Two years after Zolitude disaster 'temporary' memorial is planned

It is planned to build a temporary memorial to the victims of the fatal Maxima supermarket collapse in the Zolitude suburb of Riga by November 21 this year, the second anniversary of the tragedy, the BNS newswire reported Friday.

A memorial of some kind is to be put up in a car park next to where the collapsed store used to stand.  

It will be a temporary memorial but the Riga City Council hopes to acquire the remaining portion of the accident site currently still in the hands of a private developer to build a proper memorial later, Nils Usakovs, the Mayor of Riga, told the press after the meeting with representatives of Zolitude 21.11., a non-governmental organization founded by the relatives of the victims of the cave-in.

The local government will not demolish the temporary memorial and intends to integrate it into the permanent memorial that will be built when the city comes into possession of the entire land plot and the residential building that belongs to the same real property where the collapsed supermarket stood, said Olegs Burovs, the Director of the Riga City Council’s Property Department.

The Property Department’s artist, Arta Goldberga, has drawn four sketches of the proposed temporary memorial and the families of the victims are expected to choose one of the proposed designs for the memorial in a week, said Regina Locmele-Lunova, a representative of Zolitude 21.11.

The talks with Homburg Zolitude developer which owns the remaining part of the land plot in question will resume in early September, Usakovs said. The local government has proposed a property swap under which the developer would get a different land plot with equivalent value in exchange for the plot in Zolitude.

Roof cave-ins in the building housing a Maxima supermarket in the Zolitude residential area in Riga occurred on November 21, 2013, killing 54 people, including three rescuers, and injuring dozens of other people.

A criminal investigation has been started into the incident but as yet no-one has been convicted and planned court cases look likely to drag on for years.

Latvia refused offers of international assistance to investigate the disaster, insisting it could handle the necessary probes itself and hold those responsible to account.

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