Anton Astapovich: "Public discussion of the general plan of development of Vitsebsk needs to be canceled"
Anton Astapovich, Chairman of the Belarusian Society for Preservation of Monuments of History and Culture, believes that public discussion has been organized in violation of the law, and the right of all interested parties to take part in the discussion is violated.
In particular, he states that the city authorities have violated the right to receive information.
"I came to get acquainted with the materials. The exposition of the scheme of the general plan presented at Vitsebsk city department of architecture is a minimum of the materials of the general plan, provided for familiarization according to the law. The legislation also provides the opportunity to study not only the scheme itself, but also with the materials which are included both in the adopted and the background plans of the urban planning project. That's why I went up to the office of the deputy head of the department of architecture and urban planning of the Vitsebsk City Executive Committee and expressed a lawful desire to study the historical and architectural support plan, the transport scheme, the scheme of the utilities – the things which can give an idea about the perspectives of the historical centre of Vitsebsk,” wrote Mr. Astapovich in his blog.
However, as stated by the activist, the official refused to present such documents for familiarization and said that the Ministry of Culture could decide what needs to be done with the historical centre.
The scheme of the general plan of Vitsebsk has been exhibited in the lobby of the department of architecture since February 23. Local citizens are proposed to familiarize with it by March 20 and express their objections and proposals. This can be done in a special book, stored at the department of architecture, or by e-mail. According to the official website of the Vitsebsk City Executive Committee, one can study all materials attached to the general plan at the department of architecture and urban planning. However, Mr. Astapovich was denied such an opportunity. He believes that such materials can be even more inaccessible to ordinary citizens. Therefore, he appealed to the Vitsebsk City Prosecutor's Office requesting to conduct an inspection of the procedure of carrying out the public discussion of the general plan.
According to the website of the executive committee, the objections and proposals of participants of the public discussion will be considered at the regional architectural and urban planning council. The date of this event isn't indicated.
Vitsebskers consider the public discussion a mere formality and are sure their proposals won't be heard. That's why they express their objections not in the book or e-mail letters to the executive committee, but in commentaries at independent news sites.