For the past 12 years, when June rolled around, outdoor cinema operator Josef ДЊadГk would wheel his setup to StЕ™eleckГЅ ostrov and screen outdoor movies underneath a canopy of chestnut trees through the crisp nights of late August. Come this year, ДЊadГk faces ousting as Prague 1 prepares for a massive rehabilitation of the island starting in June. However, public opinion will fight to keep the outdoor film screenings.
Despite the disapproval of a number of NGOs and the National Heritage Institute (NPГљ), Prague 1 is going ahead with a one-year project transforming StЕ™eleckГЅ ostrov into a multifunctional, year-round recreational spot.
The 40 million KДЌ face-lift involves the restoration of the island's greenery, the construction of a wheelchair-accessible lift from the Most LegiГ bridge, a public ferry port, a suspended pedestrian bridge, plumbing and electricity and sewage networks as well as smaller jobs like bench and pavement reparation.
The rehabilitation project also includes plans to cut down about 80 of 300 trees on the island, said Prague 1 spokeswoman Blanka ZoufalГЎ.
"Prague 1 wants to turn [the island] into a sort of attraction," SkalskГЅ said. "If this were to happen, it will destroy the character of the island, which is closely tied to nature. It's a resting zone with greenery where people come for a stroll and to relax. It's not good to increase the traffic and the number of commercial activities that are expected to take place there in the future."
According to a Zahrada nad MetujГ representative, the project aims to restore the island's function and mature character, and all 80 trees will be replanted.
Saving Trees and Outdoor Movies
The project builds on a scientific analysis of the island's vegetation, carried out by Zahrada nad MetujГ itself, identifying 82 lingering trees that are becoming dangerous to the public.
SkalskГЅ doubts it. He said bird's-eye shots of StЕ™eleckГЅ ostrov reveal all tree crowns as green, suggesting that the trees are alive, not withering.
In response, Arnika is seeking independent experts to carry out a second expert study to establish whether the lumbering is in fact justified. "We also want to investigate the presence of protected animal species, because we suspect that some might reside [on the island], making large construction intervention inappropriate," SkalskГЅ said.
While SkalskГЅ claims the construction date has been pushed back until these results are in, KorГЎb knows nothing of it. "We negotiated with Arnika - they paid a visit to the mayor and the whole project was presented to them, and I'm not aware that [plans] were halted," he said.
Outdoor cinema operator ДЊadГk also recalls his meeting with the project's architect. "We were promised project materials so that we could express our stance on it, but we're being dealt with as if we're not counted on this year, and it vexes me," he said, adding that Prague 1 promised him a spot on the island for the summer outdoor movie screenings, but his lease has not yet been extended.
"Mr. ДЊadГk is being communicated with," KorГЎb said. "He's aware of the council's plans to revitalize the park and knows very well that he can run the open air cinema, just not for the five to six months he's used to."
The island's purpose is not solely to serve ДЊadГk's open air cinema, KorГЎb added. "It will be multifunctional deal."
Source: "Plans for StЕ™eleckГЅ ostrov face-lift irk locals" By Martina ДЊermГЎkovГЎ -The Prague Post. Read full article at: http://www.praguepost.com/news/1213-plans-for-strelecky-ostrov-face-lift-irk-locals.html