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There is no clear policy in management of community green spaces of common usage in the RA. Gyumri

16.04.2014
Gyumri Aarhus Centre has repeatedly reflected to the issues of illegal logging in Gyumri and improper pruning in the green areas of common usage, informed the public about it and presented the situation.
Only this year interviews were given to the three mass media: on February 4, – the “Shrjapat” newspaper (see the attached article), on March 10, – “Tsayg” TV(http://tsayg.am/mainpage/7601-insls-eu-sl-usl.html, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EssSYwaobbE) and on April 15 was published the interview given to the correspondent of the “Hetq”, which reflected not only the logging and

pruning-related issues, but also the issues related to management of green spaces by local governments and local self-governing in general. (http://hetq.am/arm/news/54019/gyumrium-tsareri-ety-katarvum-e-komunal-bazhni-peteri-tchashakov.html#.U00A2R-o8uQ.facebook ).

The practice shows that often under the name of sanitary pruning just being carried out cuttings to obtain firewood or to get rid of green plantations to make free the “necessary” territories.

This could be seen even with the naked eye, because were being cut not only old and sick trees, but the young trees, 10-15 years old, or beheaded healthy trees, which pruning or felling was absolutely illogical.

There are no norms or standards prescribed by the legal documents even for carrying out forced pruning of damaged and dangerous for the surrounding environment trees. Pruning rules are not set by the government decision No. 1318 – N, dated 30th October, 2008, which confirms the requirements of technical regulations on the sizes and formation of the settlements green zones.

About a month ago, have been deeply pruned the trees at the forepart of the Victory Park in Gyumri, where were placed sculptures created by sculptors during the symposium held last year. The cultural value of the latter is highly questionable, but has managed to become a reason for mass deep pruning.
The green plantations in Yerevan highway, at the edge of the Avenue of Victory, in the Peace Ring and in other parts of city are meaninglessly subjected to pruning. A recent example is the logging carried out in the front of cafes area operating in the street Ryzhkov in order to build open-air pavilions.
If, allegedly for security reasons, without reasonable justification to an owner was given tree pruning or felling permits, then the municipality the same request could not rejected to the 2nd one, then to the 3rd one. One mistake leads to a series of mistakes. This was the reason, perhaps, that the issue of felling spruces in Vardanants Square received so much publicity later from the environmental problem became a principal political position. If the society conceded and allowed even one tree cutting permit there, then all the trees were being cut down one after another, instead at the sidewalks should be appeared outhouses.

Local self-government bodies are implementing short-sighted policy in the management of green areas of the city, which occupies the third place on the level of air pollution, after the cities of Ararat and Hrazdan (taking into consideration the fact that in these cities are operating major companies of the cement industry).

Local authorities have no legal justification for the management of green spaces; today in the city of Gyumri is not even implemented simplest calculations and research of green areas, in order to find out how much of these areas are protected, in what condition are the green plantations, what measures need to be implemented, which sector is irreversibly destroyed as a result of the construction, how much area is covered with temporary buildings?, etc.

Today the main actions taken towards the management of green spaces in Gyumri are the demonstrative tree plantings (as there is no irrigation system in the city) and the mass unjustified deep pruning of trees.

In these circumstances, it is necessary to regulate green space management of settlements via legal documents: at first to clarify state policy in that field and define standards, then each community, based on its characteristics as a community, should develop a local green space management policy, strategy and enlarge activities exclusively based on the requirements of the relevant legal documentation.

Otherwise our society will ever lose the green spaces of common usage in communities, which are devouringly being seized by the business sector, in the conditions of criminal silence and consent of the state and local government agencies.

Gevorg Petrosyan
Coordinator of Gyumri Aarhus Center
Tell: /374 312/ 3 29 13, /374 093/ 71 45 33
E-mail: info_gyumri@aarhus.am, biosophia@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan