14% of the inhabitants of the municipality of Chisinau are not satisfied with the safety, 14% with social infrastructure, while 17% with the ecological situation in the city. Another 17% of those polled are not satisfied with the green areas in the capital city, 19% with the transport infrastructure and as many with the territorial development. The figures resulted from a study carried out during the formulation of the Strategy for sustainable socioeconomic and spatial development of the municipality of Chisinau. IPN tried to find out what the document suggests and how it will change the situation.
According to deputy mayor Ilie Ceban, a well-through-out city development strategy consulted with the community is necessary for adjusting the General Urbanistic Plan of the city. This strategy will serve as a benchmark for the municipal functionaries and for the future of the municipality of Chisinau. The Strategy for sustainable socioeconomic and spatial development of Chisinau municipality was worked out in a move to identify the priorities, objectives and tasks for the socioeconomic and territorial development of the municipality correlated with the needs of the city.
Alina Procopciuc, senior specialist of the Public Relations and Civil Budget Division of the Chisinau City Hall, has told IPN that the strategy had been worked out during over a year and the process involved representatives of the General Architecture, Urbanism and Land Relations Division, experts of two companies and representatives of the Foundation “Center for the Development of Chisinau”. The goal of the document is to transform the city so that it is more comfortable for the inhabitants of Chisinau.
The strategy consists of eight chapters: formation of the identity of Chisinau; sustainable spatial development of the territory; development of urban comfortable environment; sociodemographic development; socioeconomic development of the territory; development of transport and technical infrastructure; development of historical-cultural and tourism sectors; development of environmental protection and natural heritage potential.
As regards urban constructions, the strategy provides that in the short run, the yards of apartment buildings will be laid out and high-quality pedestrian networks will be created. In the long run, the document stipulates the renovation of buildings of secondary and preschool educational institutions, creation of recreational, sports centers within the current system. Another important objective is to approve and implement a new General Urbanistic Plan that would represent a unique design code for all the urban centers of the city.
Strategy should mandatorily contain selective waste collection projects
Constantin Bulimaga, head of the Eco-Urbanistic Laboratory of the Institute of Ecology and Geography, one of the ten experts who were consulted in the process of thinking up the strategy, has told IPN that the strategy should mandatorily contain selective waste collection projects. The necessary infrastructure should be created for introducing selective waste collection. Currently, the waste is collected all together and is taken to the waste dump in Țânțăreni. The recycled waste can be used as raw material as 70% of the collected waste can be recycled. Together with the creation of the given infrastructure, new jobs will be created in recyclable waste processing.
“We would also diminish the areas needed for storing waste and would reduce the pollution of the environment. If 100% of the recyclable waste is taken to Țânțăreni, this considerably pollutes the environment. As a result of the anaerobic process, fermentation processes start and these lead to the generation of CO2 and CH4 and to the formation of a large volume of residual water that pollutes surface water. Also, a large quantity of smelling gas is emitted as a result of fermentation and the population’s health is affected this way,” stated the expert, noting that only 30% of inert waste that does not pollute the environment will be taken to the waste dump in Țânțăreni if waste is recycled.
He added that food waste can be composted and processed at a temperature of 120 degrees and can be later used as fodder for animals or as fertilizer for soil. In summer and autumn, about 70% of the waste is organic and includes potato, apple, watermelon rind.
Development tax for creating urban infrastructure
Veaceslav Ioniță, economic expert of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives “Viitorul”, who was also consulted by the Chisinau City Hall when the strategy was being worked out, formulated suggestions for the municipality to obtain more revenues. About €4 billion was invested in real estate in Chisinau during the last ten years, but no investment was made in infrastructure. This money destroyed the city instead of turning it into a fairytale. “The Institute “Viitorul” suggests that the City Hall should introduce the so-called development tax. All the building companies that start a new residential complex should be obliged to pay a tax that will later go to create urban infrastructure – roads, access ways, water and sewerage systems – so as to develop new quarters this way. If this had been done earlier, the City Hall would have obtained several hundred million lei with which new residential areas could have been built,” stated Veaceslav Ioniță.
He noted that the municipality has thousands of parking places that are now used chaotically. They proposed creating a system for managing these parking lots by using also rental mechanisms, for signing contracts for a year or several years with legal entities that have parking places in front of their offices, as in Romania. For example, rental for five parking places will be 500 lei a month for a period of five years. The City Hall collects the money, while the business entity has guaranteed parking places. Any other person who will park the vehicle in that place will do it in a private place and will have to pay fine or will have the vehicle towed away.
“Viitorul” also formulated other proposals that do not refer to the incomes of the City Hall, but solve another urban problem, like residential parking. There are thousands of parking places that are common property of dwellers in residential quarters. The legislation should be amended for the association of dwellers to be able to mark these places and to lease them out to dwellers, while the money should be used by the associations of dwellers to repair blocks, to clean stairs in apartment buildings, to develop the territory. If there are at least 20,000 parking places that would be leased out for 500 lei a month, this would mean 10 million lei a month or 120 million lei a year. The given proposals were submitted by “Viitorul” within a project financed by the Embassy of the UK.
More railway transport systems and building of railways to Airport
Another expert consulted by the Chisinau City Hall is Vasile Codreanu, deputy head of the railways maintenance service of Moldova’s Railways. He told IPN that the Strategy for sustainable socioeconomic and spatial development of Chisinau municipality should envision the creation of mass transit or transport systems near Visterniceni, the Railway Terminal, from Chisinau to Revaca.
“In Chisinau, crowdedness grows and this is the urbanization tendency. Respectively, the flow of cars inevitably grows. These mass transit systems will offer an alternative to the public transport that daily comes to Chisinau and to commuters who travel to the capital city each day. It goes to the Ungheni-Chisinau and Tighina-Chisinau railways. The railway services should be improved and trains should run more often there,” said Vasile Codreanu, noting that railway systems should be built up to the entrance to the capital city, near Visterniceni, where there is a railway station, and near the Central Railway Terminal, in Revaca. Railway stations with trains with the capacity of 100, 200 or 300 passengers should be built there. From there, the commuters will be able to travel by trolleybus or bus. Or the people will use cars more and traffic will be even heavier, but the roads in the capital city cannot be widened to highways.
The expert said the strategy should also envision the building of railways up to the Chisinau International Airport. The municipality will not be able to build such connections alone, but can contribute to this. The European Union promotes better mobility projects, including to ensure railway connection with airports, with the center of the city. A feasibility study should be conducted to determine the costs for building about 3-4 of railways up to the Chisinau International Airport.
Public consultations on the Strategy for sustainable socioeconomic and spatial development of Chisinau municipality were held in February and in May this year. The recommendations formulated during the consultations are now being examined and the most relevant ones will be included in the final variant of the strategy. The Strategy for sustainable socioeconomic and spatial development of Chisinau municipality is to be approved by the Chisinau Municipal Council by the end of this year.
Daniela Moraru, IPN