“Courage is required? Yes, but for change”. Open conflict between Bonisoli and Brugnaro.

From the stage the Mayor asks for continuity with respect to previous governments, and the Minister shuts him down: “There is no long term vision”.

By Francesco Furlan

VENEZIA. “What is needed is honesty and courage, and a recognition that the choices made in the past may have been made well”. “There are times when courage also means changing one’s mind”. Thrust and parry at a distance, but not too far, between Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and the Minister of Cultural Heritage, Alberto Bonisoli (M5S). Cruise ships, the UNESCO dossier and protection of the lagoon continue to be grounds for conflict, at times bitter, as emerged yesterday. Brugnaro spoke from the stage at the inauguration of the M9 Museum in Mestre, and took the opportunity to prod the Minister, who was sitting in the front row. Because if the M9 is an example of administrations maintaining continuity in their work, that same continuity – or so goes Brugnaro’s reasoning – will also be needed for “future choices” that the Minister will also have to make regarding Venice: “With courage and honesty”. Brugnaro did not cite cruise ships, nor did he mention the UNESCO dossier, but the reference was clear to all. All the more so, as it came the day after the Minister’s decision to postpone the delivery of the report on the city to UNESCO by 15 days.

The report should be updated, according to the Minister, with the involvement of the other communities along the shore of the lagoon, beginning with Chioggia. In order to fix the report the Steering Committee of UNESCO Venezia will meet shortly. “There are aspects which need to be clarified and changed”, said the owner of Mibact, who after the Mayor’s speech did not avoid questions. Rather he sought a quieter corner of the hall of the M9 so that his words would be clear. Here they are: “There are times when courage is also required to change one’s mind and to see what could be new solutions that are better suited to the context. What I wish for Venice is that there be a long term vision, as in these last months I have not seen one, and the problem isn’t what will happen in 2 years, but rather what will happen in 30”. “We have negotiated an extension for the report with UNESCO”, added Bonisoli, “so that the report reflects more clearly the visions of Venice”. The Minister is working for the city regarding the entrance to the Canal of Guidecca. The idea put out last September has not been filed away in a drawer. “I’m certain that the project for the protection of the canal of Guidecca will go forward, because the fact that high tonnage ships pass through this canal is not irrelevant”, said the Minister. What the perimeter of this entrance is – something contested by the City and the Port Authority – remains to be clarified. Another thought from Bonisoli: “Any decisions made about Venice must start with the lagoon, and this is the reason I have reminded the Mayor that if we formally ask for the involvement of the other Mayors it is because I think that it will be useful”. A final shot, still aimed at Brugnaro: “I’m not a businessman, and I am not accustomed to commanding from the top, I am a manager and I’m accustomed to seeking points of consensus among the subjects”.

Regarding the cruise ships, just a few days ago the Viceminister of Infrastructure Edoardo Rixi, in Venice, gave notice that a solution will arrive by Christmas. “Perhaps even sooner”, said Bonisoli. Among the guests in the hall was the counselor for the Foundation of Venice, former Minister and former President of the Port, Paolo Costa. “The problem is that the government is focused on the cruise ships and passenger ports, but is not paying attention to all the other issues that concern the commercial and industrial port, and which are instead the more important part of the Port of Venice”.

Source: La Nuova Venezia, 2 December 2018

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