Significant changes have been made regarding the size of the planned luxury hotel on the shores of Tata’s Öreg-tó (Old Lake), said the chief executive of Avalon Center Kft., a subsidiary of Hungarian energy drink manufacturer giant Hell Group. The changes come after the persistent protest of environmental activists and opposition political groups. Although the proposed investment has the full support of the Mayor of Tata, the final decision about the construction project is yet to be made.
Róbert Tóth, the chief executive of Avalon Center Kft. told Index that as a response to the pressure of political and environmental groups, the size of the proposed five star hotel on the shores of the Öreg-tó has been significantly reduced. The new plans feature a hotel that is 5,000 square meters smaller than the original plan, and one which promises to blend more into the local environment. According to Tóth, the new plans would enable Avalon to carry out construction work without destroying nearby forests and disrupting the fauna of the territory.
He emphasized that the hotel would constitute a “project of value preservation” and would also offer new workplaces, tax revenues, and the renovation of a local playground and sports center. He said that Avalon is planning to attend town hall meetings in the near future in order to better connect to the local public and address their concerns more directly. He would like the locals to understand that “it is in the joint interest of locals and investors to preserve the natural environment and develop the infrastructure around the lake, since the hotel and the city both need to offer value in the long term.”
His remarks come as a result of the persistent protest of political (centrist-green LMP), environmental (Birdlife Hungary and the Hungarian National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites), and local groups. Activists have argued both online and offline (a demonstration on July 11th reportedly drew around two thousand people, adding to other, minor ones around the lake) in the form of an organized protest against the infrastructure project. Concerns were brought up about the construction of the hotel disrupting the life of local birds, destroying the panorama, and requiring the destruction of trees near the lake.
The demonstration on July 11. Image by Stop Avalon Tata- Facebook
In order to address these concerns and to counter the activity of protesters, Avalon launched an online PR page which frequently shares content emphasizing the positive impact of the infrastructure project. Another response to the protests came from an article by Magyar Nemzet which aimed to defend the project and criticize opposition groups for “halting Hungary’s progress.”
When asked about the hotel, József Michl (Fidesz) told reporters that he fully supports the construction project, and he sees the protests around it “as a family dispute in which everyone talks, everyone has an opinion, but in the end it is always the father who decides what to do.” “That is the only way in which every party benefits,” he added. Although the approval of the project seems to be likely, the final decision is yet to be made.
Featured photo: the hotel’s visual designs; via 444.hu.