bulgaria's Nessebar Evades Dolphinarium in UNESCO SiteTourism | September 28, 2010, Tuesday // 17:22| views
The Old Town in Nessebar appears to be no longer under threat from the construction of a dolphinarium. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria's Nessebar Municipality has moved to terminate a scandalous deal for the construction of a dolphinarium that would have destroyed much of its UNESCO-protected Old Town.
The deal under which Festa Holding AD acquired about one-fifth of the area of the entire Black Sea peninsula on which the Old Town of Nessebar is located (a plot of 23 decares) in exchange for BGN 5 M, was approved by the municipality in 2005 with the active role of former Mayor Nikolay Trifonov.
As the parameters of the deal became publicly known, there was a strong public reaction because the construction of the new aquarium for dolphins would have practically destroyed much of the UNESCO World Heritage site, and would probably have led to the removal of the UNESCO status from the town.
Nessebar's current Mayor Nikolay Dimitrov made the termination of the deal one of his priorities after he was elected in 2007.
The deal will be renounced as Festa Holding has agreed to receive back its money and give up it property claims and construction rights on the plot in the Old Town. This happened after two months ago the Municipality threatened to refer the deal to the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation.
The dolphinarium deal is to be formally annulled by the town council at its next session.
The dispute, however, has a long history after in 2007 Festa Holding's owner Petya Slavova refused to accept a similar annulment deal, and won the case with the Supreme Administrative Court which they filed after Mayor Dimitrov refused to finalize the property contract.
Subsequent negotiations to replace the Old Town plot with another one located in the mainland New Town also failed.
The Nessebar town council is now expected to come up with the precise formula for the annulment of the deal, and returning the money to Festa Holding, which has agreed to this settlement.
Bulgaria presently has only one existing dolphinarium, it is located in Varna.
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