Brest activists campaign for return to practice of public debate
The Brest-based “Humanitarny Most” (“Humanitarian Bridge”) cultural and educational association supports calls by other non-government organizations to secure the right of citizens to participate in decision-making relating to the development and improvement of towns and cities.
A petition with the requirements to amend the legislation and practice, in particular, was sent to the Ministry of Construction and Architecture, as well as to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The appeal notes that the citizens are “against the introduction of practice, when debates in the field of architectural and urban development are held without public meetings of the authorities and developers with local residents and concerned citizens.”
The authors of the petition believe that abandoning public meetings deprives people residing in the area, as well as developers, of the opportunity to compromise as a result of public debates. Therefore, the format of public hearings used by local authorities in many cities of Belarus (including in Minsk and Brest), when proposals are accepted in absentia and in written form, leads to the growth of misunderstanding between governmental bodies and citizens.