Ferris wheel at Uzvaras Park in Rīga: friend or foe?

As soon as next year, a ferris wheel of 65 metres high could rise at Uzvaras Park in Pārdaugava, accroding to RPR Operators, who last year acquired building rights for this purpose from Riga City Council. A number of neighborhood residents  are unhappy with this, Latvian Radio reported September 4.

Last week, a public discussion with neighborhood residents on the construction of a ferris wheel was organized. However, the fate of the object itself has already been decided.

“Why does this public consultation take place after a 30-year permit has been issued to lease the site?” asked a gentleman, puzzled. Several residents nodded in agreement.

The Riga Construction Board explained that a public consultation was not required by law in this case. But it was decided to come to the public, giving an opportunity to comment on the rest of the park around the wheel, because the construction permit has not yet been issued.

“We thought people had to be informed about the planned intention, but forget feelings and accept the fact that the ferris wheel would be here,” said spokesman of the board,  Edgars Butāns.

The council decided to lease 5,700 square meters from Uzvaras Park last year with 42 votes out of 60. The city architect's office was not involved in the selection of the wheel's placement, but its head, Gvido Princis, does not see much controversy here.

“Previous developers have wanted to put the wheel in the historic centre of Riga, where there has always been huge resistance to both short-term and long-term new spatial structures. Various locations have been justifiably criticized. I think this is the most acceptable of the places that have been examined so far,” said the architect.

However, the residents of the surrounding houses are worried that it will only increase the already jammed traffic along the park, which will mean more noise and exhaust gas for them.

“I'm in favor of park development, so that investors make money, so that everyone's fine. But not like it was in the Soviet times, when the top dogs decided over a drink and a smoke, and just presented it to the public – see how we care about you! All beautiful in newspapers and magazines, but in reality people would be in despair,” said Sandra Jansone, who lives directly opposite the park.

She says she is prepared to turn to the higher institutions to stop the idea of a ferris wheel.

Public survey of the Riga Construction Board on the development of the part of Uzvara Park will last until September 11.

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