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Monday, March 4, 2024

Warsaw. Cutting down trees in Skra

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“Green massacre in Skra: 523 trees to be cut down” – warns the Ochocianie Neighbors association. Active Warsaw, which is carrying out an investment related to the resuscitation of sports in Skra, claims that the scale of logging is smaller. But whoever doesn’t count, there are hundreds of larger and smaller trees.

“For several weeks, massive tree felling has been taking place in Skra. In December, the area was closed and work began. Let us remind you that stage I of the modernization includes the installation of training fields for athletics with back-up buildings – from the side of Żwirka and Wigura, as well as the construction of a rugby pitch in the corner ul. Rokitnicka and the extension of Ondraszka. A total of 523 trees will be removed from the Skra area in this first stage of works. Only 6 trees have been planned for replanting, most of them are young seedlings of several years old,” Ochocianie Neighbors, activists who have their representatives in district council.

According to their calculations, the felling necessary to renovate athletics facilities included approximately 150 trees, and 250 trees are being removed for the construction of a rugby pitch. They noted that such a field had previously existed inside an athletics track and league matches were played there, “so it apparently met the necessary requirements.” In the new design, the pitch was moved south, in place of the former swimming pools.

“Let us recall that in the next second stage, the city hall wants to build a hall for Legia Kosz. The city does not have the funds for this, but it is determined to cut down another batch of trees, including the monumental black poplar. The most vague remains stage III of Skra’s renovation – demolition of the destroyed stadium and building its structure from scratch, which is beyond the financial reach of the capital’s local government,” they added.

Cuttings “for sanitary reasons”

The logging is actually ongoing and the area is very carefully fenced. We turned to Active Warszawa, which manages the facility, for explanations. – It is not true that the reconstruction of Skra resulted in the cutting down of over 500 trees – replied Bartłomiej Stępień, head of the Marketing, Strategy and Development Department of Active Warsaw.

He admitted that shortly after taking over Skra, 150 trees had to be cut down for sanitary reasons – they were in a disastrous condition and posed a threat to safety. – It is worth recalling that under the rule of RKS SKRA, no tree management was ever carried out on a property with an area of ​​over 20 hectares. No maintenance cuts were carried out, and diseased and dead trees posing a threat to the life and health of Skra users were not removed on an ongoing basis. Only the city took over the property and started the investment process that allowed for tree management, as a result of which almost 150 trees were designated for sanitary felling – said Stępień.

The same fate also befell 95 small trees with a trunk circumference below the requirement for obtaining a felling decision.

150 trees interfered with the investment

So much for tidying up the area. What about greenery that must give way to sports investments? – Based on administrative decisions, 150 trees and 87 hedge hornbeams were removed. The above applies to trees colliding with the investment being implemented – specified the representative of aktywna Warszawa. If we summarize Bartłomiej Stępień’s calculations, almost 400 trees and saplings were destroyed.

– During the design work, interference with the existing trees was limited to a minimum. One of the examples of optimization of the 2018 concept in this regard was the decision to reduce the size of the planned water reservoir. The cut down trees will be replaced with other trees, 710 of them, and the entire development of Skra, the selection of trees and shrubs, has been carefully considered, he assured.

He also commented on the issue of the rugby pitch. He admitted that there were changes compared to the 2018 competition concept, which emerged during detailed design work. – Issues were identified relating to the dimensions and characteristics of the combined rugby pitch and athletics stadium. Maintaining the necessary parameters assigned to these facilities in order to organize specific sports events for individual sports disciplines forced the separation of these functions – explained Stępień.

First the surroundings, then the arena, finally the stadium

The city took over Skra’s facilities in 2021 after a 13-year court battle. Apart from the running track of the athletics stadium, they were not used for sports. They were reduced to almost ruin. After tidying up the area, carrying out the necessary demolitions and cutting down, the first stage of the investment began, which includes the surroundings of the main athletics stadium: a training stadium with a back-up building, a throwing zone, a rugby pitch, smaller basketball and volleyball pitches, as well as jogging paths.

In the second stage, a sports hall is to be built, mainly for the basketball needs of Legia, which currently resides in a former hangar (in which the city is still investing). The cost of the building is estimated at approximately PLN 100 million and is opposed by some residents of Stara Ochota (they are afraid of noise and a flood of cars).

In the third stage, the main athletics stadium would be renovated. The authorities of Warsaw hope that after the change of government, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism will make a penny. They do not intend to make such a large investment themselves.

Nowa Skra will cover 73 hectares and will seamlessly connect with Pole Mokotowskie. The entire area will not be fenced.

Author:Piotr Bakalarski

Main photo source: Tomasz Zieliński, tvnwarszawa.pl

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