The Warsaw authorities announced their intention to transform the wild areas of Golędzinów on the Vistula River into a “natural park”. The idea sparked a lot of negative comments. “The charm of this place is that it is undeveloped”, “this area is doing very well as a nature refuge” – these are some of them. There were allegations that the matter was not consulted with the residents. The City Hall defends its decision. A representative of the capital’s greenery in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl argued that it is not about interfering with nature, but about “organizing recreational traffic”. According to the preliminary cost estimate, PLN 10 million is to be allocated for the changes.
It is a vast area full of trees, nesting meadows and animals – you can meet ducks, herons, cormorants, wild boars and roe deer here. The capital city hall announced its intentions in a statement on Thursday. We read in it that the president of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski decided to create the Golędzinów Natural Park. A 65-hectare area is to be developed on the northern bank of the Vistula River, between the Gdański Bridge and the Grota-Roweckiego Bridge. From the east, the park will be limited by a flood embankment, and on its western edge – by a steep Vistula escarpment. The entrance is planned at the level of the Kamień Educational Pavilion. The City Hall intends to announce an architectural competition later this year.
“The charm of this place is that it is undeveloped”
Quite unexpectedly, the announced idea of the town hall aroused discussion and gathered many critical opinions.
Urban activist Jan Mencwel from the association Miasto Jest Nasz wrote on Twitter: “Łąki Golędzinowskie is a wonderful, half-wild, quiet place that does not need any interference. And of course, no one asked the inhabitants of Praga for their opinion …”
He developed his reservations in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl. – This is a bizarre message. There is already a park in this place. It is a beautiful area on the Vistula River with an unmowed meadow rich in various plant species, there are fruit trees. The inhabitants are eager to use this semi-wild area. I do not see any reason why this area should be transformed into an orderly park with marked out alleys – said Jan Mencwel.
– The charm of this place is that it is unfinished. It is nature that decides what this area should look like. Thanks to this, you can meet many animals and rare species of birds there – he argued.
Town Hall: we want to protect, not appropriate
We asked Iwona Zwolińska, head of the Vistula department in the Management Board of Zieleni m.st. Of Warsaw.
– The idea was born a few years ago. We called it “a park without trees” because we have absolutely no intention of making new plantings. We believe that the natural values of Golędzinów are valuable in themselves – said Zwolińska. – Contrary to what it may seem, the idea of creating a natural park there is more to protect this area than to introduce anthropopressure (human activities affecting the natural environment – ed.) – she stated.
She argued that human pressure in the city center cannot be stopped, but can be “properly directed”. – People want to use such beautiful and rich natural areas, it is obvious. But they don’t always do it the right way. Our experience in working on the Vistula shows that it is best to focus on protecting what is the most valuable and organizing tourist and recreational traffic. The idea of arranging a natural park in Golędzinów is to resemble the creation of a landscape park. It should be remembered that new housing estates are being built near the right bank of the river. More and more residents will be here, and with them the pressure on this area. Our goal is to protect these areas, not to appropriate them – Zwolińska assured.
The representative of Warsaw’s greenery put forward one more argument for change: “dogs running loose”. – This is a very undesirable phenomenon. If we include this space in the form of a park with its own regulations, we can eliminate such phenomena – said Zwolińska.
– In our understanding, what we have now is a park in itself. It’s just a matter of arranging this space – she said.
“This area is attractive enough, and above all unique in terms of nature”
Among the opponents of the project is Justyna Glusman, former coordinator for sustainable development and greenery in Warsaw. In a comment under Rafał Trzaskowski’s Twitter post, she pointed out that there are places in Warsaw where interference with greenery is much more needed than in the case of Golędzinów. “But why? This area is doing very well as a nature refuge. Worse with the Wawer Bend – paths and landings will be useful there – a natural green area will be created, protected from wild development” – wrote Glusman.
In an interview with our editorial office, Glusman confirms that he considers the idea “definitely wrong”. – This area is attractive enough, and above all unique in terms of nature. In my opinion, it is a kind of painting the grass green. The introduction of additional infrastructure elements could threaten the nature of the Vistula River, he says.
– This project does not result from any municipal strategy, nor does it fit in with the Warsaw Environmental Protection Program. This is a typical throw, the goals of which are probably only political, because neither green areas will come from them, nor will it be closer to the inhabitants, which is based on urban strategies and the study of the conditions and directions of spatial development of the city – explains Justyna Glusman.
According to our interlocutor, this is “substantially unjustified action”. – Of course, you can think about creating additional pedestrian paths to improve access to these meadows, but an architectural competition is not needed. These are additional costs, first of the competition itself, then of the detailed design, and then of its implementation. And all this to destroy nature in the vicinity of … the ecological education pavilion. The city has long been saying that there is a shortage of money, so it should set its priorities well. For example, to protect the Wawer Bend from development by designing a natural park there – an urban wetland, the concept of which was created two years ago, or to develop green areas around the water courses under the Skocznia in Mokotów, which today are inaccessible to residents. Additional green areas are also needed by many districts, for example Praga Północ, which means that there is a whole range of much more important expenses – emphasized Glusman.
PLN 10 million in the preliminary cost estimate
The preliminary cost estimate shows that the creation of a natural park in Golędzinów may cost PLN 10 million. – Of which a significant part of this amount is the promenade on the flood embankment – said Iwona Zwolińska from the Zieleni Board of the Capital City of Warsaw. Of Warsaw.
As she explained, the existing recreational path along the Vistula River and the flood embankment in this area are the directions of traffic that are to be preserved. – We would see the main traffic on the flood embankment, something like a promenade – described our interlocutor. – We want to introduce elements of small architecture there, put benches along communication routes. There could be an observation tower, like a bird watching pulpit. We also thought about educational paths built on stilts so that they did not interfere with the terrain, which would connect the flood embankment with the existing recreational path. But it will depend on the opinion of landscape architects and naturalists – added Zwolińska.
Main photo source: Tomasz Zieliński / tvnwarszawa.pl