The government does not want to make any investment that the capital and environmentalists do not support, said Gergely Gulyás, head of the Prime Minister’s Office today, speaking about the controversial planned project to build a levee on Hajógyári Island in Budapest, which caused outrage and hundreds of people to form human chains in protest earlier this month.
Earlier, it was announced that a flood control system was being planned by the Orbán government around the island, famed for its internationally acclaimed summer festival ‘Sziget.’ On the one hand, the investment would require the clearing of almost three hectares of forest (nearly 1,000 trees); on the other hand, the system of dams and sluices would also significantly increase the water level around the island.
Officially, the project was related to a future kayak-canoe sports academy planned by the government to be built on the island but many suspected that government circles’ intentions to build apartment houses on the island could have also played a role. Hundreds protested against the plans, forming human chains and sending letters. Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony also stated that the capital cannot get behind an investment that would involve cutting down 1,000 trees and “mutilating the green space.”
In early July, the government still stood by the levee system. Gergely Gulyás said at an earlier press briefing that the system would have been set up to protect the area from flooding, which is a “common goal” and is “supported by everyone.” In a later press briefing, Gulyás revealed that the government had not seen the exact plans of the sports academy, they only gave their preliminary support. He also noted that there are alternative plans for flood protection.
However, now it seems that the plans will not go ahead, as Gergely Gulyás, head of the Prime Minister’s Office said at today’s government press conference, that they have addressed the issue of Hajógyári Island at the recent government meeting. He stressed that the government does not want to make any investment that the capital and environmentalists do not support. They took notice of the different positions in question, and are now looking for a new location for the Katalin Kovács National Kayak-Canoe Sports Academy and sports center. Gulyás added that Lake Velence is one of the possible locations.
featured photo: Tamás Kovács/MTI