Mayor Luigi Brugnaro’s meeting with UNESCO on Jan. 24 succeeded in convincing the panel that there were sufficient plans and money to demonstrate their commitment to meeting the requirements of the July 2016 ultimatum. This, however, is just the beginning of the process. The next meeting in July of this year will begin to address specifics, and groups in Venice are ready to challenge Brugnaro’s sunny assessment of progress in Venice. Up first: Italia Nostra – Venezia, in this interview with La Nuova di Venezia. More to come.
Italia Nostra: “Nothing has been done.”
Vice President Lanapoppi: here is how things really are
“The Mayor has not done much up to now. Yet he has succeeded in giving the appearance of great activity for the protection of the values of Venice. This indicates his capacity for communication. We hope now that the associations know how to expose the situation in Venice to UNESCO with clarity.”
Paolo Lanapoppi, vice president of Italia Nostra, openly challenges the outcome of the meeting in Paris. And the positive reading given by Mayor Brugnaro. “The UNESCO commission, moved by the accusations of many associations both Venetian and from around the world,” recalled Lanapoppi, “verified that Venice and the Lagoon are in a grave state of risk as a seat of culture for the planet. And they have asked of the responsible politicians to hasten repairs.” “When that document was released,” continued the exponent of Italia Nostra, “the Mayor of Venice responded by deriding UNESCO: before they tried to teach him something, they would have to spend money to help the plans for development of the city. But now, with the UNESCO deadline imminent, here he is running to Paris with a large group of City and State directors. Until now he has done nothing of what was requested, and yet has succeeded in giving the appearance of great activity for the protection of the values of Venice.”
Lanapoppi lists the emergencies which have not been addressed in a productive way. “For the Lagoon, the request was to keep out the large boats (both Cruise Ships and commercial ships, ed.); he intends to take them in (to the Lagoon) and rather excavate a new canal to allow them passage. For the flow of tourists, he has encouraged this, giving Vela the management of more parties and attractions, but to his credit has met in Council with citizens to hear their proposals. No measures have come out and his Tourism Assessor continues on her way, contesting the idea that there are too many tourists, and demanding a special study to count them, with expenditures of time and money. Regarding motor waves (moto ondoso) in the Lagoon a Plan (not yet realized) has been discussed to “add more checks”. As to the apartments changed in to tourist rentals, he has declared that the existing Regional law must be modified. For housing for the residents, again only generic phrases about the future: ‘millions of Euros’ will be allocated that ‘will allow a significant recovery of public housing’. The height of sophistry was the presentation of the ‘Pact for Venice’ with ex-President Matteo Renzi. The Pact allocates 457 million Euro “for projects in the city in the coming years”. It was not mentioned that more than half of that money is destined for scrapheaps around the former industrial area of Marghera. What does this have to do with the protection of Venice?”
Source: La Nuova Venezia, Jan. 26, 2017