Latvian Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry intends to organize open procurements in order to properly allocate money for state emission quotas. However, according to information from De Facto programme, the lion’s share of funding of least one procurement project could be allocated to a specific object in Ventspils.
Ventpils City Council plans to build a building to house a concert hall and a music school. This building would be owned by the Culture Ministry. The costs of this project are EUR 25 million.
Even during the process of developing emission rules and allocation of funding for it, the ministry had consulted with Ventspils. It was Ventspils municipality that had called for the increase of funding from EUR 10 million to EUR 23 million and initiated the proposal to extend funding available for new construction projects to EUR 15 million. As a result, there is only one project that can receive money in this category.
The ministry carried out multiple corrections proposed by Ventspils, but not all. Ventspils wanted to narrow down competition even more by crossing out libraries and museums. State and municipal companies are already out of the picture.
It is stated in the project that self-entertainment establishments are allowed to receive money. This includes film theatres, concert halls, operas and theatres.
«There were multiple versions discussed during our work. The ministry’s main objective was to achieve maximum result using limited resources. At the same time, knowing that interest is fairly high, we did not want to expand the range of potential recipients too much. If too many people decide to submit proposals and only a handful are approved, it would create chaos. We want to avoid that,» – said EPRDM deputy state secretary Alda Ozola.
She is informed of the Ventspils project and knows that there are other interested parties. She does not know of any other specific projects, however.
After the announcement of the procurement in October, Ventspils City Council deputy chairman Didzis Osenieks sent a letter with protests to the ministry. He especially mentioned in the letter that Ventspils desperately needs money for the construction of a music school and concert hall.
The city asks procurement money to be allocated specifically to its buildings. Specifically ones that are no less than 50% dedicated to education and science and no less than 20% to self-entertainment. This does not apply to museums and libraries, according to Ventspils City Council’s logic.
Aivars Lembergs, who is legally prohibited from performing his duties as Chairman of Ventpils City Council, says: «There is no reason for your claim that something is prepared specifically for Ventspils. Anyone can take part in this discuss, even the Chinese.» Lembergs does not hide the fact that ‘a lot of work has been done’ to resolve the problem of Ventspils music and art school.
De Facto knows that the Large Cities Association opposes Ventspils in this regard. The municipal association has also requested to include kindergartens to the list of eligible establishments. Education and Science Ministry wants to see education institutions and service hotels added to the list.