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Wednesday 16.01.2019 | Name days: Lida, Lidija

Forest in Ērgļi County to be chopped down; residents understandably displeased

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe municipality of Ērgļi County has announced a felling auction. As part of the auction, 13 ha (around 50%) of the municipality’s owned forest is to be felled. The section of the forest in question is located near Rūdolfs Blaumaņis memorial museum Braki in Ērgļi, according to information published by Stars newspaper.

Meanwhile, four deputies of Ērgļi County Council, director Māra Ķimele and local residents have voiced condemnation of this auction.

The auction is planned to take place at Ērgļi municipal council at 11:00 on 14 November. The auction puts on offer 27 ha of forest located near Braki property, of which 13 ha is intended for felling, 7 ha – care felling and 7 ha – sanitary felling. The entire 27 ha is the forest located near Braki museum. Felling this forest would significantly impact the look of the landscape surrounding the museum, as Stars newspaper stresses.

By announcing this auction, Ērgļi county municipality did not take into account opinions from forest specialists, Ērgļi County Council deputies Andris Spaile, Māris Olte, Jāņis Rešņa and Inga Bite, the 222 residents of the country and recommendations from Vidzemes augtienes meži on the development of Braki museum’s territory and more careful governance of forests in Ērgļi country, Stars newspaper continues.

Because of the aforementioned reasons, a meeting was organized on Wednesday, 7 November. All who wanted to learn more about the situation were invited to attend this meeting. The goal of the meeting was formulated the following way by the newspaper: «Together with forest industry specialists, residents, county administration’s specialists and deputies it is planned to discuss and formulate a unified vision on sustainable governance of Braki forest and preservation of its landscape in accordance with established strategy. During the meeting, deputies [Spaile, Olte, Rešņa and Bite] will explain to residents why they are against the felling of the forest near Braki museum and why there is a need for a reasonable governance of forest resources.»

Kopā ir spēks voters association has published on its Facebook page decisions for future actions:

-organization of an extraordinary meeting of the council to cancel the felling of Braki forest;

-if the auction is not cancelled, a protest will be organized before and during the auction on 14 November.

The statement mentions that none of the five deputies from the ruling coalition, who supported the organization of the auction, had attended the meeting. Ērgļi County Council chairman Guntars Velcis was also absent from the meeting.

The newspaper mentions that the chairman is expected to explain why such an aggressive plan has been approved for the forest. Additionally, opposition members want to know how the municipal administration intends to use the finances gained from the auction. «What will be the county municipality’s contribution to ensure the forest surrounding Braki museum and the landscape remain attractive after five, ten, twenty and more years?» Ērgļi County Council opposition deputies ask.

Māra Ķimele has sent a letter to Ērgļi County Council with a request to reconsider organizing the auction.

She wrote: «I would like to turn your attention to the fact that Braki forest is an inseparable part of Blaumaņis and us, Latvia’s nation, a part of which you are, too. I do not believe you would want to implement the grandiose Indrāni plot, thereby laughing at the author, telling him: old fool – can’t you see trees are only good for turning into money for us to spend on more luxury and comfort? Believe me – you will get no happiness from this money!»

«If you go through with this, we’ll only have his museum left. But what about the forest? Who would dare sign this death warrant? As Pēteris Lūcis put it – every action has a name and surname,» Ķimele wrote in her letter.

She adds: «I have no official power, I can only ask: please stop this! I believe with all my being that Blaumanis will have lived and created his genius work for nothing if his fellow countrymen gladly, not under threats, decide to chop down Braki forest».

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