Ģirģens offers alternative park location

Take note – story published 3 years ago

Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens (KPV LV) accuses the people behind property development business interests and the political unrest in the Rīga City Council (RD) of propagating the uproar about the plans to build a new State Security Service (VDD) building on the abandoned former Rīga cycle track territory, and hopes that activists will agree to build a square elsewhere, according to Latvian Radio's “Krustpunkts” (“Intersection Point”) broadcast on February 5.

“There's the “VEFresh” organization. It's lead by Viesturs Celmiņš. Since November he's been Burov's (Rīga mayor) special advisory for mobility issues,” said Ģirģens.

He also mentions the Teika area developers as those who are spreading bad PR, accusing them of wanting to sell apartments that are closer to a park. Ģirģens also said he has tried to promote constructive dialogues with environmentalists, but he thinks the upcoming RD elections are causing politicians to take a stand for the trees.

"There are people who call the security service degenerates, weak and useless. Those texts are picked up by “Sputnik” (Russian government news). Together it forms a critical view in the eyes of society," said the Minister.

Ģirģens also mentioned that in 2008, after an architectural design contest was announced for the same territory, there was no opposition during public discussions. Detailed city plans are under the RD competence, and that the VDD is now in a hostage situation with the mayor. "RD offers an alternative solution - 2.2 hectares on Ropažu street. A square can be created there. It's possible to build the building and solve people's need for space,” said Ģirģens. 

The minister warned that the authors of various comments and hate speech directed towards the VDD are being monitored, and that services can take action. He suggests deleting such comments.

“I'd like to point out to the people whose fingers itch to write comments - you're being monitored. We will find you,” said Ģirģens.

As previously reported, a campaign to transform an abandoned former Rīga cycle track into a public park was thwarted after Latvia's intelligence service announced it had hitherto secret plans to build a new headquarters on the site.

For weeks now a signature drive was under way from civic-minded activists campaigning for the seemingly abandoned site to be turned into a much-needed public park in the Teika district of Rīga which is currently short of such facilities. More than 15,000 people had signed the online petition in favor of creating a park and activists had even drawn up impressive-looking images of their dreamed-for park.

However, the VDD already had plans approved to develop the  site - but being a secret service it had kept the plans secret. 

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